The Solarium in This Grand Historic House in Chicago Is Stunning

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Light filled living room with neutral colored sectional.

Hilary Bombard has owned this house in Chicago for two years, and shares it with her partner, their 2.5-year-old son, a second baby boy on the way, an 11-year-old Australian cattle dog, and two Maine coon kittens: Our home was built in 1909 in the historic neighborhood of Riverside, Illinois, which was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. The home’s exterior is Tudor Revival architecture and encased with whimsical gardens — we have over 20 rose varieties and 65 dahlias nestled amongst countless deer-resistant pollinators.

Fortunately, we are only the fifth owners of the home and many of the original details have been meticulously preserved. In the spaces that have had some of the home’s history removed, we have been intentional about reintroducing original and vintage materials back into the space.

Our expanding family has been loving up every corner of this home, and we are so grateful to call it ours forever. While the house is littered with found vintage objects that are relatively fragile, nothing is “precious.” A well-lived-in home is our first priority.

I identify as a working mom with a creative passion for making the spaces around me beautiful. Of course, there are things in our home that are from big-box stores, but I try to identify and support artists, artisans, craftspeople, creatives, and vintage dealers whenever possible. I also have a deep connection to nature, and reference that love with organic materials whenever possible and bring the outdoors in every chance I get.

Describe your home’s style in five words or fewer: Historic charm with a surplus of color.

What is your favorite room and why? Our solarium. It made me gasp when we first toured the home. It has three walls of floor-to-ceiling windows and an abundance of natural light. We painted it in Farrow and Ball’s full gloss “Green Smoke” (ceilings included). The space houses 95% of our indoor plants. It’s almost like an immediate shot of endorphins when you enter it, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon tea.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I recently sourced a petite corner shelving unit for our dining room from a local vintage dealer in Chicago: Dial M for Modern. It has little boots on the legs and the most gorgeous detailing on the shelves. *chefs kiss!*

Any advice for creating a home you love? Make it a mind-body activity! I spend as much time strategizing a space (what does it need? Where does everything go? How will it all function?) as I do reflecting on how I want to feel in the space and refining the less tangible portion of my vision. I always recommend beginning by collecting references photos and getting specific in articulating what it is that you like about them. From there, you can start to draw analogs — similar looks and feels — into your own space.

Thanks, Hilary!

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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