DESIGNER DISH: Brianne Bishop

 Brianne Bishop may be a licensed interior designer, but her expertise always comes second to the client’s wishes. “I may know what will look best,” she says, “but at the end of the day it’s not my home—I have to make sure my clients are happy.”

To that end, the Chicago-based professional begins every project by really getting to know the client and keeping an open mind. “I had a client who didn’t want me to see her current home,” says Brianne. “She didn’t want that to affect my interpretation of her style, so instead she was very thoughtful about the places she chose for our meetings and what she wore to them to help me get to know her taste.”
The living room of the model unit in the new LUXE apartments in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood, featuring the Caitlin sofa in Mod Velvet-Narwhal.

But what do you do when your client isn’t a real person? For the model units she recently designed for the new LUXE apartments in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood, Brianne had to come up with a composite. “I created a client who I pictured living in that particular building and neighborhood. Since I both live and work in the neighborhood, it was loosely based off me and my husband: mid-thirties, young-ish professionals.” The result was something contemporary and clean with a subtle edginess to match the surrounding area, known for its trendy restaurants and boutiques.

A custom Caitlin sofa helped to achieve just that in the living room. “I wanted a clean line,” says Brianne, “but I didn’t want it to feel cold and austere. We chose a luxe velvet fabric and a foot with a slight curve in it to add texture and softness.” A rich wood coffee table and distressed oriental rug added warmth, further helping to break up the otherwise clean, minimalist space.

The master bedroom in the LUXE apartment model unit, which Brianne designed.

As for that little bit of edge, Brianne started by putting a brass metal leg on her Caitlin sofa. She picked this up in brass barstools and metallic accent pieces, like a sculptural bowl on the kitchen counter. You can see this thread throughout the model unit and entire building, from the nailhead trim on the upholstered headboard in the bedroom to the metallic wallpaper in some of the building’s common areas.

The kitchen in the LUXE apartment model unit, which Brianne designed.

Though Brianne has designed with a client in mind, her unique voice shines through. “My style is about texture, contrast, and form,” she says. Her approach clearly works; clients have come to know Brianne’s style and seek it out. “I’ve been fortunate to do this long enough that clients come to me for my aesthetic. They share a similar style and know they’re going to get my look with their twist on it.”

Another reason clients come to Brianne is that she never stops working for them. “I always become good friends with my clients and will text them a year after a project to say, ‘I finally found your perfect powder room rug,’” she says. “A room is never done.”

MUSINGS: One Space, Three Sofas

The living room is the one room that really must do it all. It’s where you relax with family and where you entertain guests. Sometimes it’s where you work, eat, or even sleep (hopefully you have a comfortable sofa). In many ways, it’s the catchall of the house. No wonder it can present such a challenge to design. MUSINGS: One Space, Three Sofas

ON TREND: Brass

Brass is having a moment, and it’s showing no signs of losing its luster. This metal alloy, made of copper and zinc (in varying levels for different finish types), is beloved for its timeless, sophisticated look and strong, sturdy nature. ON TREND: Brass