Interior designer Aimee Wertepny founded her Chicago-based firm, Project Interiors, in 2005, and has gone on to unveil some of the most progressive, original interiors concepts we’ve ever seen. Known for her magical mix of natural elements (think rich ebony cowhides, tree trunk tables, sleek Carrara marble floors and chunky woven throw blankets) with edgy, international accessories (African tribal masks, colorful outsider art and intricately carved accent chairs), she and the Project Interiors team have developed an aesthetic all their own. Aimee’s most recent installation, in partnership with Tara Rhode as lead designer, involved a mother of three in the western suburb of Hinsdale who was starting fresh in a new home with an entirely new vision. We chat with Aimee about her inspiration, process and how three incredible Interior Define designs (including two by HGTV‘s Kitchen Crashers Alison Victoria were given starring roles: Kennedy, Alice and Ainsley.
ID: Tell us a little about your fabulous client and her family.
Aimee: Lisa is a gorgeous, elegant woman in her 40s; she models, she’s into fashion and loves a more modern look. This was a new start for her, so she wanted to reflect more of her personality.
ID: What was the overall inspiration?
Aimee: Just total glamour. Lots of metallics, some jewel tones and furry accents. We pulled in some vintage pieces to add layers as well.
ID: How did you decide on the Kennedy Sofa by Alison Victoria in the living room?
Aimee: Because the living room was so light—lots of windows and the wall color is a bright white—we needed a darker, moody piece to anchor the space. We loved the Kennedy’s sexy channel stitch, it’s got that great 1920s vibe, and the formality sets the tone for entertaining. The beautiful dark gray velvet contrasts nicely with the tweed daybed in there, and the gold discs on the wall. The comfort was right, and our client liked the depth as well. It really has the look of a custom piece, but at a super nice price point.
ID: How did the Ainsley Sectional make the cut in the family room?
Aimee: Lisa’s teenage son is an athlete, so he requested a substantial, comfortable sectional that he could kick up on and relax with his friends. For the family room, which opens up to the kitchen, the Ainsley was the perfect fit. And it was so nice to be able to customize the size. The flexibility was really what sold us. We also chose it based on color and texture; the fabrics had a really nice feel, and customer service talked us through the options that would hold up best to the boys: dirty shoes, spilled sodas, stains. So the upholstery is super durable as well.
ID: And how did you choose the Alice Swivel Chair by Alison Victoria in the family room?
Aimee: The velvet fabric was a great way to get that glam effect. And we loved the swivel base option, since it’s an open floor plan. Someone can sit in the chair and watch TV, then turn around and interact with people in the kitchen as well. It’s a really nice art deco vibe that we loved.
ID: How about the other furnishings and accessories?
Aimee: The Interior Define designs were the starting point for the project, and the mellow colors and lines allowed us to mix in vintage pieces and fun cultural accessories really easily. We sourced a lot of things from Gilt, like the cowhide accent chairs in the living room and the coffee table in the family room. The all-glass table in the living room is a vintage Ralph Lauren piece from our client’s last house, which transitioned beautifully. We brought in touches of color with the purple juju hat in the office too. We also sourced antiques from One Kings Lane, which gave the space a more lived-in, curated feel. It all came together really beautifully.
Photography by Daniel Kelleghan