10 Milestone Moments over 10 Years / by Sarah Vaile

#9: The Lake Forest Showhouse

April, 2015: Lake Forest, IL

We all have dreams. Ours has long been to be a part of the Lake Forest Showhouse. To us, it is the pinnacle of Chicago design - where the who’s who of Chicago designers get to showcase their work. 

I still remember exactly where I was sitting (at a nail salon in Richmond…don’t ask) when I received the invitation asking us to participate. Our naivety still makes me smile... I read the paperless post as a declaration that we were in. Little did I know at the time but it was actually just an invite to try out. Among hundreds of other designers. For 26 total rooms. 

Well thank the dear lord, we somehow miraculously secured a spot.

And then the challenge began. We had exactly 90 days to roll out a room, which anyone who has designed a home knows is not exactly the roomiest timeline. (Pun intended). We had a space to design, paint, wallpaper, carpet, electrify, furnish, accessorize…And we were responsible for supplying all pieces. Which anyone who has designed a home knows….can get expensive. Very quickly.

Which meant calls to our most loyal product suppliers with the aim of securing donated goods. And then there was the labor.

All while 25 other designers attempt to renovate their neighboring rooms ten feet from our team of laborers. It’s a bit of a madhouse for those few months.

We somehow managed to pull it together in time for the April kick off. Which especially felt like quite a feat with my first baby arriving two weeks before the showhouse opened.


We were now looking at seven thousand people passing through our space. And national shelter mags to photograph it.

It was most definitely a right of passage. We were now among the Chicago greats.

SWhit_LF ShowhouseEdit-077.jpg