4 “Secret” Design Resources of the North Shore

Touring the splendiferous homes on the North Shore has been loads of fun and a terrific source of decorating inspiration.

I’ve also been able to glean information about local design resources, which interior designers and homeowners alike speak about in secretive, hushed tones.

Don’t worry, it’s just between you and me,” I whisper, as my trusty iPhone app records the entire exchange.

Horigan Urban Forest Products
When Highland Park resident Kim Stone was forced to have a diseased elm tree removed from her back yard, she called Bruce Horigan, of Horigan Urban Forest Products, to mill the wood and use it to build her dining room table. For Stone, the environmental benefits, which include reduced carbon emissions associated with transportation and less deforestation, are not the only benefits. “Seeing the tree used again gives me much satisfaction,” Stone says. If your own trees are healthy, Horigan also has an inventory of available hardwood (“from Ash to Black Walnut”) on his website.

The Lamp Shader
It can be maddeningly frustrating trying to find the perfect lampshade to match a given base! Which may be why several interior designers speak so highly about The Lamp Shader in Glenview, which offers custom lampshades at affordable prices. “He has a really intuitive eye for size and shape,” says Evanston-based interior designer Thomas Wesely, who is currently awaiting a pair of Asian fence posts that the Lamp Shader is transforming into floor lamps for his sun porch. ““He can make a lamp out of anything.”

Signature Mural
Nothing makes a design statement like a custom mural. Which is why Wilmette resident Tami Quinn hired Signature Mural to make her home office feel like a garden room. “Debby and Paula created an incredible mural of flowers and leafy vines around the perimeter of the room and then a beautiful blue sky,” Quinn reports. “When I’m working in my garden room, I look up at the ceiling and feel like I have my very own Da Vinci or piece of art. These ladies are real pros.”

Al Bar Wilmette Platers
Hinges, doorknobs and cabinet hardware are small but important details, which is why many people skip the mass-produced stuff, opting instead to restore existing features or commission custom work from companies like Al Bar Wilmette Platers, which specializes in restoring hardware and metal fixtures. If you’re missing a piece, the company also fabricates custom pieces, including sinks, counter tops, register covers, mounting hardware and more.

Editor’s Note: For more “secret” sources, check out our “Best of…2011,” which had lots of interior design and home favorites.

Who did we miss? Make It Better would love to hear about your favorite North Shore design resources. Comment below or head to our Facebook page.