Lake Forest design shop quickly makes a splash
What kind of new store would you like to see in town?
NAME: Megan Winters Atelier and Maison
SPECIALTY: Haute couture for the home, including one-of-a-kind furniture and other items
LOCATION: 675 Forest Ave., Lake Forest
HOURS: Call or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment
CONTACT: (847) 295-1675; meganwinters.com
Updated: September 10, 2012 6:05AM
LAKE FOREST — In less than a year, Megan Winters Atelier and Maison has made a big splash at 675 Forest Ave. in what used to be a pharmacy.
The local business was named Best New Home Design Shop in the August 2012 issue of Chicago Magazine.
Designer and shop owner Megan Winters talks about her local shop and what she has accomplished.
Why did you pick downtown Lake Forest as your location?
Lake Forest is spectacularly beautiful, with a very elegant European sensibility. I saw an opportunity to bring a really sophisticated level of design here to a community that was clamoring for something fresh and new.
The response, support, fervor once we opened the doors has been overwhelmingly positive and incredibly successful. For that we are very grateful…I am also very comfortable living with and around my clients. We work together, play together and socialize. I see how they live, and I think that has played a huge role in the successes of my design projects here. I love a home that is gorgeous, well thought out, comfortable and seamless; but truly livable and real, don’t you?
What will customers find at your shop that they won’t find anywhere else?
Well, my private furniture and accessories designs for one. I love reworking existing vintage furniture pieces, gilding, refinishing, re-creating.
I shop the Paris antique shows unearthing treasures, things you’ll never get in the States. Then there are my one-of-a-kind furniture pieces I design from top to bottom that you truly can’t find anywhere else. One of the biggest thrills since we opened the doors almost a year ago was the initial response to these pieces. They literally flew out the door. It was the best conundrum ever. We had to act fast to replace them and refresh the floor. We also have an incredible offering of gilded accessories and accoutrements that are perfect for gift giving.
What inspires your work?
Travel, fashion, nature. I carry sketch and note pads everywhere. You can find inspiration all around if you keep your eyes open. It could be a roadside diner or the Champs-Elysees; you never know where or when an idea will pop so you had better be ready to jot it down or it may escape you.
And fashion, what can I say, I am an addict for sure. Vintage Yves St Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, all the classic fashion houses constantly inspire me to create bold, fearless designs. We have all learned so much about the high-low mix from the true fashion community; taking a J.Crew tee shirt and pairing it with a drop-dead gorgeous haute couture skirt and Prada heels. I infuse this sensibility into my work as well, there is no snobbery here. Good design is good design; I have been known to nab a fantastic inexpensive art piece for a client, hang it in just the right spot and Voila!
Where are your clients from?
I am proud to say that I have a bevy of fabulous local and downtown Chicago clients who are extremely loyal, many of them I am working on their second and third homes. But I am certainly not exclusive to the North Shore, or even the Chicagoland area for that matter. Right now I have a project in Naples, Fla. that will knock your socks off when that one wraps.
How did you react when you learned you were Chicago Magazine’s Best New Home Design Shop?
Well, naturally I popped my cork. That is a huge honor. And anyone who knows me can just hear the rip-roaring laughter and excitement when we picked up that issue. The national and regional press has been amazing, very supportive, and I am truly grateful. We know we work very hard, but the rewards are incredible. All in all I’m a very happy, very lucky girl.