Decorator Frances Elkins (1888-1953), the younger sister of renowned Chicago architect David Adler, was known for her progressive taste and brilliant use of color. W. W. Norton & Company published a retrospective of her three-decade career, Frances Elkins: Interior Design by Stephen M. Salny.
Casa Amesti is one of her best-known works. Throughout the home, Elkins incorporated pieces from different cultures and centuries, such as rugs from the Chinese Peking dynasty and gold-embellished furniture reminiscent of Louis XVI. She unified them by using blue, white and yellow, her favorite colors, in every room.
Casa Amesti living room. Photo from Architectural Digest
Second-floor hallway, Casa Amesti. Photo from W. W. Norton & Company
There is also a photographic collection of the original furniture, wallpaper and accessories she designed. One of her most recognized is the iconic Loop Chair, a version of which HGTV designer Linda Woodrum used in the guest bedroom at HGTV Green Home 2008.
Author Stephen Salny praises Elkins for her “fearless use of bold color,” as well as her ability to stay relevant to today’s designers. Famed California designer, Michael Taylor, cites Elkins as one of his biggest inspirations.
Read about more designers we’ve profiled for Women’s History Month.