• Tell Your Friends

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.


The book explores 29 of Elkins’ greatest works, both residential and commercial. Highlights include her historic adobe home, Casa Amesti in Monterey, CA, and the Claremont Country Club in Oakland.

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.

design-happens-frances-elkins-living-roomCasa Amesti living room. Photo from Architectural Digest

design-happens-frances-elkins-blue-hallway600x554Second-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.

design-happens-frances-elkins-photo600x479Elkins in her office

Read about more designers we’ve profiled for Women’s History Month.

4 Responses

  1. Steve Salny says:

    Dear Karli:
    Many thanks for the blog on my book. I appreciate it very much.
    Steve Salny

  2. The blues in the third pic are absolutely gorgeous. I cant tell if it is sky or a design element. Interior design is so important to the mental well being of the occupants of a house. Appreciate this post.

  3. Mary says:

    I love those interior design especially the home interior with yellow wall color. I like yellow, actually I start repainting my wall and I use yellow color.

    Visit this link to get cheap curtains

  4. Karli says:

    No problem! It's a great book. I hope the post helps you out!

See What We’re Pinning

  • Not only does the new island create a natural barrier

  • To keep the color palette uniform throughout the house,

  • The Scott brothers made the dining room even more

  • By knocking down the great room wall and raising the floor