Luxury living : Inspired interiors

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Bruce ÒChipÓ Walterman is proud of his family history which created Interiors By Bruce, Inc., located at 28960 W. Northwest Highway in Lake Barrington. Karie Angell Luc~for Sun-Times Media

Bruce “Chip” Walterman is proud to call Barrington, among the rolling ravines and hills, home to his business. Interiors by Bruce, Inc., a furnishings gallery that offers interior design consultation and the products, is quite the destination on the six acres of land.

Although Interiors by Bruce focuses within the home, the company’s bird sanctuary outside the office inspires both the designers and the patrons. When clients arrive for a consultation or to browse, the woodland setting sets the mood for an inspirational shopping journey.

Interiors by Bruce began in Park Ridge more than 60 years ago as a family dream.

“My father was the original founder,” said Walterman, who sat down for this interview on patio ravine steps near the showroom. “That’s why we’re a 65-year-old company; I’m in the second generation.”

Customers — many who have become friends — often joke that Walterman is a chip off the old block. The nickname “Chip” stuck. Similar cherished banter has forged years of trust and repeat business.

Custom fine draperies, floor coverings and upholstery services are specialties of Walterman’s house, and botanical themes and natural weaves are celebrated in the showroom.

The upstairs features new, one-of-a-kind pieces. While many items, such as club chairs or credenzas, have a timeless look of antiquity, the designs are crafted to today’s standards.

Downstairs, the drapery and custom furniture shop are busy in the building’s walkout level. Here, many customers who have entrusted their antiques to Interiors by Bruce, expect to see their upholstery or refinishing requests yield amazing results.

The showroom offers decorative pieces such as working telescopes, which are attractive, usable room additions. Expert cabinetmakers and tailors create heirloom custom finishes. Clubby leather seating or other accents, such as bombe chests, round out the rooms.

Style has become reflective of each individual, Walterman said.

“People are doing more of what they want,” he said. “They’re not paying attention to trends as much anymore.”

Times have evolved to showcase confidence, and Walterman is a believer.

The mauves of the 1980s have become pastels of choice. Clients no longer feel obligated to adopt ebony blacks or olive drabs of prior decades. In short, the sea-foam greens of two decades ago are only fashionable if people love it. Consider a burnt umber or kissable red ottoman if it matches your personal style.

“Every color is in,” Walterman said.

“I think that you just need to be able to make it work and an interior designer is just the right person,” he said.

Chip and his wife, Lisa, have raised their family — daughters, Kristen and Stephanie — on the company’s property while also building their business.