Aimee and Sean Huss share two great loves: family and good design. So when the couple decided to move from their two-story Lakeview home to Winnetka, they approached designer Rose Wormley with a challenge: Design highly functional spaces with enough room for their four young children and frequent visitors to spread out comfortably — but make them beautiful. This is Wormley’s favorite space to play in. She’s keen on homes that are simultaneously versatile, sophisticated, functional, and kid-friendly: think airy, inviting layouts, clean lines, and fabrics that can be wiped down when little ones get messy.
When the Husses purchased the home in late 2016, it was classic, but dated. Despite the open floor plan and wide entryways, each room on the first floor had been designed as a separate space. Wormley aimed to improve the flow and modernize some of the more traditional elements without making it overly formal (four kids, remember?). But as with any design project, there were a few challenges. “Usually the first thing a family asks me to do is the basement, but Aimee told me that they’re not a basement family — they really wanted to be on the first floor,” says Wormley. To accommodate their unique request, she installed a number of built-ins that would allow the family to store everything that might normally be sequestered to the lower level, from games to a big-screen TV, in an organized, out-of-sight way. In the playroom, rolling bins were added to ensure the kids’ toys had a place to sleep at the end of the day. The overall effect is that of a stylish, modern family home that adults can appreciate and children can spread out and have fun in.
The second challenge? Seating. To ensure the comfort of frequent visitors and extended family, the Husses hoped to be able to accommodate at least 15 people in each room. In keeping with her practically elegant style, Wormley selected kid-friendly fabrics for chairs and sofas and high-quality indoor/outdoor carpeting that could handle heavy traffic.
As any good designer will tell you, the key to an amazing space is great lighting. Throw in a couple with amazing taste and high standards, and you’ve arrived at challenge number three. “Lighting is everything — it can really make or break a look,” says Aimee. “Sean and I both appreciate great fixtures and love to experiment with new options, so this was very important to us.” Luckily, Wormley’s choices didn’t disappoint. “She brought in some really cool fixtures that help set the tone in each room,” says Aimee.
Ultimately, Wormley was able to check every box on the family’s list — and when they moved in last Christmas, it was like they’d always lived there. “Aimee and Sean wanted the house to feel like theirs, and it really reflects them,” she says. Aimee agrees. “We’re here to stay!”
The Husses may be a busy family of four, but they make sure to carve out time to give back to their community. “It’s a huge part of how we spend time together as a family,” says Aimee. “Since moving to Winnetka, we’ve been taking the kids to volunteer at Feed My Starving Children, which we first discovered through the park district. It’s great because the kids get to be super hands-on. They spend weekend afternoons preparing packaged meals to help get nutritious food to hungry kids around the world.”
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Michelle Huffman is a Chicago-area writer and editor. Over the past decades, she has written about homes, real estate and personal finance for Yahoo, CBS News and The Chicago Tribune. Michelle lives in Evanston with her husband, daughter and dog.
Is there a cause or nonprofit you’re passionate about?
“Yes, actually. Becoming a parent made my heart all soft and squishy and I want to make sure all babies and moms have their most basic needs met. So I work with Share Our Spare, an organization dedicated to getting baby and child items like diapers, bottles and clothes in the hands of parents who need them.”