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Lake Forest Designer, Antiques Dealer Puts on the Holiday Works

Alison Sherman's love for antiques and interior design is evident in her home's Christmas decorations — as well as its appearance during the rest of the year.

(Photo by Midwest Living, courtesy of Alison Sherman)
(Photo by Midwest Living, courtesy of Alison Sherman)

When you cross the holiday season with an interior designer who is also an antiques dealer, the result is a home that is perfectly appointed for Christmas.

Lake Forest resident Alison Sherman’s home is decorated year-round to reflect its equestrian roots, but special touches are added as her family ushers in the holidays. 

Their home originated as a polo stable that William Carney built in the late 1930s, Sherman said.

The stable was converted into a house in the 1970s, and Sherman and her husband, Harry, bought it 11 years ago. Sherman, who grew up on a 300-acre horse farm in Pennsylvania, said moving to Lake Forest “was almost like coming home.”

She’s added her own touches to the home, choosing décor that complements its historical elements. For instance, she nailed worn horseshoes to the side of the wooden staircase and infused the home with her favorite plaid and tartan patterns.

“Because the house is an equestrian property, it makes sense that there’s a lot of plaid. It’s an English Ralph Lauren look,” she said.

And that works for Sherman for another reason.

“I love all things plaid. It’s been since I was little. I think I’m an old preppy at heart,” she said.

She normally gravitates toward plaids in brown and camel tones, but come Christmastime, she showcases red and green patterns, which can be found on everything from chairs to coffee mugs.

And that’s just the start for Sherman, who dresses her home inside and out with fresh greens. Other seasonal touches include both antiques and her own designs, such as the polo helmet positioned to look like a berry amid the greens on a door. 

Her talent has captured both local and national appreciation. A few years ago, her home was included in Woodlands Academy’s holiday home tour. And this year, it was featured in Midwest Living magazine, which took photos throughout the home during the 2012 season. 

When Sherman isn’t working on her own house, she’s busy helping others find just the right accessories for theirs. 

“When I decorate for clients, I don’t just go out and buy brand new. I try to create a cozy and sentimental home for them,” said Sherman, who owns an interior design business called Evergrove Interiors.

She also co-owns Blue Cardinal Antiques along with Jenn Pattie in Highwood. The shop will be among a number of vendors offering items at Woodlands Academy’s holiday event this week.

The Midwest Living magazine feature brought some new attention to her talent, she said, including a new client who wanted their own home decorated in an equestrian style and a request from someone who is compiling a coffee table book.

She’s planning some tweaks to her Christmas decorations again this year, when her effort will again be memorialized. Her home will be photographed this month for inclusion for the coffee table book. It’s scheduled to be published for the 2014 Christmas season, she said.

Click through the attached photos from Midwest Living for an inside look at Sherman's holiday decor and find the full photo spread here. Head over to Sherman's blog to learn more about her home.

Dave Pattie December 09, 2013 at 07:41 AM
Alison and co-Owner Jenn Pattie's Blue Cardinal's wares will be featured Tuesday/Wednesday (December 10/11) at Woodland Academy's "Winter Wonderwalk" at Woodlands Academy. Tuesday 1-5pm, Wednesday 9-3pm.
Dave Pattie December 09, 2013 at 08:31 AM
Forgot to mention Tuesday night's "Sip and Shop" from 6-8pm at Woodlands Academy. Stop by for your Holiday decorating solutions!
Laura February 11, 2014 at 06:44 PM
That was our house growing up. We bought it from the Carneys and turned it into a home. Such happy memories!

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