Designer Gemma Parker Walks Us Through Her Favorite Moody Foyer

Hitting the perfect balance between the bold and the beautiful can be a tricky, delicate dance. But not so for designer Gemma Parker, who mastered the dramatic, quirky and utterly chic entryway for her lively, fun-loving clients who reside in the posh Lincoln Park suburb of Chicago. Parker shares how she nailed the moody aesthetic, without a hint of heaviness, creating a totally buzzy energy as soon as guests walk in.

aspire design and home: We can’t stop smiling at the bee wallpaper!
Gemma Parker: I love the bee wallpaper as well!

adh: What was the inspiration behind this foyer?
GP: This room is an entry foyer to the home. It was important to us to make the space feel like a very dramatic entry to the home that is otherwise very light in tonality.

adh: And it’s the very first room guests will see as they enter the home—it makes quite a statement!
GP: I love the drama of going from a dark and moody space into a home that is much more airy. It makes the result even more impactful.

adh: The space is so fun and out of the ordinary. Would you say that your design style overall is that element of surprise and delight?
GP: I love that this space is unexpected and dramatic. Our designs are very reflective of the clients that we design for and the clients of this particular home are creative, love entertaining and are big fans of music, art and fashion. This entry foyer was completely reflective of their personalities.

adh: Do you have any favorite, go-to colors that you love to design with?
GP: I love using greens and blues, as they are fresh and always inviting.

AHD: A dark wallpaper is risky because it can make a room feel small and just…dark. How did you balance a dark wallpaper so that it still radiates positivity and a sense of lightness?
GP: So much importance is placed on balance of materials in all of our designs. The black and white checkerboard floor not only gives a nod to classic design but also balances the use of dark materials such as the wallpaper and glossy dark paint. The light levels from the Paris vintage pendant does wonders for throwing light in the space as well. Everything is about balance—in design and in life!

Get the look:

  • Entry Pendant – 1970 Paris Holophane Globe Streetlight Pendant through Chairish
  • Wallpaper – Timorous Beasties Wallpaper
  • Black and White Checkerboard Floor – Renaissance Tile & Bath, Chicago
  • Green console – Jayson Home and Garden, Chicago
  • Vase – CB2
  • Framed Photograph on Console – David Allan Brandt

Foyer photos by Dustin Halleck; Gemma Parker headshot by Rebekah Albaugh.

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