An Open, Airy Retreat on the Prarie
The dramatic transformation of Seth and Leticia Wagner’s Prairie Grove home has been a nearly decade-long process. It all started with a hillside ranch house purchased in 1984.
“It was a hodge-podge of rooms,” recalls Seth Wagner of the main floor.
In the first renovation, three bedrooms, the dining room and the living room were combined into a great room and a master bedroom suite. They raised the roof and installed skylights to achieve “a tree house” effect.
Last year, the floor plan continued to evolve. Builders updated the kitchen, which opens into a high-ceilinged, light-filled expanse for dining and relaxing by the fireplace. Two precious garage spaces that housed Seth’s award-winning, custom-car collection were absorbed into the house as another bathroom.
After these changes were made, the interior needed to be completely updated to reflect the Wagner’s interests and tastes. “It was like an Elk Lodge,” Seth says of the great room he and Leticia shared with his hunting trophies. “The deer had to go.”
Bringing harmony to their first-floor living space represented an opportunity for Seth and Leticia to collaborate on a warm, inviting atmosphere. On word-of-mouth recommendations, they turned to DF Design, Inc., of Crystal Lake to get the look they wanted.
“We finish what the builders start,” explains head designer Dennis Frankowski, adding that ideally, he likes to be part of the team when the homeowner is in the brainstorming phase. “I can be an asset to a builder by working with their client to create a holistic design plan.” For the Wagner project, he picked up where the builders left off. The ‘tools’ he brought to the site were a profound understanding of color, fabric options, textural wall effects and accessories. The homeowners also appreciated DF Design’s network of professional tradespeople to bring the plan to life.
When DF Design consulted with Seth and Leticia, architectural features, existing furniture and their collection of unique sculpture and artifacts from all over the world were analyzed in an initial onsite planning session. Dennis says, “I listened to their ideas and tried to give them a vision that goes above and beyond.”
“We could never have come up with those ideas ourselves,” Seth says. “Dennis is very good at colors.” This knowledge gave the homeowners confidence to try some of the more dramatic effects Dennis recommended. Back in his office, Dennis developed the faux suede wall textures, window treatments, upholstery options and floor coverings to coordinate the living room, dining room, master bedroom and master bath. The collection of Southwest art suggested color choices. He designed and commissioned the custom cabinetry that the homeowners had requested for their entertainment system.
After completing the design, painters and fabricators went to work to produce the special faux finishes and custom window coverings that make the results one-of-a-kind. Dennis oversaw the installation of the cabinetry. He assured it was made to spec.
Dennis arranged the furniture to give the space the cozy feel of home. He also placed hand-picked accessories and furnishings as he had envisioned them. “I spend a lot of time listening to a client so that I know exactly what belongs in a room,” Dennis says. Putting unique art, complementary accessories and beautiful botanicals at home-owners’ fingertips without field trips to showrooms is a special bonus for full-service clients.
DF Design sees the keys for a successful interior design as listening to the client, creating a master plan and seeing it to its conclusion. As the principal in the firm, Dennis Frankowski’s holistic approach captures needs and wants with creative solutions to “always give the customer more than they expected.”
Did the redo represent a meeting of their minds? “Dennis was phenomenal,” confirms Seth. Recounting how he saw Dennis touching up the finish on the stairwell balustrade with a little steel-wool sanding, Seth added, “He goes more than the extra mile.”
DF Design, Inc., and Dennis Frankowski can be contacted at 815-479-0047 or through their website at www.dfdesigninteriors.com.