Alissa Johnson designed her studio to feel more like a home than an office—no easy feat considering the fact that the building was a stark new build. “Initially, our office was a vast, open box,” the interior designer recalls. “It sits in the heart of Lakeview, Chicago, strategically positioned to serve both our downtown and Northshore clientele with ease. What drew us to this location was not just its central accessibility, but also the bustling energy of the surrounding area, attracting tons of foot traffic. The opportunity to design our space from scratch allowed us to create an environment that embodies our brand identity and fosters creativity and collaboration among our team.”

In their design approach, they deliberately maintained clean white walls, providing a versatile canvas for the integration of distinctive and warm furnishings. “We really focused on curating unusual and fun pieces of furniture, that added unique elements and shapes into the space,” she says. “To create a more inviting space, we built a wall, ensuring that it serves as an impactful backdrop upon entering and creating a defined entrance.” Since the entryway is the first impression, Alissa ensured each piece would make a statement—from the arched console to the striking statement lamp and sculptural accessories. “On the flip side of the wall, you’ll discover a practical storage closet,” she says. “A necessity in our office given the brisk Chicago winters!”

In the dining room, they chose a dining table and chairs that would feel more inviting than a traditional ‘conference’ table. “We leaned heavily on wood tones to add warmth, but we also played with three-dimensional texture. You can see that on the cabinet that has depth in layers, alongside the artwork and ceramics which literally are three dimensional,” she explains. “This intentional blend of elements achieved a layered and inviting atmosphere.”

Moving further into the office, a colorful kitchenette acts as a focal point and a clear indicator of the firm’s style. “In designing this area, our aim was to make a bold statement that contrasts with the overall bright and airy aesthetic of the office,” Alissa explains. “The kitchenette stands out with its deep raspberry cabinet color and is the perfect pop of vibrancy into the space. Complementing this rich hue, we’ve integrated brass hardware and textures to add warmth into the space.”

The powder room has a similar approach, featuring a marble floating vanity – a signature design element at Alissa Johnson Interiors. “Against the backdrop of dark plaster walls, the curves on the Calacatta Macchia Vecchia vanity add a playful and feminine touch, creating a memorable space within the office,” Alissa shares.  

Though the nature of a busy design studio means every day is different, there is a balance between design work, project management, and client interactions to ensure successful project outcomes. Take a tour in the slideshow.