|Fox Point native
Timothy Wheaton combines different styles in his home designs.
designer and fine arts expert Timothy Whealon credits his Midwest
upbringing with influencing his approach to interior design.
in Wisconsin, I developed an appreciation for wide open spaces,"
says the Fox Point native, who now calls New York City home. Downtown
Milwaukee landmarks and nearby Lake Michigan have also had a lasting
impact on Whealon’s style.
has such beautiful architecture," says Whealon, who recalls
frequenting estate sales with his mother and regular trips to the former
Milwaukee Auction House as a child.
Now, Whealon is
set to return to Milwaukee on Nov. 19 to promote his first book,
"In Pursuit of Beauty: The Interiors of Timothy Whealon," at
the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum. Published by Rizzoli
International Publications, the book features a collection of Whealon’s
interiors, including a glass house in South Hampton, a
Mediterranean-style villa in Monaco, a London town house and Whealon’s
own home in Gramercy Park.
"I wanted to
show the core of my work," says Whealon. "Even though they’re
very different settings, there’s a common thread in all of my
Growing up near
Lake Michigan, Whealon has retained an appreciation for natural scenery
and water, in particular. Whenever he starts a new project, the first
thing Whealon does is look out the window because he says it’s what
lies beyond that ultimately influences his design decisions.
courtesy of Rizzoli
interested in the view because anything outside the window is going to
be more beautiful than what I can create inside," Whealon explains.
studied English literature and art history at Kenyon College in Ohio, he
originally moved to New York City to attend a management-trainee program
at a large commercial bank at the urging of his parents.
But after two
years as a lending officer in the private banking industry, Whealon
resigned his position to follow his true passion — art. He applied and
was accepted to the Works of Art course at Sotheby’s Institute of Art
in London. The following year, Whealon completed the corporate
management training program with Sotheby’s New York. After assisting
several acquaintances in renovating and decorating their homes, Whealon
officially launched his interior design business in 1994.
Over the past two
decades, Whealon has attracted a loyal following — his work has been
published in ELLE DÉCOR, House Beautiful, House and Garden,
Architectural Digest, VERANDA, Domino Magazine and The New York Times’
interiors are often referred to as elegant, Whealon prefers terms like
fresh, refined and comfortable when describing his design approach.
"I like to
think my work has a certain crispness and American sensibility," he
With his extensive
knowledge of international art and antiques, Whealon incorporates pieces
from different periods and cultures into his room designs. Whether it’s
a Park Avenue penthouse or a casual beach cottage, his interiors are
often a mix of vintage and contemporary objects — it’s not unusual
to find an antique Swedish chair paired with a sleek modern Parsons
"The idea of
layering permeates my designs," says Whealon. "I like to mix
the old and the new. My style references the past, but yet it’s in the
The end result is
a striking space that is traditional yet modern.
With an affinity
for mixing the high and the low, Whealon says he’s just as at home
shopping neighborhood flea markets as he is upscale antique shops in
Paris. Nor is Whealon afraid to mix flea market finds with classic
pieces. One example is a private garden he designed as part of a Monaco
villa project. True to style, Whealon furnished the exterior space with
Restoration Hardware wicker sofas and custom-made metal tables with
"I aim for a
clean, fresh classicism," says Whealon.
As much as Whealon
mixes vintage and modern to make his designs interesting, he also
approaches clients’ homes with a Midwesterner’s sense of
"I want to
know how my clients live," explains Whealon. "Do they have
kids? Do they have pets? Are they formal or more casual?"
preferences in mind, Whealon lends his exquisite taste to create
interiors that are unique, yet suited to his clients and their living
"I strive to
create rooms that have a sense of harmony and comfort," he says.