A Love Letter to my Interior Designer, Paul Gonzalez, Plus a Peek Inside his Own Magical Homes

I wrote this post in 2011, and yesterday, June 25, Chuck and I lost our best friend.  Paul was a blazing ray of sunshine for all who knew him.  He had 23 nieces and nephews who worshiped him like we did.  There wasn’t a negative bone in his body and he always acted like a kid with a new toy.  His joy was infectious.  We’ll miss his laughter, his wisdom, his positivity, his friendship, his kindness and his companionship.  Below, is a love letter to my friend:

I met Spanish born interior designer, Paul Gonzalez, over 20 years ago and we’ve been best friends ever since.  I had interviewed several name designers around Chicago when we bought our house in Old Town but he stood out like a rose among thorns.  Not only were his design sensibilities in line with mine, but he had that European touch that is born, not learned, and he had it in spades.  He took one look around our home and his ideas just streamed out of him like an open faucet.  And I was hooked.

Since our first meeting, I have had the joy of scouring our city and beyond with someone who, not only do I have tons of fun with, but from whom I’ve learned a wealth of information such as A) Don’t fret over nicks, chips or cracks.  It comes with antiques that have been much loved B) Always group similar objects together.  There’s strength in numbers.  C) It doesn’t have to be old to be good.  There are some terrific new objects that are made to look old that are beautiful all on their own.  Don’t be an antiques snob.  D)  Don’t be afraid of color in a room.  It cozies up the surroundings.  Beige usually equals boring.  E) Minimalism is for people who have nothing to say…..

Now this is definitely not to say he doesn’t do other types of interiors.  He’s a genius at them all, be it modernism, Art Deco, or you name it.  He can size up your desires in a heartbeat but he loves traditional, as do I.  Take a look at his beautiful Edgewater Beach apartment as well as his charming home in Wonder Lake, Illinois and you’ll see what I mean.

I haven’t met a bare wall I’ve liked nor an empty table I enjoy.   I love maximalism and I’m not afraid to admit it.

Love and thanks to my dear friend, Paul Gonzalez!




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  • Dear Candace,

    Thank you for the wonderful article on my uncle, Paul Gonzalez. Most of us cousins used his abodes over the years for honeymoons. He could tell you countless stories.

    You have no idea how very special he is to ALL of us. We were 23 nieces and nephews and he has been beloved by all.

  • There is a saying:" When I count my blessings, I count you twice."
    Thats how blessed I am to have such a wonderful Uncle in my life. I love that he has such a great talent that he shares. Count yourself blessed that you had the good fortunate to meet this good man.

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    Everyone should have a Paul Gonzalez in their life. He is one of the most generous, caring, loving, and funny men that you'll ever meet. I am so blessed to be his grandniece and be able to call him Uncle Paul. :-)

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