Street Level Studio Creates Custom Wall Mural for Lake Forest Showhouse

July 13, 2020, Highwood, IL – Beyond the Surface™ bespoke wallcoverings, a new design service from Chicago-area marketing and design agency Street Level Studio, is being showcased at the 2020 Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens. The agency’s surface designers were commissioned to create a custom, chinoiserie-inspired wall mural for the breakfast room in the 1906 Pullman estate, selected as the location for this year’s fundraiser benefitting the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago, July 11 through August 9. The commission came from the creative team responsible for remodeling the breakfast room and adjoining kitchen—The ABL Group, Dovetails Cabinetry, and DP Home Design, all based in Highwood.

Their vision was “to create a feature wall that would echo the aesthetics of the elaborate handpainted wallpapers and scenic murals throughout the historic home but in a lighter, more approachable, and unexpected way.”

Doreen Avila, Designer
Custom Audubon inspired magpie illustrations.

The finished mural includes five unique panels reminiscent of traditional Asian screens and embroidery. The panels seamlessly meld into an airy naturalistic scene of creamy clouds and colorful soaring magpies, the work of Street Level Studio designer Jennie Dembowski. “The birds were inspired by the details of classic Audubon illustrations and created using a kind of electronic hand painting technique,” says Dembowski. “It involved building hundreds of layers and carefully recreating thousands of strokes to reflect the iridescent blues and greens of magpie feathers in flight.”

In the spirit of raising funds for a worthy cause, Street Level Studio not only completed the wallcoverings project pro bono, but the agency also was able to “enlist support from several business partners to produce the finished mural panels,” says Tanya Fretheim, the agency’s owner and president. “Canon Solutions America generously donated the media—STYLine® New York, a luxury matte paper imported from Germany that was perfect for reproducing the texture and softness of classic chinoiserie—while RPM Digital Imaging printed the panels using the state-of-the-art Canon Colorado large format printer to assure just the right color intensity, quality, and panel-to-panel consistency.”

The biannual Lake Forest Showhouse is one of the oldest and most successful in the country, nationally recognized for transforming some of the North Shore’s most magnificent estates. This year, 39 talented professionals have turned the 23-room, 11,000-square-foot Pullman House and surrounding three acres of gardens into a stunningly modern revival of classic design. The 2020 Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens is open daily, with a restricted number of tickets sold in advance and tour groups divided into morning and afternoon sessions. In accordance with State of Illinois COVID-19 guidelines, all guests will be required to wear a face mask. Tickets may be purchased online at

For more information on Beyond the Surface custom wallcoverings created by Street Level Studio, visit

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Street Level Studio (SLS) is an award-winning, full-service marketing agency in the Chicago area. We’ve been building momentum and driving results for both global brands and growing businesses for more than 35 years through street-smart branding, design, websites, video, digital marketing, content development, multichannel communications, and environmental branding solutions. A trusted and valued creative partner, the SLS team knows how to reach audiences right where they are, deliver the right messages, and trigger the right response with high-impact design and compelling content. A 100% woman-owned business, SLS prides itself on delivering big agency results with small firm access and collaboration.

Lexie Markarian, Director of Sales
Street Level Studio