Our Firm

Founded in 1994, Frank Ponterio is a full-service design firm with expertise in interior architecture, historic preservation, interior design and product design, and driven by a mission to create unique environments for its clients that are a physical embodiment of the life they want to live. Ponterio’s design work—both product lines for Lee Jofa and Avrett and bespoke interior projects—has received numerous design awards and garnered attention from the very best publications, including Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, House Beautiful and Traditional Home, among others.

“My goal is to help our clients live exceptionally well”

Mission & Process

A versatile, full-service firm, Frank Ponterio has been responsible for completing a range of incomparable residential and commercial designs since 1994. Taking the lead role in all design work, Frank is supported by the firm’s design and management teams, allowing him to focus his efforts on his clients to ensure each project is grounded in superior design and individuality. Frank Ponterio’s growing client base and team, along with his more than 25 years of industry experience, speak to the firm’s success, which Frank attributes in part to a thorough and comprehensive approach to design. Exhibiting a tenacious work ethic, astute design vision and friendly disposition, Frank seeks to ensure each project meets with the highest expectations of the firm’s exclusive clientele.

From the one-on-one design consultation to the final reveal, Frank specializes in all areas of the design process. He approaches each project with a management style that is both collaborative and considerate, aimed at acquiring a deep understanding of each client’s needs to ensure the end result is tailored to fit each highly distinctive lifestyle. The firm’s team offers expertise across all interior design disciplines; from architecture and interior design, design and decorating, Frank Ponterio is truly high-touch. From the initial explorations of conceptual design to the studied attention required for historic restoration, from the precision of interior architecture to fittings and furniture, each project is serviced to the highest standards of excellence.

Our Core Values

We don’t build monuments to ego, we build backdrops for conversations, for dinner parties, for movie nights and afternoon naps. We tailor each project to accommodate the unique needs of the client, so that they can feel like their best selves when at home. Our projects always balance elegance with ease, and artistry with approachability.

Do the right thing

Earning our clients’ trust allows us to execute a project to the very best of our talent and abilities. This means staying above board in all interactions, and always prioritizing the relationship.

Make it easy

Our clients have the same 24 hours in a day that we do. We streamline our meetings and decision-making processes so our clients can save time and avoid getting bogged down in the minutiae.

Make it better

We instinctively know what a home needs to look and be its best. Our job is to optimize layout, space, light and flow so every movement is intuitive and effortless.

Details matter

Every drawer pull, every cabinet lining and every plank and beam can be a sensual experience when the very best material selections have been made and craftsmanship employed. We don’t cut corners. Our standard of excellence and attention to detail sets our work apart and ensures that it will stand the test of time.

Frank Ponterio Biography

Since founding his namesake firm in 1994, Chicago-based designer Frank Ponterio has been driven by a mission to create environments for his clients that are a physical embodiment of the life they want to live. Ponterio has an innate ability to read people and places, to walk into a space and know exactly what it needs. Just as each client is different, each project is tailored to the unique wants and needs of the client. Ponterio’s work possesses the highest standards of excellence and delicately balances elegance with ease, artistry with approachability. These are non-negotiables for Ponterio. He has an unwavering determination to deliver the absolute best to his clients to ensure that their expectations are not just met, but exceeded, and that his work stands the test of time.

Ponterio’s first foray into product design came fifteen years after establishing his design firm. He joined forces with South Carolina–based Avrett to introduce a line of custom, handcrafted furniture and fixtures that blends the company’s Old World manufacturing techniques with Ponterio’s refined, masculine aesthetic. Three years later, he was tapped by industry leader Lee Jofa to design a line of understated yet elegant upholstery pieces, complemented by tables and lighting, all inspired by his love of classic European design and architectural influences from his native Chicago. The partnership marked the first collaboration for Lee Jofa with a Midwestern designer. In 2019, Ponterio is slated to launch a collection of furniture, lighting and accessories for Arteriors, followed by a comprehensive fabric and trimmings collection for Vervain, inspired by his strong ties to Italy and men’s fashion.

Ponterio’s design work, both projects and products, has received numerous Design Excellence Awards in historic restoration, showhouse design, hospitality design, furniture design, lighting design and more. His work has garnered attention from the very best publications, including Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Traditional Home, Luxe Interiors + Design, Chicago Magazine and Modern Luxury publications including CS, Interiors Chicago and Men’s Book, among others. Recently, Modern Luxury’s Interiors Chicago named Ponterio one of nine individuals “who have established Chicago as the design destination that it is,” alongside peers including Holly Hunt and Nate Berkus.

Educated at Chicago’s Harrington Institute of Design, Ponterio is an accredited member of The Institute for Classical Architecture & Art, and holds a NCIDQ license. He gives his time and expertise as a board member of the Design Leadership Network, is on the board of directors of the Children’s Brittle Bone Foundation, and has been a longstanding supporter and designer of the prestigious Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens, benefiting the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago.

Ponterio resides in Lake Forest with his wife, daughter and beloved dogs. Their home, which was designed by renowned architect David Adler and received a historic preservation award from the Lake Forest Preservation Foundation, beautifully exemplifies all that Ponterio’s work represents: classic heritage, thoughtful restoration, architectural integrity, incredible details and an inviting atmosphere of comfort and belonging.

Awards & Testimonials

Frank Ponterio is an award-winning interior designer whose primary goal is to help his clients live exceptionally well. The firm has received recognition for preservation efforts as well as multiple ASID-IL Design Excellence Awards in various categories from historic restoration to residential design.

2018 Luxe Interiors + Design RED Awards

Best Kitchen (Chicago Region)

2017 ASID-IL Design Excellence Awards

1st Place: Furnishings

2016 ASID-IL Design Excellence Awards

1st Place: Lighting

2015 ASID-IL Design Excellence Awards

1st Place: Lighting
1st Place: Retail

2014 ASID-IL Design Excellence Awards

1st Place: Hospitality Design
1st Place: Historic Restoration

2013 ICAA Acanthus Award

(Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, Midwest Chapter)
Excellence in Interior Design
Thorndale Library

2013 ASID-IL Design

Best Lighting – Frank Ponterio Collection for Avrett,
Francesco Fixture

2013 IIDA RED Award

(International Interior Design Association)
Awarded Select Residential Singular Space

2012 Chicago Interior Designer of the Year

Runner-up

2011 Chicago Interior Designer of the Year

Nominee

2011 ASID-IL Design Excellence Award

1st Place: Historic Restoration

2009 ASID-IL Design Excellence Awards

1st Place: Historic Restoration
1st Place: Singular Residential Room

2008 Preservation Award

Awarded by the Lake Forest Foundation for Historic Preservation

2007 ASID-IL Design Excellence Awards

1st Place: Showcase Room
1st Place: Historic Restoration
Honorable Mention: Over 3,000 sf.

2006 ASID-IL Design Excellence Awards

1st Place: Historic Restoration
Honorable Mention: Singular Residential Space
Honorable Mention: Showcase Room

Frank Ponterio is the creative, exacting, perfectionist brother I never had. He and his amazing team of talented professionals took my vague hand-waving references... and turned them into a beautiful, comforting space.

Residential Client
We have completed two homes with Frank and his team over the course of three years, and we are in the process of working on our third…We have learned to trust Frank and his team when it comes to design, scope and delivering the overall lifestyle we wanted. He opened our eyes to many different colors, textures and furnishings we would have never put together on our own. Both of our homes are designed in different styles, and each of them has exceeded our expectations.

Residential Client
After struggling for years to find a suitable outdoor portable bar for our Club's beautiful patio, nothing on the market was right. In no time, Frank designed a custom built solution: a beautiful bead board design with durable finishes and a classic look that fit in perfectly on our beautifully restored terrazzo patio. It enhances the experience of patio dining at our wonderful club looking over the golf course on one side, and our historic club house facade on the other.

Hospitality Client
Frank brings "forward thinking" design while respecting historical building elements. He not only provides a tremendous amount of direct involvement, which is critical to the success of his projects, but he also combines that with a deep bench of colleagues who have a great and responsive attitude. He and his team gave us the confidence to believe that all hurdles could be dealt with. In some regards, the design and selections are often times the easy part. It's dealing with the inevitable issues that arise in the process, and the way that Frank and his team resolved problems that makes them shine in my mind.

Hospitality Client
Frank, You have provided great expertise and direction in the traditional areas of interior design; finish selections, fabrics and furnishings. More importantly, you have provided great value to Northmoor by being a resource for contractors and other vendors. I can speak for our entire Renovation committee in saying that we all look forward to working with you as we embark upon our larger upcoming Interior Design projects for our Clubhouse.

Commercial Client
Frank's professionalism, organization, attention to details, as well as his creativity, patience and humor, made him a joy to work with.

Residential Client
I have had the pleasure of working with Frank and his fine team of professionals for many years. His drive to create truly unique design that is also timeless is his trademark. A few words to describe Frank; creative, relentless, focused, value oriented, attention to detail and most important fun! I am very proud to work side by side with someone I am convinced is the “Best of the Best”.

Residential Landscape Client
We loved working with Frank Ponterio! His architectural background and attention to detail made the renovation and design of our home perfect!

Residential Client
We have worked with Frank Ponterio Interior Design for several years, dating back to 2005. Our projects have ranged from individual pieces of furniture to fill a niche, to complete room re-dos. In every aspect, Frank Ponterio Interior Design has been creative, professional, efficient, and flexible. We could not recommend them more highly.

Residential Client
We have worked with Frank Ponterio for several years. We own an 80-year-old David Adler house, originally decorated by his sister, Frances Elkins. Frank has skillfully updated our house, whilst incorporating what remained of Elkins’ decor, to create a stylish, yet comfortable retreat for our large family. He has created designs for both the interior and exterior living spaces. Frank has great sensitivity to our requirements and his designs are always tasteful and elegant, yet practical for our needs. We value his expertise immensely and enjoy working with him and his team very much.

Residential Client
In working with Frank, I have come to realize that he is an amazingly talented designer, is a pleasure to work with, and brings great energy and talent to all the projects that he undertakes.

Residential Client
It has been a pleasure working with Frank and his team. I love everything they select, which made the design process easy. I especially appreciate that they were able to find fabulous accessories that completed the look of our rooms— from orchids to throws to coffee table books, every detail was considered.

Residential Client