This Interior Designer Draws on His Midwestern Roots For Inspiration

Interior designer Timothy Whealon draws on his local roots for his new collection of rugs.

Growing up in Fox Point, Timothy Whealon found creative inspiration in historic mansions near Lake Park and Lake Michigan’s ribbon of blue. Now an interior designer living in New York City, Whealon continues to draw on those early memories in his work, and particularly in his recently launched collection of rug designs.

Case in point: For the “Fox Point” rug, riffs on the late British designer David Hicks’ 1960s and ’70s interiors – a style commonly found in the village’s midcenturymodern homes – are paired with “perspective, repetition and geometry,” says Whealon. Similarly, he translated the experience of snooping on his mom’s bridge club into “Luck Be a Lady,” inspired by “a vintage playing card and the fun that went along with youth and eavesdropping.” What could be perceived as spades and diamonds might also be viewed as stained-glass windows with butterflies.

In his interior design work, Whealon acknowledges a “bent toward incorporating art and antiques,” a result of working for Sotheby’s in London. He has clients in far-flung locales like Monaco and Switzerland, plus closer to home in the Hamptons, Boston and Connecticut, but he would love more projects in the Midwest, he says, to further knit him with the landscape of his youth. He returns to Milwaukee often to visit his parents, who now reside in Mequon.

Whether of his own design or not, rugs figure prominently in Whealon’s work. “A rug centers the whole room. For me [when decorating], it’s easier to start with a rug,” he says. “They create warmth and give the place style.”

Crafted from wool, jute and abaca, Whealon’s collection is manufactured by Patterson Flynn Martin and sold to the trade only through the brand’s showrooms across the U.S.

More 2019 Home & Design Guide

The “Homes Guide” appears in the October 2019  issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

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A seasoned writer, and a former editor at Milwaukee Home & Fine Living, Kristine Hansen launched her wine-writing career in 2003, covering wine tourism, wine and food pairings, wine trends and quirky winemakers. Her wine-related articles have published in Wine Enthusiast, Sommelier Journal, Uncorked (an iPad-only magazine),, and Whole Living (a Martha Stewart publication). She's trekked through vineyards and chatted up winemakers in many regions, including Chile, Portugal, California (Napa, Sonoma and Central Coast), Canada, Oregon and France (Bordeaux and Burgundy). While picking out her favorite wine is kind of like asking which child you like best, she will admit to being a fan of Oregon Pinot Noir and even on a sub-zero winter day won't turn down a glass of zippy Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.