Elevating Interiors: Interview with Designer, John Cialone

In the world of high-end home interiors, few designers possess the vision and expertise of John Cialone. As a nationally recognized interior designer, John not only stands at the top of his craft, but also leads a dedicated team at Chicago-based Tom Stringer Design Partners. His passion for promoting the interior design profession is contagious and he has become a guiding force in the industry.

With over twenty-five years of experience in the field, John’s work has garnered numerous accolades and have graced the pages of prestigious magazines such as Traditional Home, Luxe, California Living, Western Art & Architecture, Palm Beach, and Modern Luxury. With unwavering commitment, John continues to push the boundaries of design, to create spaces that truly inspire.

I had the privilege of sitting down with John to gain insight into his philosophy for creating luxury spaces and to explore what lies ahead in the dynamic world of interior designers in the ever changing industry.

John, can you share some insights into your design philosophy and how it influences your approach to bespoke home interiors?

My design philosophy is rooted in creating spaces that not only look high-end, but also enrich the lives of those who inhabit them. My approach is client-centric, emphasizing the importance of understanding the unique desires and needs of each homeowner. It isn’t just about the aesthetics; it’s about enhancing their quality of life.

In your opinion, what sets apart a standard space vs. a luxury one?

While I don’t love the word “luxury,” I think that any person of means can have nice things. Luxury for me is not about stuff, it’s about how things function and flow together. It’s about the time it can give back to you. As designers, if we can be thoughtful about the space and how it functions, then that will give back to the home. Simple ways like making sure a space is comfortable for 2 people…. or 18!

Luxury is about having space to do it all.

As an experienced designer, what trends to you see emerging in the high-end home industry?

For me, it’s not just about luxury, it’s about convenience and the details that elevate everyday living. After attending shows all throughout the year, I am seeing three huge trends to keep an eye out for.

• Convenience & Wellness: Right now, there is a huge growth in the importance of convenience in modern interior design. I really applaud innovators like Zip Water, where the touch of a button provides instant hot, cold, or sparkling water. This not only simplifies daily tasks, but also aligns with the pursuit of wellness and a more efficient lifestyle.

• Outdoor Kitchens: For those who love the great outdoors, investing in outdoor kitchens is a trend worth considering. There have been some extraordinary developes in the outdoor space, but for me it’s as simple as just having a fridge to keep beverages cold. Little details enhance the experience.

• Lighting Matters: I really believe lighting is an area where homeowners should invest wisely. The choice of lighting can transform the mood and ambiance of a space, whether that be a new window with natural light or considering the color and dimming capabilities to create the perfect atmosphere.

True luxury lies at the intersection of convenience, wellness, and impeccable attention to detail.

How do you anticipate technology shaping the future of high-end home interiors, and how do you integrate technological innovations into your designs?

Technology has a transformative role in interiors. From enhancing the accessibility of controlling light to privacy, technology offers unprecedented convenience. Not only are homes more aesthetically pleasing, but now they can also be functionally advanced. So really, I would say technology is always incorporated into the design and that of course, is all based on what the client wants and needs.

In your opinion, how important is sustainable and eco-friendly design in the high-end home market?

Sustainable design is one of the most vital considerations in the interior market. A well designed home should not come at the expense of the environment, and it’s crucial for me to incorporate eco-friendly principles into my work. For me, that looks like incorporating sustainable materials and practices that aren’t only beautiful, but also environmentally responsible.

What advice would you give to homeowners looking to elevate their interiors without compromising on comfort and functionality?

Fix the envelope of the space to ensure that it’s not only beautiful, but functional as well. I am a huge advocate for investing in quality pieces that can stand the test of time and transition to future homes that become cherished heirlooms. Focusing on the structural and architectural aspects of a home are critical before you even dive into the interiors.

Finally, what is next for you?!

Just as the industry continues to evolve, funny enough, so do my plans. On October 1st, I will step into the role of ASID National Chair and will be working to share how design profoundly impacts lives.

And, I also do have some travel plans! Traveling serves as a big inspiration for me. When exploring new places, I am drawn to the intricate details that I find along the way. For example, on my own office building just one block away, the art deco details on the outside have drawn me to recreate them with similar texture and visual interest into one client’s design. You can truly find inspiration anywhere you look.


John’s client-centric approach and unwavering commitment to excellence continue to set the standard for high-end home interiors, leaving homeowners with spaces that are nothing short of extraordinary.

Alex Diethelm

Written by

Alex Diethelm

Marketing and Business Development Manager

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Alex Diethelm

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