“They were in the process of designing a store in Lakeshore East, and things just weren’t coming together the way Bob wanted,” recalls Klug. “So Nina suggested that Bob pull me in.” What started as a single consulting project turned into six years of Klug collaborating with the Mariano’s design and construction team as the grocery store chain has expanded throughout the Chicagoland area. Their newest store opened in October in Bannockburn.
“Bob really brought me in to give his stores a new design direction,” Klug says. “My goal was to change the personality of grocery shopping.” Klug introduced his husband, Craig Bergmann, to the Mariano’s team when Bob wanted to add an atrium to his floor plan as well as a little flair to the exterior landscape. “Craig approaches projects differently than any other landscape architect I know,” Klug explains. “He layers and accessorizes gardens the way I do interior spaces.”
The admiration goes both ways. “Paul and I complement each other so well when we work together because we’re not in competition,” Bergmann says. “We’re each design professionals in our own rights, and it makes for really creative thought. We trust each other’s opinions, and we’re not going to steer each other wrong.” In addition to collaborating on the Mariano’s projects, Klug and Bergmann are in the process of completely renovating their 100-year-old Georgian Revival country estate once owned by Elsa and A. Watson Armour in Lake Forest that was designed, built and expanded by David Adler.
“There is no better example of how we leverage our professional strengths than the work we’ve done together restoring our home,” adds Bergmann. “With Paul’s inspiration, we’ve created several beautiful ‘rooms’ in our gardens. It’s been a very rewarding labor of love.”