Historic Grey Stone


This project was a complete gut renovation to a 110-year landmarked grey stone in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago. The existing building was transformed from a 4-unit condo building to a single family residence. The challenge was incorporating all of the Clients program requirements into a rather narrow floor plan.

Every inch had to be carefully planned and taken advantage of to keep the interior feeling spacious and comfortable. The Client wanted the first level to be a space for entertaining guests. Keeping entertaining in mind the family room has a Nanawall that opens up to the outdoor deck and patio which brings the outside in. In order to keep the plan feeling open and spacious the furniture pieces were carefully sized to maximize circulation paths. For example, the living room the sofas were kept relatively compact so there is plenty of breathing space during parties. In contrast, the most used piece of furniture the family room sofa, was specified to a deep 44” for a casual lounge feel.

The main color white was used to make the home feel as open as possible. The home floor plate is narrow but the Client did not want to feel like they were living in a narrow home. White colored walls, ceilings and furniture with light colored fabrics helped solved this problem. The residence also had to be practical for their growing family. This is no small feat using a lot of white walls and light colored furniture fabrics. To combat this all of the walls were specified with Benjamin Moore Aura so they are easy to clean and all of the furniture fabrics including rugs were stain resistant treated. Rooms that had the highest traffic such as the kitchen utilized durable quartzite counters and rustic wood furniture which would age well over time and not look beat up after heavy usage. The family room utilized a hospitality grade solution dyed dark oriental area rug to withstand heavy foot traffic in the room and for when guests are traveling inside and outside from the patio. The dark colors, busy pattern and rug construction is well suited for a high traffic zone.

Integrated technology into the home was also important. The kitchen has a built in gadget charging drawer in the pantry cabinet and the kitchen island, bedroom and all bathrooms have hi-speed USB charging ports built into the duplex receptacles. Technology is for most part hidden from review despite the iPad remote controls and ceiling speakers.

The stairway was the focal point of the home so we used a 3 story tall Bocci pendant light that dances with you as walk up or down the stairs. The pendant canopy was detailed with stepped ceiling trim to help make it look more integrated with the ceiling and to provide an additional layer of interest. While almost the entire home is traditionally appointed there are a few rooms that have a modern feel to change things up. The basement bathroom (Photo not shown) and guest bathroom were designed to look sleek and modern. The Client wanted to have some hints of modern design in their place and the bathroom were the perfect place to introduce a different design style.

The second floor has the kid’s and guest bedrooms. Privacy and function was very important for the kid’s bedroom suite. A Jack and Jill bathroom was utilized to maximize efficiency and space. Sliding doors for the bathroom were utilized to help conserve space and each door is lockable so the kid’s can have privacy when needed. The lockable kid’s toilet room was kept as a separate enclosed room for additional privacy.

The master bedroom suite had to be a grand and luxurious space. The steepled ceiling allowed for a large crystal chandelier to be hung. The Clients are avid readers so we selected a comfortable upholstered headboard to make reading in bed a comfortable experience. Storage was also a key item on the list so a built-in bench with a concealed lift-up compartment was provided at the bay window.  The master bathroom had to be open and airy so white marbles were used in conjunction with a refreshing gray wall paint. Most of the light in the bathroom is provided by the 2 large skylights, one over the vanity and one in the shower.

The study on the third floor was to break away from the white finishes through-out. The room has a masculine and discreet feel that uses darker finishes. There is an outdoor terrace connected to the study and the room has a wet bar. A walnut floor in herringbone pattern is installed along with distressed wood furniture and leather sofas. Grass cloth wallcovering was used to add texture to the walls in addition to keep the room acoustically quiet. The bar area had to be both beautiful and functional. The under-counter refrigerator is concealed from view behind a overlay panel and because the room is also a working office there is a concealed pull-out printer compartment. In regards to the stone top, the Client liked the bar top and splash so much they did not want to have visible receptacle plates. Our solution was to install a black continuous plug mold recessed into the underside of the wall cabinet. The TV cabinet was designed to maximize storage. The 3 panels underneath the TV and the ends of the cabinet are actually concealed storage compartments.