A Classic Lincoln Park Home with Modern, Relaxed Interiors


Modern Neutral Bedroom with Striped Window Seat

This son’s bedroom includes custom cabinetry—designed by Quinn and fabricated by KWI Custom Cabinetry—that creates a window seat flanked by bookcases and a wardrobe; the window seat includes Duralee fabric. A desk and chair, both from Restoration Hardware, sit next to a Pottery Barn bed dressed in Eastern Accents linens.

Modern Neutral Bathroom with Painted Cabinetry

In the master bathroom, painted cabinetry designed by Quinn features Frank Allart & Company knobs from Chicago Brass and a marble countertop from Stone Source. Sconces are by Circa Lighting. Ellis Consulting worked with Quinn on the lighting layout throughout the home.

Modern Neutral Bathroom with Private Bathing Nook

Draperies made of Clarke & Clarke fabric can easily be drawn to create a private bathing nook in the master bathroom. A Devon & Devon tub from Hydrology, with a filler from Waterworks, rests on honed travertine from The Tile Gallery.

Modern Neutral Balcony with Planter Boxes

To establish a strong connection between inside and the outdoors, Quinn designed the house to have multiple points of egress with private balconies on every level. Just outside the third-floor exercise room, a large deck includes planter boxes where the owners plan to grow their own vegetables.

Modern Neutral Office with Custom Shelving

Custom-designed tongue-and-groove cabinetry—conceived by Quinn and fabricated by KWI Custom Cabinetry—offers a casual touch in the office. The homeowners chose a Restoration Hardware table lamp, which rests on a Pottery Barn desk. Fredman Design Group designed the custom Hokanson rug, and the Roman shades were fabricated using Kravet and Duralee textiles.

Modern Neutral Kitchen with Hand-Woven Runner

In the kitchen, a farmhouse sink by Handcrafted Metal—featuring a Jaclo faucet— complements appliances from Grand Appliance and TV as well as Sun Valley Bronze cabinetry hardware from Chicago Brass. Quartzite countertops are from Stone Source and the hand-woven runner is by Surya.

Modern Neutral Kitchen with Butcher-Block Topped Island

Pendants illuminate the kitchen, which includes custom cabinetry and a built-in banquette both designed by Quinn. The island’s wood butcher-block countertop is from John Boos & Co. and counter stools are from Hickory Chair. Fredman Design Group conceived the Woodland Furniture tables, which coordinate with Bausman & Company chairs.

Modern Neutral Library with Dining Table

European white-oak floors from Apex Wood Floors and a coffered ceiling fabricated by KWI Custom Cabinetry define the library. Artwork by Amy Donaldson is located above a custom fireplace surround designed by Quinn and the owners, and fabricated by Atelier Jouvence. A wool carpet from Oscar Isberian Rugs grounds loveseats from Walter E. Smithe and A. Rudin chairs.

Traditional Brick Rear Exterior with Large Pergola

A large pergola fabricated by KWI Custom Cabinetry and installed by Fraser Construction provides shelter for an elevated outdoor entertainment area off the main living areas. A set of stairs leads to a curvilinear stone patio where barbecue equipment by Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet resides.

Modern Neutral Foyer with Travertine Flooring

A pendant from The Urban Electric Co. illuminates the foyer, which includes alder cabinets designed by architect Kathryn Quinn and travertine flooring from The Tile Gallery. Fredman Design Group conceived the ottoman, and handrails were designed by Quinn and installed by Lake Shore Stair Company.

Traditional Brick Exterior with Raised-Panel Alder Doors

Raised-panel alder doors and Loewen windows from Assured Corporation create a beautiful first impression of this Chicago home, which is clad with brick, limestone from Gary Galassi Stone & Steel and zinc supplied by Tuschall Engineering. Landscape designer Peter Kudlata created a more formal aesthetic that coordinates with the home’s rectilinear lines.

Modern Neutral Library with Custom Millwork

The home includes many handcrafted details that impart an old-world feel. The millworker carved the family room’s reclaimed beams and ceiling boards, giving them a hand-hewn look, says general contractor John Rosenwinkel. The wife is especially appreciative of the casual and relaxed aspects of the home; the library is the perfect space to comfortably entertain.

Modern Neutral Family Room with Exposed Brick Wall

An exposed brick wall and a ceiling with reclaimed timbers envelop the family room. G&M Ornamental Iron Work fabricated the wall shelves conceived by Quinn. Designer Barbara Theile and firm chairman Susan Fredman, along with design consultant Rebecca Whitmore, created a comfortable space with a custom sectional and armchair, both by A. Rudin, and a rug from Hokanson. Home automation is from Premiere Systems.

When a rare corner lot in the booming Lincoln Park neighborhood hit the market, the couple living in a town house across the street made an unexpected yet well-considered decision to purchase it. “We’d been living in the town house for 19 years and weren’t really looking to move,” says the husband. But after residing for so long in such a narrow space, the prospect of building a wider, brighter home with more room for the family of five proved to be irresistible. “We began thinking of all the affordances a new home would offer: more natural light, a bigger kitchen, separate rooms for the kids and more space for guests,” says the husband. “Each step in the process became so exciting.”

After interviewing several candidates, the couple commissioned architect Kathryn Quinn to design their new abode. “Kathryn was as equally comfortable with classical architecture as she was with modern expressions and the whole pantheon in-between,” the husband says. “It was important for us to have a design that was not only harmonious to the neighborhood but also a welcome addition.” Since the home is located in a Chicago Landmark District, it needed a style that would complement the significant historical and architectural features of the surrounding houses. The result is a limestone foundation and brick façade with zinc sheet metal cornices and other details, which hark back to a 19th-century Italianate design. “We introduced this idea in the spirit of ornamental metal that started to come into practice with cast-iron columns in the late 1800s within that Italianate style,” Quinn says.

Unlike some of the older, more historic homes, however, the new abode has large windows that flood the interior with sunlight. Multiple openings throughout the wide aligned corridors that house the public rooms allow the light to flow through unobstructed. “It was important to have circulation along the exterior wall, so we could have light-filled hallways and staircases,” says Quinn, noting that the ample landings lend themselves as another kind of interior room that’s inhabited, not just passed through. “Moving along the stairway is a celebration of the outdoors.” Indeed, the large lot afforded Quinn the luxury to incorporate a courtyard with a water feature and winding paths that contrast with the home’s rectilinear lines. “We were trying to create a softer, more family-oriented feeling,” says Wisconsin-based landscape designer Peter Kudlata of the home’s backyard. Additionally, the front of the house is planted with boxwood hedges and specimen trees for seasonal color. “The design in front is a little more formal in response to the home’s clean look,” Kudlata says.

For the interior, Quinn combined such elements as refined wood paneling and steel stairway balustrades with exposed brick and reclaimed-wood ceiling beams found in the family room that evoke a more casual ambience. “There’s an interesting dynamic that happens when you use an outdoor material inside,” Quinn says. “It feels like an outdoor room that’s been enclosed.” Those interior materials have matte finishes, allowing their natural textures and patina to come forth. In addition, custom-designed built-ins are used for storing or seating, creating an ensemble that unites the interior and exterior architectural style and its detailing. In response to the owners’ vision, designer Barbara Theile and firm chairman Susan Fredman, along with Indiana-based design consultant Rebecca Whitmore, worked to achieve a relaxed and welcoming space. For example, the team furnished the family room with a custom sectional and a thick shag rug. That casual theme continues in the library, with a conversation area in front of the fireplace and a rustic dining table. “It’s a huge house, but every space is cozy, warm and comfortable,” Theile says. “Everything is natural and flows into each other.” Says Whitmore: “We really wanted to make the house feel livable while providing elements that kept the integrity of the architectural design.”

The team also selected various colors and finishes throughout. In the kitchen, for instance, traditional perimeter cabinetry is painted in off-white, with the large islands colored in a complementary shade of blue. A beadboard backsplash enhances the old-time aesthetic. “They wanted the kitchen to feel as if it had been there forever,” Theile says. To that end, the home includes many handcrafted details that impart an old-world feel. “The millworker carved the family room’s reclaimed beams and ceiling boards, giving them a hand-hewn look,” says general contractor John Rosenwinkel. “Those elements were unique for our company.” The wife is especially appreciative of the casual and relaxed aspects of the home. “I’ve found myself tearing up just looking at the architecture inside,” she says. “The library is the perfect space to comfortably entertain.”

Because the main floor is half a story up from the ground, built-in wood louvered shutters in the paneled window opening jambs are stacked in sets of two, with only one needing to be closed for complete privacy. Therefore, gatherings and activities inside have more seclusion from the street while providing daylight in the upper half of the windows. “The highest form of luxury for me is privacy, and the second is to have nature surround you,” Quinn says. “We got both, and we were very fortunate to be able to do that in an urban setting.”

Though the owners were unprepared for the number of decisions to be made during the project, they are ecstatic with the fruits of their labor. “We were able to take our time with all the details,” says the husband. “There were a lot of hardships, struggles and challenges, but those often make for richer experiences, and we’re fully enjoying the rewards.”

—Tate Gunnerson