A Contemporary Chicago Townhouse with Refined Aesthetic


When a couple with three young daughters bought a spacious Chicago town house, they had to look beyond the dated interior to imagine its potential. The home’s dark wood made it appear closed-in, and its fixtures and finishes recalled the early 1990s. On the upside, the couple knew just whom to turn to for help—designer Kim Scodro. The wife had seen Scodro’s work and felt that the designer’s style and tone were exactly what she and her husband had in mind. And so they quickly hired her to transform their new digs. “The owners had a specific feel they wanted for their home,” the designer says. “We just needed to spend time translating those visions into actual goals.”

Though the couple had been living in a traditional home, they desired a more modern vibe this time around—still classic, but fresh and clean. The design had to be warm and inviting, and kid-friendly for their three girls. “They’re very hands-on parents and spend almost every moment that they can with their beautiful children,” Scodro says. “Nothing could be too precious, and they didn’t want spaces to appear cluttered.”

Yet the town house needed more than just a minor facelift, and so floors were refinished, railings reinstalled, and moldings added. Upstairs, walls were opened up to join the bedroom and a sitting area to create one large free-flowing master suite. “Without getting down to the bare studs, it was about as big a remodel as you could do in a city space,” Scodro says. The team was busily at work with renovations, which took several months to complete, and while the family was on vacation, Scodro would snap pictures of the finished rooms to solicit feedback.

To create a sense of serenity, the designer chose a soft neutral palette, being careful to steer clear of green, which the couple had grown tired of, having overdosed on the color in their previous home. When selecting furnishings, Scodro abided by one important
rule. “Each piece had to have something of interest to it,” she says. For example, the upholstered dining room chairs feature elegant curvilinear frames, while striped drapery fabric lends a graphic pop and neutral-hued rugs bring in rich texture.

Along with these elements, designer Jaclyn E. Wike was brought in to create the new kitchen and bathrooms, which were completely renovated with the help of Robert Roloson of Door 13 Architects.  The bright and airy kitchen, with its white cabinetry and light marble countertops, contrasts nicely against deep walnut floors, creating maximum impact. Marble was used in the bathrooms as well, where Wike added stylish cabinetry and fixtures to create sophisticated moments that coincide with Scodro’s overall aesthetic.

“The home had great traditional bones, and we wanted to bring those details into the kitchen and bathrooms,” says Wike, who has since launched her own firm, Studio Swann. “Each space came together beautifully. We were able to restore the traditional elegance to the home while making it functional and enjoyable to live in for the family.”

In addition, the husband got his own space—but the room needed to visually tie into the rest of the home. Thus, a cozy yet masculine den was born. “That’s his area to hang out in and watch television,” Scodro says. “Comfort was very important, and the fabrics needed
to be durable so they would hold up.”

Fortunately, everything was completed before the family returned home from vacation, with Scodro and her team putting the final touches on the rooms on the day of their arrival. “We put candies in the bowls, and we had gifts for the kids,” she says. “When they walked in, the wife said, ‘I just can’t believe that I get to live here. How much better can it possibly get?’”