A Lincoln Park Greystone With a French Aesthetic

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Planning only a brief stay in their first town house together, a Chicago couple had never thought about investing in quality furnishings for their home. That is until eight years later, when they found a place they could truly envision settling into: a newly constructed greystone in the city’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. “This home was so different,” the wife says. “It was a little more traditional than what we were looking for, but it had a gorgeous spiral staircase and we really liked all the space.” The home, which would accommodate the couple and their young son as well as the husband’s three grown daughters and extended family that often visit, was perfect for entertaining. “Our families come to us for the holidays,” the wife adds. “We like to host special events like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and birthday parties.”

Wanting to start fresh in their new digs, the couple sold nearly all of their temporary town house furniture. Then, the duo hired designer Jillian O’Neill to craft the greystone’s interiors. “We had never worked with a designer before,” says the wife. “But we were drawn to Jillian’s simple yet elegant style.” And that’s precisely the look O’Neill helped them create. “They’re busy professionals, so they wanted a place that was calm and soothing,” the designer says. “We went for Parisian elegance—architecture that has a feel of rich history paired with refined furnishings. I’ve always liked that juxtaposition.”

In the main living spaces, the couple kept the palette neutral. “Everything works together from room to room,” O’Neill explains. Throughout the home, textured fabrics add interest, and the owners splurged on quality light fixtures. “They’re like jewelry for the home and can really transform a space,” the designer says. “For example, the pendant in the dining room is beaded so it casts lovely shadows on the ceiling. And we wanted to do something bold in the kitchen so we used an oversized fixture by Gregorius|Pineo.” Most furnishings were customized, including the dining table—made in Montreal by furniture designer Scott Richler— that features sculptural metal legs and a marble slab top. “We didn’t want anything that would get beat up over time,” O’Neill explains. “We made the trip to Montreal—which is very French, and goes along with the whole theme—to talk to Scott; the table fits perfectly in the space.”

In addition, the home’s clean interiors nicely showcase the couple’s art collection. “My brother-in-law works at Christie’s and has worked at other auction places, so we’ve had opportunities to cultivate some really beautiful art.” They also commissioned pieces by artist Francine Turk; one hangs above the living room fireplace. “Francine and I are friends,” O’Neill says. “It’s fun when design becomes a personal story.”

To create a natural segue from the home’s interior to the exterior, landscape designer Marguerite Gluck filled the two small spaces that flank the front stoop with green velvet boxwood parterres. “We also put in some full moon maple trees,” Gluck says. “They have chartreuse leaves, pretty branching and unusual bark. There are also hydrangeas, an evergreen bush, a few annuals and groundcover bordered by crushed blue stone.”

It may have taken the homeowners a bit longer than planned to put down more permanent roots, but that’s all forgotten now. “I love walking into our house,” the wife concludes. “I feel at home when I’m here, and miss it when I’m not. We finally have our forever home.”

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