A Redesigned North Shore Abode Filled with Modern Art


Modern Flat Roof Exterior

Expansive walls of windows allow for panoramic views.

Modern Limestone Front Walkway

The limestone wall and flamed Burlington stone walkway extend into the foyer, which transitions to an art gallery just beyond. Landscape architect Rocco V. Fiore placed the sculptures by Robert Holmes—from Bronze Plus Foundry in California—so that they could be seen from certain vantage points inside.

Modern Faceted Limestone Wall with Sculpture

Architects Anna Bugaj and Artur Kaczmarek designed a faceted wall of Indiana limestone so that the sun and shadows would create changing patterns throughout the day. Lighting designer Mitchell B. Kohn lit the foyer wall with recessed fixtures in the floor. A bronze sculpture is the centerpiece.

Contemporary Living Room with Floor-to-Ceiling Windows

Interior designer Daniel Du Bay took an architectural approach with furniture and rug selections. A custom mohair, silk and alpaca rug from Doris Leslie Blau; Christian Liaigre sofas covered in chocolate ribbed wool by Old World Weavers; a square ottoman, also by Christian Liaigre, in Hermès leather; and a Jonas armchair all exude a structural quality in the living room.

Contemporary Black Living Room Niche

Niches were designed in the living room, shown, and the family room for both art display and storage. Kohn designed special lighting for all of the artwork throughout the house. This particular piece is by Andrei Zadorine from Galerie Castiglione in Paris.

Contemporary Cream Living Room with Modern Art

Artwork that the owners had for many years receive a fresh feel and presence with new placement and illumination. Two lively paintings by Patrick Wilson from Ameringer McEnery Yohe in New York hang in the living room. A custom coffee table echoes the home’s architecture.

Modern Brown Kitchen with Stained Walnut Cabinetry

In the kitchen, Du Bay blended multiple finishes. Cabinetry by Junior’s Custom Cabinets, made from espresso-stained Claro walnut, features pulls from Chicago Brass. An acid-washed glass backsplash is from The Tile Gallery and custom frosted-glass light fixtures lining the island are from Beta-Calco in Canada.

Contemporary Cream Breakfast Area with Floor-to-Ceiling Windows

The breakfast area has multiple uses: The larger table accommodates big family dinners; the smaller one is reserved for intimate meals and the wife’s bridge club gatherings. Custom tables conceived by the designer with back-painted, acid-washed glass are surrounded by Janus et Cie chairs covered in a stain-repellent pebble leather by Edelman Leather.

Contemporary Cream Study Seating Area

The husband’s study looks toward the nature preserve out front. A chair by HBF pulls up to a Du Bay-designed custom desk, which rests on a Hokanson carpet. Armchairs in a Larsen textile create a seating area. Fabric by Rogers & Goffigon fashions the draperies and upholsters the walls, while antique African tribal stools and masks punctuate the design.

Contemporary Slivered Slate Wall with Ceremonial Masks

Ceremonial masks decorate the husband’s bathroom wall, which is covered in slivered slate from The Tile Gallery. The vivid scene complements other luxurious finishes in the room, such as fumed eucalyptus wood built-ins by Junior’s Custom Cabinets and limestone floors.

There wasn’t much debate for a North Shore couple about building a new house versus reimagining their 30-year-old home that faces a preserve of designated prairie land. “We have a wonderful piece of property,” says the homeowner, who remembers telling his wife that they could build anew “if she could find something in the area that she liked better, but that was just not possible.” Intent on staying put, the couple decided to rework their existing single-level house, which they commissioned from Marvin Herman—who helmed the original architecture—and interior designer Daniel Du Bay in 1978 when their three children were young. Now, with the kids grown and five young grandchildren who often visit, the wife says, “I wanted a different allocation of space.”

Du Bay, who had orchestrated several updates over the years, was ready when his clients decided to rebuild. “We have a mutual respect for each other,” he says, “so we really were given a lot of free rein.” The new layout combines the home’s original bedroom wing into one master suite with his-and-her offices, extensive new closets and bathrooms for both husband and wife—a grand retreat from the rest of the house. A second floor was also added for visiting children and grandchildren, along with a new kitchen, expanded breakfast room and new family room.

The new design also breathed new life into the owners’ vast art collection. “Their art is very colorful—and very strong,” says Du Bay, noting that he went for rich, dark neutrals in the home’s furnishings to emphasize the art and worked with lighting designer Mitchell B. Kohn to make sure it was properly illuminated. The house itself combines sumptuous materials and finishes that complement their collection. “It was more of a sculpting effort than a construction effort,” builder Mark Fettner says. “We molded the original house to the shape that it is now.”

Architects Anna Bugaj and Artur Kaczmarek then clad the structure in painted cedar, metal panels and Indiana limestone—natural materials that reference the outdoors—while huge walls of windows allow for panoramic views. “One of the aspects of the project was incorporating the design into the surrounding prairie,” Bugaj says. They accomplished this feat with a faceted, hand-cut limestone wall that bisects the home both inside and out. The wall’s texture, Bugaj says, “plays with the light, reflecting sun and shadows,” which creates changing patterns throughout the day. The design is replicated on a massive 4-ton chimney above the fireplace dividing the living and dining areas.

Echoing the architecture, Du Bay infused rich texture into the interiors. “I like to go with very substantial and luxurious finishes and materials,” he says, pointing to the slivered slate in the husband’s bathroom; cabinetry and built-ins crafted from espresso stained Claro walnut in the kitchen; 6-inch-wide fumed white oak plank flooring, which took a month to perfect its pale taupe hue; and custom breakfast area tables made of stainless steel with acid-washed and back-painted glass tops— an effect that visually resembles suede.

Outside, landscape architect Rocco V. Fiore evoked the nearby nature preserve with a tableau of prairie grasses and ornamentals. “We wanted to get that same ambience of open land around the rest of the house,” Fiore says, especially because its windows steer views in every direction. “We tried to place as many native plants as possible to create a distinct palette that would allow for color throughout the property,” he explains.

The owners praise the team for not only creating “a really functional house that accommodates grandchildren,” the wife says, but that also celebrates its natural surroundings and showcases their modern art. “We all had tremendous input; we all listened to one another; we all added; and we all subtracted. I feel very strongly that a team approach brings about the very best result.”