A Historic Chicago Home Gets Some Love & A New Life


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While honoring the past, a design team facelifts an early 20th-century Kenwood residence.

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This stately 1907 red brick Georgian in Kenwood features many original classical elements typical of architect Howard Van Doren Shaw's style, including the limestone swag and urn above the arched doorway, fruit medallion details and large dentil moldings.

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Hope's bronzed-steel French doors and windows lend a bold graphic element to the family room. The linen sofa is from RH, the custom Rene waterfall coffee table in faux shagreen is from Julian Chichester, and the handwoven indigo Pakistan rug is from Oscar Isberian Rugs.

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A walnut island topped with a Calacatta marble grounds the kitchen. Parenti and Raffaelli did the custom millwork, which includes a walnut-paneled Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezers that flank the Wolf range. On the floor, Nublado marble is laid in a chevron pattern.

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A 22-foot-long bookcase highlights some of the walnut millwork in the living room, where a modern black-and-white painting leans against the mantel wall. Sofas from Primitive upholstered in mohair velvet are topped with pillows from Donghia.

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>An original heavily oxidized mirror adds a moody character to the study. Matching deep-seated velvet George V chairs with nailhead trim from Holly Hunt anchor the space by the fireplace. The Orsay hand-painted porcelain garden stool from Jayson Home adds texture with ribbing and raised dots.

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The stair railing features a striking motif that speaks to the architect's Arts and Crafts influences. The wrought iron, which had been painted gold, was carefully stripped and clear-coated.

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Chai Ming Studios' Avalon bed and Lenox nightstand in cerused walnut, both from Gary Lee Studios, lend a modern, serene look to the master bedroom. Bedding is by Muse Bespoke; the bedside light is Porta Romana's mouth-blown Lava lamp in Honey. The husband picked up the vintage Asian folding screen displayed over the bed at auction.

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An existing clawfoot tub inspired the design of the children's bathroom on the third floor. The wife fell in love with the penny tile from Waterworks and sourced the Brockway trough sink by Kohler.

transitional master bedroom vanity

Used as a vanity in the master suite, the Diana desk by Thomas Pheasant for Baker features a ribbed bronze band and carved Greek key detail. The companion chair has arms that tuck beneath. A Picasso print hangs above.

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New stone stairs and iron railings were installed to accommodate the larger back entry, where the bluestone-and-limestone terrace is laid out as a playful chessboard.

Stately old homes can be intimidating to modern families. But Paul and Mariana Ingersoll embraced the challenge of restoring one in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood, while updating and keeping the extraordinary details that distinguish its 1907 architecture.

They teamed up with Gary Lee Partners and builder Power Construction to buff, tweak, add mechanical and structural reinforcements and create a spectacular remodeled kitchen and family room that blend seamlessly.

A massive expanse of glass in striking gridded doors and windows overlooking the terrace and garden is strikingly graphic as it fills the space with light. (Paul jokes that you need sunglasses on a bright day.) A creamy Nublado marble is laid in a chevron pattern on the floor. “The space feels modern and new,” says designer Donna Corbat.

Walnut is teamed with painted white cabinets for balance. “The wood is evocative of the paneling in the more formal areas,” says Paul.

But for the Ingersolls, the ability to restore an old home was among the most meaningful parts of the project. After all, Paul’s family has roots in the area. When Paul’s grandfather arrived in Chicago around 1900, he tapped architect Howard VanDoren Shaw to build a home in Hyde Park.

Now, as Mariana says, history buff Paul is “a good steward” of a historic home that his own family — including three teenage sons and a 100-pound German shepherd — enjoy.