A Serene Chicago Penthouse Made For Summer Embraces The Outdoors

Details

Living room with large, colorful...

Artwork by Zhuang Hong-yi sourced through LKM Art Consulting and an eye-catching coffee table by Bradley USA take the lead in this light-filled West Loop penthouse.

On a wall with a...

A chevron-patterned faux-wood wallcovering by Maya Romanoff distinguishes the cozy, cocoon-like family room, where the designers created a visually stimulating way to display the husband’s collection of miniature liquor bottles. The Theodore Alexander bench is from deAurora.

The corner of a living...

Throw pillows atop a Baker sofa and an ottoman by Eric Kuster from Atelier Gary Lee add vibrant touches of pattern and color to the bright and airy living room. The rug is from Watson Smith.

A dining room with linear...

The designers wanted the dining area to make an impact without disrupting the views. To that end, they paired a chandelier by PureEdge Lighting from Lightology with a Lema table from Haute Living and Bright Chair Company channel-tufted chairs.

Urban patio with blue sectional,...

Crafted in collaboration with landscape designer Gwyneth Owen-Webber, the expansive terrace includes a custom ipe wood outdoor kitchen with concrete countertops and Janus et Cie barstools. The adjacent conversation zone is anchored by a Gloster sectional.

A bedroom in shades of...

Flanked by Randolph & Hein nightstands from deAurora, a linear headboard and bed by Eurocraft juxtaposes a custom de Gournay mural in the main bedroom. A rug from Oscar Isberian Rugs and bench upholstered in a striped Castel fabric add to the cozy vibe.

A foyer with an abstract...

A painterly Phillip Jeffries wallcovering creates a striking moment in the front foyer. Sconces by The Urban Electric Co. and a Made Goods mirror hang over a console by Baker.

Room with a green velvet...

Accented by a ceiling painted Benjamin Moore’s Groundhog Day and a complementary rug from Blu Dot, a graphic foil wallpaper by Erica Wakerly adds sparkle to the wife’s office. The Urban Craft Custom Upholstery-fabricated sofa is covered in a Holland & Sherry fabric.

Nursery with a crib, jungle-themed...

When the owners found out they were expecting, the designers created a gender-neutral nursery for the new arrival. The Lulu and Georgia wallpaper, Serena & Lily light fixture and ottoman, and giraffe basket from Pottery Barn Kids make for a whimsical setting.

Chicago summers are ruefully short, but to locals that just means enjoying every bit of sunshine to the fullest while you have the opportunity. Which is why a pair of newlyweds made outdoor space a top priority as they hunted for a home of their own. The search was not a short one—over the course of several years, the couple considered a range of options from urban condos to sprawling suburban abodes. But it was the realistic renderings for a two-story West Loop penthouse with a terrace the size of a small apartment that finally won them over.

As a bonus, because the tower—designed by renowned local architecture firm Booth Hansen—was still in the planning stages, the couple had the opportunity to weigh in on the final design. Thrilled with the upscale, masculine ambience that designers Tom Riker and James Dolenc created in the husband’s former bachelor pad, the homeowners asked the duo to work their magic once again. “The original design of this residence was more industrial, and we wanted something warmer and smoother,” the wife says. Riker, Dolenc and designer Lauren Craig aimed to do that and then some. What was intended to be an enclosed staircase, for example, is now a sculptural focal point with a handcrafted wooden railing and linear metal balusters. Suspended from the soaring ceiling, a contemporary multipendant crystal chandelier “plays up the drama,” Riker says. With the help of kitchen design company Snaidero USA, the cooking area was similarly elevated with sleek walnut cabinetry and white stone.

The result is like no other unit in the building, which becomes apparent immediately upon entry. An ethereal, painterly wallcovering with soft blue, charcoal and neutral tones defines the front foyer. “There’s not much of a view from there, so we wanted to create a little moment when you come in,” Riker says, pointing to how the curves in the console table and mirror play off one another.

Acquired with the help of art consultant Lynn Manilow, the couple’s sophisticated, often vibrant, art collection plays a large role in the interiors. Echoed by upholstered poufs and throw pillows, a colorful abstract by Zhuang Hong-yi enlivens the light walls and neutral tailored sofas in the bright and open living room. In addition to packing a visual punch, the artist is from the wife’s birthplace in China’s Sichuan province, providing an innate connection.

The multicolored grid-like paintings by Martina Nehrling in the husband’s office also have personal meaning, reminding him of his college years as a Rubik’s Cube champion—he could reliably solve the perplexing puzzle in under 20 seconds. Fittingly, the couple spotted a Rubik’s Cube in the artist’s studio during a tour Manilow coordinated. 

For the wife, who grew up in San Francisco, knowing that artist Crystal Liu’s work was inspired by the city’s ubiquitous fog enhances her enjoyment of the abstract over the sofa in her office. The softness of the piece plays upon reflections from a graphic foil wallcovering—a dazzling backdrop for a sophisticated palette of pale pinks and complementary greens. “She wanted her office to feel kind of gutsy,” Riker says of the wife. “We love when clients embrace color and have some fun with fabrics and furniture pieces.”

Not every room merited such a dramatic approach. Proving that neutral hues can be just as impactful, the family room’s faux-wood chevron-patterned walls set the tone for an inviting space filled with plush furnishings covered in cozy textures, such as bouclé and linen. “It’s sort of a modern take on a wood-paneled room,” Riker explains. The result is a homey, intimate space ideal for dark winter days. 

On the other hand, the light-filled main living areas are the place to be during those much-longed-for days of summer—especially when the wall of doors to the terrace is open, creating a sprawling indoor-outdoor great room. Inspired by an English garden, landscape designer Gwyneth Owen-Webber engaged a plant mix that includes annuals, perennials and roses surrounding a center area with zones for living, dining and conversation. “My garden dreams came true,” the wife says. 

In fact, that can be said of the entire home. “The final result is way better than I could have imagined,” the wife continues. “Everywhere I look, I feel at peace.” 

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