This Perfectly Proportioned Chicago Home Stops People In Their Tracks


Four Story Home Double Takes

First impressions are everything, and this custom-built four-story home in Lakeview is certainly accustomed to double takes. The structure, built by brothers and general contractors Bob Mangan and John Mangan, features a creamy façade of reclaimed brick—40,000 pieces to be precise—sourced from a circa-1900s Chicago factory. “The salvaged bricks give it more of that tumbled, vintage look the wife was seeking,” Bob Mangan says of the exterior, which the wife suggested be dressed in paint. 

Conjuring Up a Light Palette with Chandelier

Interior designer Georgeann Rivas conjured up a light palette for the family room, which opens into the kitchen. Understated pieces such as a generous custom sofa in sandy linen from Quatrine, a wingback chair from Crate & Barrel and an RH coffee table provide the laid-back vibe the owners sought.

Merging the historical and present-day, Rivas, in concert with the wife, set the mood with lush throwback details (think Persian coffee tables, period lighting and an antique bar cart), hushed lighting and vintage furnishings that balance masculine traces—clean lines, smart fabrics and understated essentials. 

Breakfast Nook Trio of Gray Plaid Upholstered Chairs

In the breakfast nook, a trio of antique chairs upholstered in a gingham Robert Allen fabric provides chic seating around a table created by Leo Designs. The custom banquette was crafted by Jean Stoffer Design and features buttery neutral leather from Holly Hunt.

The owners’ must-haves for their new home included various outdoor living areas and a bunkroom in the finished basement for the kids’ sleepover parties. But at the top of their list was a generous kitchen and family room area. With the open floor plan, Rivas created a seamless transition from one room to the next, ensuring neither space competed with the other. 

Past Perfect

Melding eras and moods, a Chicago home exudes a casual elegance that will never go out of style.

The wife’s design eye stems from a variety of aesthetic loves: Paris, Nantucket, 1920s glamour, candlelight, antiques, music and vintage lighting. Her father had served as vice president of a clothing store on the East Coast, and childhood adventures accompanying him on buying trips to Ralph Lauren in New York left an indelible mark. “I think probably looking at all the suit fabrics made me who I am,” she says. “I love tailored clothing and anything that looks like a men’s suit.”

Kitchen that Blends Chic Vintage and the 21st Century

The kitchen is a blend of chic vintage influences and 21st-century amenities. Custom cabinetry by Jean Stoffer Design showcases hardware from Chicago Brass. Light fixtures from Remains Lighting hang above the Calacatta Gold marble-topped kitchen island.

A wall of custom cabinetry embellished with cremone bolts marries utility and decoration. “My favorite thing about that wall is the restoration glass,” Rivas says. “It’s so indicative of what I think the wife’s style is—something that has a lot of beauty but also has some history.” The kitchen’s palette was inspired by Gwyneth Paltrow’s gray kitchen. 

Passion for Vintage Pieces in the Dining Room

The wife’s passion for vintage pieces shines in the dining room with a brass bar cart from The Savoy Flea and an antique Belgian sideboard discovered at Griffins & Gargoyles. The Michele chandelier by Suzanne Kasler, purchased through Circa Lighting, brings texture and drama.

The client calls Rivas “a master of color,” citing the designer’s shade selections for the dining room—a gray that flirts with pink.

Antique Parisian Daybed Featured in the Living Room with Fireplace

An antique Parisian daybed sourced at Jayson Home takes the place of a traditional sofa in the living room. Two wingbacks purchased at The Painted Lady encircle a small vintage stool reupholstered in Strauss cloth by Fabricut. The lamps are vintage, and an Oushak rug, also from Jayson Home, completes the scene.

The interiors blend old and new: Decorative moldings allude to a bygone era, while custom-stained 4-inch-wide red-oak floors keep the tempo current. The two women were in sync, narrating their design journey with mixed metals, textures and unexpected moments, such as a French-inspired daybed for the living room instead of a traditional sofa. 

Casual Outdoor Gathering Spot with Stone Fireplace

One of three outdoor living areas, this space captures the homeowners’ desire for a casual gathering spot. Mangan Builders installed the outdoor wood-burning fireplace; the Adirondack chairs are from The Painted Lady.

Hydrangeas and white Nonstop begonias star in the refined landscape design conjured by Marguerite Gluck, noted gardener and proprietress of botanical boutique
Marguerite Gardens, which has two Chicago locations. “Her style is romantic but original, and she prefers softer colors,” Gluck says of the wife. “We would lay out the garden with everything still in the grow pots, step back and edit and repeat until it looked pleasing to her. Then, everything went into the soil. It was fun working together because we have the same aesthetic.” 

Neutral Painted Brick Exterior with Lush Vegetation

The home’s painted-brick exterior provides the perfect backdrop for a series of potted hydrangeas from Marguerite Gardens and a bicycle waiting to be hopped upon. Mangan Builders installed the porcelain pavers from Lake Street Landscape Supply.

Traditionally Designed White Bathroom with Sophisticated Details and Finishes

The husband’s taste for traditional design reigns in the master bathroom, which features sophisticated details and finishes. The bathtub from Ferguson luxuriates in fixtures by Waterworks and is accented with herringbone pattern floor tiles purchased at Home Carpet One.

Soft Light Blue Master Bedroom with Blue Pillow Touches

A bed by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams holds court in the master bedroom. Seeking serenity here, Rivas washed the walls in Benjamin Moore’s Sleigh Bells. The calming tone is balanced by creamy antique nightstands and a bench from Ashley & Sloane.

Outdoor Patio with Firepit and Whale

Just off the kitchen and family room area, an outdoor patio offers effortless alfresco dining. The RH fire pit table takes center stage, with a comfortable sectional from Pottery Barn providing room for plenty.

Nearby, the family room exudes a carefree beachside mood with textured accents and an enveloping ecru sofa. French doors open to the exterior, where the husband’s urbane influence is captured on the multilevel patio areas—with places for grilling and hosting impromptu get-togethers—through chic porcelain pavers and an elegant pergola. The decorative structure frames an outdoor dining area situated above the garage, which the Mangans cleverly designed around a maple tree that could provide a canopy of privacy. 

First impressions are everything, and this custom-built four-story family home in Lakeview is certainly accustomed to double takes—with strangers often approaching the owners, gushing about the curb appeal. “I’ve had other clients show me a picture of this house, not knowing that I was involved in the project, and tell me it’s their favorite exterior in Chicago,” says interior designer Georgeann Rivas, who collaborated on the project with business partner Stephanie Wirth.

The structure, built by brothers and general contractors Bob Mangan and John Mangan, features a creamy façade of reclaimed brick–40,000 pieces to be precise–sources from a circa-1900s Chicago factory. "The salvaged bricks give it more of that tumbled, vintage look the wife was seeking," Bob Mangan says of the exterior, which the wife suggested be dressed in paint. 

Fashioning a newly constructed home with century-old materials was not paradoxical caprice. Rather, it was the carefully calibrated work of a creative team passionately fulfilling the wishes of a couple whose interior design tastes vary: his favoring the current and up-to-date; hers romanced by the patina and styles of the past. Rivas accepted the challenge of creating a home that encompasses both interests. “As a designer, my role is to take what my clients’ influences are and elevate them,” she says. 

From the first meeting, Rivas knew she had found an ideal collaborator in the wife and mother of three. “She has such cool style that I remember questioning if she even needed an interior designer,” Rivas recalls. Rivas translated that vibe via flannel stripes adorning the entry, a herringbone wall treatment in the lower-level bathroom and a wall upholstered in a dashing plaid in the butler’s pantry.

In the end, “this house morphed into something different than I had imagined,” the wife muses. “Originally, I was thinking more beach house and a little more modern, but it went sophisticated. Once you start with one little idea, it’s amazing how it just plays out. 

Arianne Nardo