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.