Name: Anne, a writer (most recently of the novel Love Like A Dog) and professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Leo, a creative director
Location: South Loop, Prairie District; Chicago, Illinois
Size: 3,000 square feet
Years lived in: 10 months; Owned
When my former professor and dear friend Anne and her
husband Leo decided to move their family, including their teenage son and two dogs, from a 1950s-style home on Chicago's Far North side (complete with
basement rumpus room featuring built-in back-lit framed woodland scenes and a
wet bar) to an industrial loft in a former South Loop engraving factory, I
wondered how their style would translate across such drastically different
spots. The alluring effect is a testament to Anne and Leo’s taste and years of careful collecting, as well as their spirit of taking chances on places and objects that truly captivate them.
The layout of this new-yet-old home works like a puzzle. In the L-shaped floor plan, the master bedroom, closet, bath area and television nook branch off
from the main body of the home, including the kitchen, living room, and
home office, while the second bedroom with private bath is tucked away just off
the living room. Unexpected amenities and quirks keep the design fluid and functional, while still aesthetically intriguing and protective of its original bones. Some favorite details: the tiny floodlights built into the heated
floors, the compact chef’s kitchen with clever built-in storage bins and knife
block, and the open hallways and crafty movable metallic walls that hide more closet
areas and even create a shower near the powder room.
I love how the old loading
dock of the warehouse becomes a piece of furniture in the
space, and how its solid industrial mass plays off the delicate ornamentation of the antique Chinese marriage bed. With
the apartment’s modern amenities and turn-of-the-century industrial frame, Anne
and Leo’s charming and worldly style fits right in.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: A combination of
antique, found and modern elements, and as much world art as we can bring
home from travels.
Inspiration: Various homes of
loved mentors in my (Anne’s) past who were always eclectic and personal. Their homes were theirs, unlike any others, their aim not
perfection but, instead, to be dependably inviting. Their homes told the
stories of their journeys and choices. And Dwell magazine!
Favorite Element: The eastern
morning light, and the vaulted ceilings.
Biggest Challenge: Balancing the
need for a private work space (for Anne, the writer) with a completely open
layout, having downsized from a house with four bedrooms, with doors that
could shut one away.
What Friends Say: They say the
loft/condo looks like it should be in a magazine!
Biggest Embarrassment: Our two big dogs
who discovered that having a radiant heat floor makes having “accidents” quite
pleasurable for them. And, for us, discovering what it is to clean up cooked
Proudest DIY: The arrangement
of found nests in the entryway; a small homage to Joseph Cornell, who found so
much and made the finds into magical boxes.
Biggest Indulgence: The antique
Chinese marriage bed, shipped from China, and assembled by Leo (it is held
together without one nail, all dovetail joints and press-fit fastening). Leo
calls it the bed that ate the living room.
Best Advice: Don’t overcrowd the
condo. Give it its space and air.
Dream Sources: Dwell,
Restoration Hardware, Lightology, Nadeau, CB2, and Secret Treasures.
Resources of Note:
PAINT & COLORS
Custom colors: Blue Moon, Nickel, & White
• Nests: found
• Gathering of a dozen hanging lights: Lightology? (came with the apartment)
• Prairie stained glass window panel: Secret Treasures
• Antlers: from Wyoming
• Welcome/Goodbye mat: Target
• Red leather armchairs:
• Railroad tie bench with
steel base: Nadeau
• Indonesian display case:
• Lighting by Lightology
• Funky marble top end
table, Asian white marble end table, various Buddhas and Guangin statue, old
clothes wringer: Secret Treasures
• Red Chinese Marriage bed,
circa 1870-90: Ebay, “Chinese Antiques”
• Tang Dynasty Lady (7th century +) & Han Dynasty (200 BC +) rider: Dragon Culture in Hong Kong
• 19th century papier-mache Deposition of Christ: Flea market in Florence, Italy
• Reclining Buddha:
• Walnut dining table and chairs purchased from loft's previous
• Large painting by
• Pillows on facing
stairway: Ikea and CB2
• Sub-Zero, Miele and Bosch appliances
• Small marble plank: CB2
• Bed: Ikea (Sultan
• Upright oak desk with stained glass front: Secret Treasures
• Burled walnut armoire: Father Time Antiques
• Overhead lamp and sconces: Fortuny in Venice, Italy
• Low bench-burea: Nadeau
• Rugs: Embelazar (no
long in Chicago, moved to Milwaukee) and Minasian
• Art: from Spain,
• Everything came with the loft purchase
• Towels: Target
• All furniture from Ikea (Hopen design), except desk,
refinished by Leo
• TV stand bought second-hand
• Desk: Leo’s
• 1920s black laquerware screen: Lofty Aspirations
• Multi drawer filing cabinet: garage sale
• Bookcases: Ikea (Billy Balbo style with glass panels)
• End table: handmade by master carpenter Carolyn Kelly of South Bend, Indiana
• Futon-couch: Ikea
• Afghan rug: Embelazar
• Art from
Rome, Italy; Massawa, Eritrea; Cape Town, South Africa; second-hand stores, and our children
• Art by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago students and others
Thanks, Anne and Leo!
(Images: Alexis Buryk)
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