Name: Katie, Vincent & Baby Roman Fuentes
Location: River West; Chicago, Illinois
Size: 1,400 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years
If you ever wanted to know how to live with a newborn baby boy and still have your home exude sophistication and charm, look no further than Katie and Vincent's apartment in the River West neighborhood of Chicago. The high-rise was designed in the International Style and boasts tall windows and 12 foot high ceilings, but it's what the Fuentes family has done with this framework that makes for a truly spectacular home. Their soft palette, their excellent attention to scale, and their balance between uncluttered space and familial artifacts all combine to make this a stylish home.
Katie and Vincent moved to this two-bedroom apartment in the growing neighborhood of River West before the arrival of their first born, Roman, and they designed it for their social lifestyle. The entry, with its high-contrast black and white walls and assortment of interesting family mementos, is perfect for greeting guests. One wall is lined with built-in closets, perfect for hiding away coats, laundry, and knickknacks. As you turn the corner, the light from tall windows in the living room beckons you down a long corridor. On one side was the office, and on the other is the guest bathroom. As you approach the living room, you pass the kitchen on your right before entering a gorgeous open space that contains not just the living area but also the dining area and a work area. It is all perfectly integrated with the kitchen so that hosting parties is a breeze. Sliding glass doors open to reveal a large balcony with amazing western views of the city. Off the living room is the master bedroom, with an impressive master bath.
The apartment was arranged to host parties and for the couple to relax and work from home. The 12' high ceilings, clear of any duct work or sprinklers, give the apartment a clean and sophisticated feel, but also provided one of the biggest challenges: namely, how to avoid having the tall walls dwarf the furniture. Katie and Vincent handled that challenge very thoughtfully using a number of large pieces, including a plush chaise sofa, a grand glass coffee table, an arching office lamp, an enviable swivel lounge chair, and a set of roomy upholstered barstools. The pieces are generously proportioned, but the space still feels open and comfortable.
The colors and materials are soft yet masculine and were chosen to complement the dark wood floors, the warm, neutral kitchen countertops, and the white walls. The furniture shows off dark woods, plush grey fabric, sleek white leather, and — my favorite — lots of glass, particularly the smoked glass in the coffee and side tables. Where there is color, it's smartly appointed: the red leather in the office chair, the green in the plants and artwork, the gold accents and hexagonal mirrors, the lilac duvet, and the orange outdoor stool. These colors all have a little grey in them so they coordinate beautifully with the surrounding architecture and with each other.
When the new baby arrived, however, Katie and Vincent decided they didn't want to uproot their way of life or lose their modern style and taste. They innovated a number of clever design solutions that would help to create a calm, comfortable place for the baby without sacrificing the artistry of their home. What was once the office was easily converted into the baby's room. A built-in closet hides toys and clothes, while a shelf across from the crib displays beautiful mementos and sentimental objects. What was once a large office credenza in dark walnut was repurposed into a high changing table, with large amounts of storage underneath. The front entryway contains a washer/dryer unit in the built-in closet, and shelves and baskets were installed to hide as much as possible. With so much smart organization built into the space, the living area simply needed to be slightly re-arranged to allow for a desk.
Katie and Vincent still host lots of parties, and baby Roman enjoys the company just as much as his parents do. He is learning that you don't have to sacrifice style and a social way of life when there's a new addition to the family. With a little bit of planning and an eye for elegant modern design, the Fuentes family has shown what a beautiful home full of personality and style can look like!
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Luxe Modern
Inspiration: Fashion, Wildlife, the 1920s glamour
Favorite Element: I love the stunning city views during the day and mesmerizing sunsets in the evening. The massive windows provide an abundance of daylight. I’m also a big furniture nerd so I’m fond of my constantly growing collection.
Vincent likes the high ceilings which give the space a light, calming ambiance.
Biggest Challenge: Transforming our office to a nursery.
What Friends Say: Our friends frequently comment on the location. We’re only about five minutes from downtown, yet our building is tucked away on a calm, quiet block. We are surrounded by a few historic factory buildings from early 1900s that have since been converted to lofts and office space. It gives the neighborhood character.
Proudest DIY: I had difficulty finding artwork that I liked for the nursery so I decided to make it myself. I completed it 8.5 months pregnant which is why I’m proud of it. I nearly killed myself trying to hang it!
Biggest Indulgence: My Hotel Collection bedding and super fabulous Beauty Rest mattress. It’s the Cadillac of mattresses and worth every penny.
Dream Sources: Italy, the runway at Fashion Week, Public Hotel Chicago
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