Sabreen & Terrence’s Industrial Modern Loft

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(Image credit: Arthur Garcia-Clemente)

Name: Sabreen & Terrence Madden
Location: Lakeview; Chicago, Illinois
Size: 1,250 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years

There’s no better project for a newly married couple than to build a nest together – a place where the new commitment can grow with shared experiences. Finding the right place that represents both spouses can be tough, but Sabreen and Terrence found their perfect place in this historic loft, housed in the once popular Belmont Theatre. In the 1920’s it was Chicago’s most stylish movie house, and sat at the center of the Lakeview neighborhood: the 6 corners of Belmont, Lincoln and Ashland.

(Image credit: Arthur Garcia-Clemente)
(Image credit: Arthur Garcia-Clemente)

The project was particularly perfect for these two, since it allowed them to each do things they love. Terrence was able to demolish and rebuild an existing fireplace, put up walls and create rooms, and show off his construction know-how. For Sabreen, it was the perfect canvas to explore design ideas she had been studying – concepts of layering, levels of scale and finish, and what key components can make an industrial apartment of glass, wood and concrete feel inviting, comfortable and well lived-in.

The walls are dark, but the apartment is open and filled with light, thanks to large, floor-to-ceiling windows which lead out to a private balcony. The outside area, living room, dining area and kitchen often merge into a lively party space, with friends and family coming and going, at ease with the multitude of options for places to sit, stand or just perch and watch. And it’s a home that speaks to Sabreen and Terrence’s shared history – their wedding photos, diplomas, old books and new toys share space together and complement one another. It’s a home that reflects who they are and where they’re going.

(Image credit: Arthur Garcia-Clemente)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Industrial Modern.

Inspiration: As Chicago-land natives we are inspired by Chicago architecture, especially Louis Sullivan’s work, as he was one of the founders of using industrial materials as decoration. His work throughout the Auditorium Theatre Building and the facade of the Carson Pirie Scott building are some of our favorites. I (Sabreen) work downtown and often find myself cutting through buildings just to admire and learn from the historic architecture and design.

Favorite Element: My (Sabreen) favorite element is our paint selection. I wanted to create backdrops and framed moments; therefore, I chose black for the opposite wall of the doorway, white for the general walls and high-gloss white door frames. So, when you look into a room there is a perspective of a white frame, black backdrop and color in the elements of the room, i.e. books, furniture, accessories, etc. We also chose black paint for the inside of our closets. Which has been great for not only defining the space, it also is very helpful in hiding dirt when Terrence kicks of his work boots in our entry closet!

Biggest Challenge: Incorporating our puppy Winnie into our home. For the past two years she has gone through phases of chewing furniture, base boards, etc. She loves going to the park and the beach and brings home sand, dirt and everything else from our busy city. It has been challenging to find pieces and finishes that can withstand the wear and tear of a hyper 60 pound puppy.

What Friends Say: Friends often comment on how comfortable the space is. Given the many industrial elements, like the concrete ceiling, metal book shelves, etc., the space is soft and inviting. I (Sabreen) think it has to do with seating. All our seating must be comfortable or else Terrence won’t let me buy it.

Biggest Embarrassment: Our forest green bathroom tile and our kitchen laminate countertops. They are next on the list when budget and time are in our favor.

Proudest DIY: Our fireplace. Terrence demo’ed the existing fireplace (complete with forest green faux marble tiles) and rebuilt it with a television alcove and finished it in our favored minimal aesthetic. The steel hearth is Winnie’s favorite spot.

Biggest Indulgence: Our custom bookshelves from Design Workshop (DW) in North Carolina. We took a trip to High Point Market last fall and fell in love with DW’s industrial style, customization options and the fact that we can take them with us.

Best Advice: Don’t feel like you have to make all the decisions at one time. Residential design is about a series of layers. Each design decision, from paint to accessories, can be built on when the right piece comes along. If you feel good about a paint color, choose a sofa to layer on the paint, then throws and pillows on the sofa, and so on. There is no order to the layers; if you start with a great sofa, choose paint/wall-covering and art to layer behind it.

Dream Sources: This may not happen anytime soon, but I (Sabreen) would love a Bulthaup kitchen. Terrence would like a mini-Home Depot workshop, where he can build us a Bulthaup-like kitchen.

(Image credit: Arthur Garcia-Clemente)

Resources of Note:


  • Glidden – Onyx
  • Benjamin Moore – White Stone
  • Benjamin Moore – Chalkboard

  • Chandelier – Pottery Barn

  • Bookshelves – Design Workshop
  • Navy Sofa – Domicile Furniture
  • Marble Coffee/Side Tables – West Elm
  • White Chair – Thrift
  • Globe – Sears Roebuck & Co, circa 1940 from Terrence’s grandmother
  • Rug – Shaw Contract
  • Star Wars Posters – Online find by Justin Van Genderen
  • Track Light Fixtures – Lowe’s

  • Dining Table – West Elm
  • Dining Chairs – Thrift
  • Ceiling Fan –

  • Pendant Light Fixtures – Bobo Intriguing Objects
  • Wall Organizer – The Container Store
  • China Cabinet – Nadeau Home Furnishing

  • Bed Frame and Headboard – West Elm
  • Mirror – West Elm
  • Bedside Pendants – Pottery Barn
  • Ceiling Fan –
  • Rug – Joss & Main
  • Chair & Ottoman – Bobo Intriguing Objects
  • Bed Side Dresser – Macy’s
  • Bed Side Table – CB2
  • Bed Side Floating Shelf – West Elm
  • Bed frame – West Elm
  • Desks and Filing Cabinet – West Elm
  • Metal Cage Shelves – CB2
  • Metal Rolling Shelf – CB2
  • Bedside Pendant – Pottery Barn
  • Desk Lamps – West Elm
  • White Chairs – Rubin’s Contemporary Furniture
  • Rug – Flor
  • (Image credit: Arthur Garcia-Clemente)

    Thanks, Sabreen & Terrence!

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