Chicago Hi-Rise Remodel - Reveal

Early this summer I completed the Chicago hi-rise I was hired to remodel. I can honestly say it was one of the most difficult jobs I have had to date. Not only was it a total gut, the building presented some unique challenges when it came to design. 

One of my first hurdles was the design. The unit before the flip was stuck in a time warp, complete with a seventies parquet floor, an outdated closed off kitchen with blue floral wallpaper, and a dark and awkward, space starved master bathroom that definitely had seen better days. After reviewing the space, we decided on a modern design. First off, modern is not in my comfort zone. My style typically falls in the transitional range so I was venturing into new territory on this one. In addition, as this was a flip, it was important to keep it from being too modern to ensure the design didn't alienate any potential buyers.

I also had to find solutions to some ideas I wanted to incorporate, but couldn't due to the structure of the building. Plumbing could not be moved, so changing the bathroom layouts was certainly a challenge. Unfortunately, the unit had no overhead lighting. Adding it was difficult to say the least. Since it is a hi-rise, all the ceilings are concrete beneath the drywall so nothing could be recessed into it. To make matters worse, the ceilings were only eight feet high. Therefore, dropping the entire ceiling to add recessed lighting was not an option.

In the end, I am very happy with how it turned out and am excited to say it sold within a few days of hitting the market. I feel it reflects my vision of a modern space with a transitional twist to keep it warm and inviting.

In the photos below, I designed every detail of the space from the cabinets, to flooring, to the wall color. The furniture and decor however, were done by our amazing stager who listened intently to my vision for the space and executed it perfectly. In addition, all the photos are courtesy of VHT Studios. And now, for the big reveal . . .

In the foyer, a charcoal gray grasscloth wallpaper gives texture and interest to the entry. A modern crystal ceiling fixture adds style without emphasizing the low ceilings. New doors painted charcoal gray add a modern flair. Simple white trim, and a sleek but low profile crown molding, pull it back to transitional.

In the living and dining room, I kept the color palate light and neutral so as to not compete with the incredible view of Lake Michigan. To create a focal point, I added a fireplace clad in vein cut travertine. While I would have preferred a gas fireplace, we had to go with electric as gas was not allowed in the building. The custom floor stain gives the room depth without being too dark. The brushed gold chandelier adds a modern flair. In an effort to give much needed light to the living room, we dropped a small soffit and installed low profile recessed LED can lights.

The kitchen design included gray flat front glossy upper cabinets that pair beautifully with the gray oak wood grain lowers. White quartz countertops and a white hexagonal backsplash gives the eye somewhere to rest.  We dropped a similar soffit in the kitchen to add much needed overhead lighting. A slim linear pendant provides light for the island without obstructing the view of the lake.

The powder room got an eye catching focal point with floor to ceiling gray oak marble chevron tile. Two pendant lights on either side of the mirror add glamour and an unexpected twist.

A  medium gray paint color warms up the master bedroom and provides a neutral backdrop for the furnishings. We added a small soffit along the back wall to incorporate recessed lighting to highlight the wall and provide extra light.

Storage is vital in hi-rise buildings. I redesigned the master bedroom and bathroom layout to add this amazing custom closet.

The completely redesigned master bath is stunning. Marble tile, a floating vanity and a custom framed mirror with wall mounted sconces give the space a boutique hotel feel. To save space we added a large recessed medicine cabinet to the wall next to the vanity. A towel warmer and floor lighting add to the luxurious feel.

The second bedroom was converted into a den. A dark charcoal focal wall adds interest and keeps with the theme throughout the unit. We dropped another soffit along the sofa wall to add lighting and architectural interest. Modern french doors with frosted glass replaced the standard door.

The guest bathroom also got the royal treatment with floor to ceiling marble tile and glass shower enclosure. A dark glossy wood grain vanity and crisp white quartz countertop offset the marble tile.

A soothing neutral paint color and new trim updated this previously dark and out of date space.

I learned a few lessons along the way with this project. First, you can find solutions to any problem if you think outside the box. Second, going outside your comfort zone can result in some amazing things. This project pushed me as a designer and I am happier for it. 

How about you? Ever had a project that pushed you? I would love to hear about it.

Happy decorating!



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