Historical Modern Chicago Makeover

To get a neighborhood family with four kids, this 19th-century Queen Anne-style home in Chicago’s favorite Lincoln Park neighborhood was the perfect place to settle. A previous remodel had covered a lot of the original details with glitzy faux finishing, but the bones of their house were all beautiful.

The clients hired Jean Dufresne and his staff at SPACE Architects + Planners and inner designer Julia Edelmann of Buckingham Interiors to reveal historic detailing and give the home a sleek contemporary look. The result is a beautiful blend of traditional and modern styles that reflects the homeowners’ family-centric way of life. “They never wanted to’maintain’ or impress anyone,” says Dufresne. “It was all about family.”

SPACE Architects + Planners

The colours and materials were selected in a calm palette that will feel sophisticated but modern. The colours are muted but still pop out from the crisp white trim to draw attention to the unique period details.

Artistic light fixtures and the blank lines of mid-century furniture contrasts with the more conventional structure of the house for a unexpected and beautiful aesthetic. The unique chandelier is a vintage piece that Edelmann located from a demolished St. Louis Hotel.

Chairs: Vintage Italian, Sarlo
Table: Custom Design by Julia Edelmann, Buckingham ID

SPACE Architects + Planners

This specific road in Lincoln Park has many older homes, very similar to this one. Some have been restored and a few have been split up into flats.

Throughout the remodel, Dufresne and his staff needed to look at the house’s neighbors and how near this house was to additional buildings. Dufresne created privacy screens on the second floor deck, adding tall fencing on the east side. Netting installed at the fencing keeps the children’s balls and toys from getting into neighbors’ yards.

SPACE Architects + Planners

Edelmann had worked for the couple before. “The homeowners prefer to keep things clean and glossy so that there’s not lots of fluff cluttering their home,” she says.

They kept the gorgeous original hardwood floors — a white walnut with an ebony and walnut stain. The unique light fixture at the entryway is constructed from molded corrugated cardboard.

Lighting fixture: Gray Pants at Seattle
Tile: Slate, Materials Marketing

SPACE Architects + Planners

An original stairway contributes to another levels of this home comprising five bedrooms and five and half baths.

Lucite console: CB2
Mirror: SGGrand

Buckingham Interiors + Design LLC

The living room has enough seating for the entire family, such as four vintage cherry-red leather chairs the clients owned and a little reupholstered sofa. A large bay window enables a clear perspective and tons of natural lighting.

Sofa: upholstered in Zinc cloth

Buckingham Interiors + Design LLC

Durable fabrics in neutral colours and a sparse layout helps to keep the room kid-friendly. “There are never a lot of bits in each room, so there’s play area. Those kids love to play together and have friends over all of the time,” says Edelmann.

Gray sectional: Custom layout Julia Edelmann, Buckingham ID
Coffee table: Etsy
Rug: Atelier Lapchi

SPACE Architects + Planners

The whitewashed cabinet in the kitchen is a favourite piece. This find has a soft, beachy feel that was perfect to show the clients’ collection of pottery and sculpture. The rustic appearance contrasts with the sleek and modern kitchen.

This breakfast nook is a well-used region of the home. It has space for the kids to eat while morning light floods the room through big corner windows.

Chandelier: Robert Candelaria
Table: Crate & Barrel
Chairs: Lizz Chairs
Armoire: Jayson Home and Garden

Next: The kitchen before renovation

Before Photo

BEFORE: The initial kitchen felt far too little, had no flow and did not offer enough storage for the big family. Dufresne and his team opened the distance and enlarged the island and countertop.

The original home had numerous code violations, and also the team needed to go about fixing. Another exit was added to every degree, and many baths were reworked to get rid of awkward bumps and soffits

SPACE Architects + Planners

AFTER: The dark materials in the modern kitchen keep the room appearing clean, even if leftover crumbs litter the island countertop. The kitchen cabinetry is made out of wenge wood and charcoal grey acrylic.

Pendants: Vintage in Uber Modern, Chicago
Barstools: Design Within Reach
Countertop: Marble
Island countertop: Bitto Solid Surface

SPACE Architects + Planners

Dufresne loved designing the built-ins — especially the boys’ bunk beds. “The oldest boy wasn’t too happy to learn he would need to share a room with his little brother,” Dufresne says. “But he told me it was okay after he saw his new bunk bed! This made my day”

Bedding: Custom layout Julia Edelmann, Buckingham ID

Buckingham Interiors + Design LLC

The master bedroom performs the same grey tones in the rest of the home, however the grasscloth wallpaper adds a twist spin. The bedframe was repainted in gray grey, upgrading its traditional style.

Wall Treatment: Phillip Jeffries Grasscloth
Paint on mattress frame: Wall Street, C2 Paint

Buckingham Interiors + Design LLC

A little seating area at the conclusion of the room is the best spot to sit with a cup of coffee and a fantastic book on Sunday mornings. Dark wood shelving holds books and other collected bits and pieces for a built-in art screen.

Chairs: Vladimir Kagan
Chandelier: Vintage, Lincoln Antiques Mall

Next: A snapshot of this master bath before the renovation

Before Photo

BEFORE. Dufresne estimates this house was redone at some stage in the 1980s. When they first encountered this bathroom, it felt dark and restricted. All traces of the house’s original history was removed.

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AFTER. The master bathroom is one of Dufresne’s favourite rooms in the house. “I love the freestanding bathtub — it is such a hot and tender shape,” he says. “The entire room is sun-drenched and calm.” The contrasting floor and ceiling tiles at the walk-in steam shower add depth and dimension to the otherwise all-white area.

Floor tile: Calacatta Oro, Materials Marketing
Inlet floor tile: Vintage Glass Winter Sky Luster, Walker Zanger
Wall tile: Calacatta Oro
Bathtub: Duravit

Before Photo

BEFORE. Before renovation, the back side of the house still had a more conventional appearance, and did not have quite enough outside space for your household.

SPACE Architects + Planners

AFTER. Dufrense and his team had a good deal of fun refinishing the exterior and designing the rear addition of the house. The contrast between the modern back and the historic front is the best instance of the client’s unique style. A garage on one side of this construction creates a barrier between the house and an alleyway, making a natural exterior spot for the children to play.

Photography by Eric Hausman

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