The living room of this Lincoln Park townhome hadn’t been touched since it was built back in the early 1980’s. Floor to ceiling windows offered beautiful views of an intimate, tree covered sidewalk with light pouring into an airy 3-story atrium. Despite all that was going for the home, the original fireplace and stairwell were dull and uninspiring. Needless to say, these features didn’t make the first impression that this engaged couple were looking for.
For the fireplace, Design Inside worked intimately with the client. Drawing from the essence of their inspirational images and offering numerous possible solutions, we created a bold, yet clean-lined fireplace. We found a local vendor that offered a contemporary direct-vent gas burning firebox with an exquisite stainless steel face. The ten foot span, custom-colored concrete hearth from Wisconsin draws the eye across the space and allows an intimate spot to sit near the fire. The varying depths of the structure’s walls hide the flue and create architectural drama. The drama is enhanced with illumination from the soffit above and a subtle variation of paint tone.
For the stairwell, the original felt overbearing compared to the airiness of the atrium. Design Inside recommended that the walls dividing the stairwell from the living spaces be removed and replaced with a balustrade made of marine cable fittings. We were able to specify the parts needed to design an original staircase without going through a separate balustrade design company. This achieved two goals: it allowed for a wider selection of fittings (permitting an original and more functionally appropriate design) and it saved the client thousands of dollars. The design team was able to scour through the entire selection of fittings and ultimately selected a particularly sleek turnbuckle. The chic balustrade was enhanced by replacing the worn carpeted stairs with contemporary, dark-stained oak, square eased-edge treads. Pushing the design further was the crisp white of the risers, emphasizing rhythm in the design. At the top of the stairs, a custom oak transition maintained the modern aesthetic while allowing the client the plush comfort of carpet on the second floor. The 1980’s, dull stairwell was transformed into an industrial, cosmopolitan-chic space, allowing the home to ‘breathe’.