An exceptionally chic full-floor penthouse loft in a Chicago high-rise, with a clever broken-plan layout and sweeping city views from double-height windows. The striking modern home (opens in new tab) was designed by Chicago-based firm Wheeler Kearns Architects (opens in new tab) for two collectors.
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After a lengthy search, the happy new owners came across this full penthouse floor of a Chicago high-rise, featuring striking 11 foot high ceilings, a double height space looking south to the city, and 360 degree views.
They gutted the property back to a shell condition, then brought on Chicago-based firm Wheeler Kearns Architects (opens in new tab) to completely reconfigure the apartment.
The architects completely renovated this full-floor penthouse loft into an eminently spacious residence for the two collectors. The owners, a couple who are lifelong collectors of modern and contemporary art and furniture, wanted a scheme that would showcase their extensive collection.
A sliding panel wall can be shut to separate the guest bedroom (opens in new tab) and TV area behind it, making this space feel a little more intimate.
The penthouse apartment features furnishings by Eames, Evans, Mies, Nakashima, Nelson and Wegner, and the artworks include a Harry Bertoia sounding sculpture.
The owners use this space to entertain, and regularly host philanthropic events in the space. Their brief for the architects was: “a home we love, have pride in, are comfortable in; ability to entertain graciously with simple elegance”.
As lifelong collectors, the brief also included finding space for numerous pieces of mid-century (to present day) furniture, sculpture, art.
A double-height wall of shelving houses personal books and objects, with a staircase (opens in new tab)spiraling up to a mezzanine level.
Together with the owners, the architects chose a non-directional end-grain walnut floor, providing the visual weight and durability of a factory. They then plastered perimeter walls for art, and added in perforated metal, slatted wood, and floating planes of fabric to provide acoustic absorption.
Steel storage, shelving, and the mezzanine balcony and staircase all add to the industrial-inspired look.
This broken-plan living space (opens in new tab) is the highlight of the apartment, with 11-foot high ceilings that feature floor-to-ceiling windows, framing city skyline views.
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With the main focal point being the view, a separate seating area was created to form a cosy TV nook.
The TV isn't obviously visible – instead it's disguised behind a sliding painting, mounted above the fireplace.
But that's not the only place to catch up on films or TV – there's a separate family room, created for watching films and TV together.
A red backdrop helps make their collection of dolls pop.
At the other end of the apartment is a large, open plan kitchen with a marble kitchen island (opens in new tab), and a dining area just off it.
The architects opted for striking glossy red cabinets.
The home office (opens in new tab) for two is streamlined and chic, and boasts floor to ceiling skyline views.
A guest bedroom (opens in new tab) is sectioned off from the main living space by a pair of sliding wood doors – one to enclose just the sleeping area, and the other offers the option of including the TV area as part of the guest suite.
These barn / pocketing doors help to create a clever, broken-plan (opens in new tab) scheme that can open up when the space is needed, and be closed off for privacy.
The master bedroom (opens in new tab) is strikingly chic, with floating bedside tables mounted against a modern wood panelled wall.
The adjoining dressing room boasts a dressing room island, crowned by Louis Poulsen's classic Artichoke pendant light.
The marble-clad bathroom offers his 'n' hers sinks, and more skyline views beyond the floating mirrors.
Photography by: Tom Rossiter, Tom Rossiter Photography
WKA Team: Dan Wheeler, FAIA, Principal
Janette Scott, AIA, Project Architect
General Contractor: JDL Development
Construction Advisor/Manager: Peter Seigel
Structural Engineer: Halvorson and Partners
Millwork: Glazebrook Woodworking
Acoustical Consultant: Threshold Acoustics
Lighting Design: Mitchell Cohn Lighting
MEP: BES Engineering Systems
Interiors: Sharlene Young with Wheeler Kearns Architects (founder of Symbiotic Living)
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