Lauren Collander Interiors - The Perfect Space for You
Designed for a Chicago bachelor to host his friends while enjoying city and lake views, this condo is masculine and grand. High ceilings, traditional architectural details, masculine furnishings, and an unbeatable rooftop make this home a unique Chicago residence.
Because this home has some interesting stories, we asked the interior designer, Lauren Collander about this project.
Elevated Magazines: Lauren, how did this client find you and what made him hire you?
Lauren Collander: This client actually just told me a story about why he hired us. He had interviewed some designers and I was the only one open to hearing what he wanted to do. He said he felt he could be heard with me and we shared a vision for the space and his way of life.
I was very impressed and respectful of the dreams of this man. He is a young bachelor with an amazing outlook on life. He’s taking a two-year leave of absence to work on himself and creating a home for himself. He is slowing down from a fast paced work life to enjoy the small things in life and I respect the heck out of him for it. I also had the unspoken goal of attracting the right partner for him and I’m very happy to report that I just received a text that says our next project together will include his live-in girlfriend and he wants to include her ideas and thoughts.
What was it about this penthouse that excited the homeowner?
Have you seen the views? They are one in 1 million and the location of this penthouse in downtown Chicago with two-story views of the lake + a city rooftop was everything he had been hoping for. The three levels of this open space helped divide up the rooms, all while having an open flow from one to another
As an ex-chef he was excited about entertaining and having multiple spaces to do so. He also was looking for something unusual and found the uniqueness of this place attractive. I did initially ask him what about the space was exciting for him and he explained that he grew up with humble beginnings and when he saw the crystal chandeliers and paneled walls it made him feel like he had “made it in life”. That opulence and grandeur was something we agreed was the essence of what needed to stay, but the space needed a lot of freshening through color palette and texture, all while keeping that feeling he fell in love with.
We decided to modernize the space and strip down some of that opulence through high contrast moody moments. The addition of masculine finishes, clean line furniture and thinking a lot about the ways he would use each room was an important aspect of the design process.
If there was one must have or clear direction that your bachelor client gave you, what was it?
He wanted to design to emphasise casual entertaining for friends and family. He is a frequent host, and wants everyone to feel comfortable. The artwork showcased a certain energy and whimsy. The photography of dancers and thoughtful furniture layouts help set that way of living to feel effortless and casual. I’m happy to report he trusted us in the design process and allowed us to really take care of him and set him up for success.
What space in this home is most exciting to you?
Honestly, the balance of having multiple ways to live in his home outlined for him is what I’m the most proud of. He can host a dinner with friends, meander into the great room for conversation or pull out his laptop and get some work done in his favorite space, the roof deck.
The light and bright great room is likely my favorite space for the sheer volume of space and the design emphasizing the colors and view of the lake.
What space in this home is the homeowners favorite?
The penthouse roof deck and greenhouse bar is the client’s favorite space. It’s jaw dropping views, connection to the outdoors, and a flowing bar for hosting is the piece de resistance.
The bar is is equipped with a sink, ice machine, refrigerators, and mirrored backsplash, giving the illusion of more space while reflecting the Chicago skyline.
The rooftop has a great sliding door that allows you to open up and create one large indoor/ outdoor space. The overhead greenhouse windows also add to that feeling like you are on top of the world.
No matter how great the first and second floors were, we knew the client would spend most of his free time up here. We needed all the pieces of easy living, with places to perch, work for a few hours, then invite some friends over to grill and be chill. The roof deck also has views of the lake and we organized it so when you are sitting you are privy to both. We were thoughtful in how we wanted people to sit, being open to a large party conversation or a glass of wine at the end of the day.
Was there anything that made the client nervous that they decided to trust in the design process?
Absolutely. The entire journey from the front door into the main living area is an experience that is inspired by a Frank Lloyd Wright house we are designing.
The dark entry foyer was something that the client initially had said no to, but we revisited once they warmed up to the idea. That dark wallcovering flowing from the entry foyer through the dining space there was natural transition of a lower ceiling and having this feeling of walking into a smaller space there was more intimate and then boom the explosion of the two-story space filled with light light walls spiral staircase leading your eye up and ultimately the view of the lake. The client was worried the dark color would overpower, but it really makes that room.
Tell us about the key’s mounted over the master bed?
A spiral staircase leads you to the lofted bedroom that is open to the Living Room below.
The locks and keys above the headboard are so sexy, right? This art was to balance something three dimensional with the framed photography throughout the house. I loved the idea of getting something a little suggestive. These gold locks were a piece we presented and they just felt right. We chose to have it more casual with some of them unlocked and suggestive. It’s an unspoken mood.
The wall of windows…how challenging is it to furnish or design with a wall of windows that large without window coverings?
One challenge was the floor plan for this space with such volume. We wanted it open to the rest of the first floor, with enough seating, to be able to see the TV, all while being open to the view. I wanted it to feel like one large flowing room. Sometimes when you put a sofa in the middle of a room facing a wall it’s more of a “wall” and cuts off all connection to surrounding spaces. The open sofas across from one another suggest conversations over only staring at the TV.
The window treatments were simply not needed or preferred by the client. The sun wasn’t a problem, the privacy wasn’t a concern to the client, and we couldn’t bear to cover the million dollar view.
The wall coverings in the entry and dining area is a vibe. Please tell us about it.
This is a dark Phillip Jeffries wallcovering that has a metallic layer in the background. It’s dark, moody, textural, and catches the light just so.
How does someone live in an open loft with their bedroom on display?
Freely and unafraid. When he does want light control or privacy there is magic drapery that closes and seals off the bedroom for privacy and light control. We purposefully wanted it to stay barely visible and the transformation is one only he knows about.