How One Family Gave Their Home Art Gallery Flair
KBS Interior Design creates a boisterous, gallery-like dwelling for a jet-setting family with an enviable modern art collection.
Originally a three-story barn and then a dairy distribution center before most recently being reimagined as a residence by illustrious architect, Vinci Hamp, in 2011, this 9,200 square-foot Lincoln Park abode’s 14-foot ceilings, open wall space and breezy interior courtyard make it feel almost like a modern art museum.
Those qualities naturally appealed to international art collectors with two children, who purchased the property and commissioned interior designers, Ana Nardi and Angelina Almeida, to make it their own. “The client is very bold, and she wanted the home to reflect her personality,” Almeida says. “If we told her something was on trend, she wasn’t interested.”
“This project taught us not to be scared to do things totally outside the box.” —Almeida
Aware the house would be filled with their clients’ extensive collection, the designers retained the terrazzo flooring and painted the walls in a crisp white, punctuated by strategically placed wall coverings, colorful rugs and boisterous fabrics. “She favors a more chaotic approach, which pushed us out of our comfort zone,” Nardi explains. “Nothing is neutral.”
The designers’ approach is exemplified in the front foyer, where a classic, graphic black and white wall covering from Schumacher juxtaposes a colorful wool runner and an iconic midcentury bench by Nelson, which the designers repainted in mustard yellow. “It’s colorful, but minimalist,” Nardi says. “The patterns complement each other.”
The expansive open public areas, on the other hand, are a study in restraint – an ideal backdrop for the owners’ extensive art collection. In the living area, for example, a pair of tailored olive velvet-covered sofas surround an oval cocktail table with a thatched wooden base and a white marble top.
And simple black Wishbone chairs surround an Acacia wood dining table underneath a pair of bubble chandeliers in the nearby dining room. “They look like floating clouds, which emphases the outdoor-indoor concept,” Almeida says.
“If we told the homeowners something was on-trend, they weren’t interested.” —Almeida
Bedecked with handwritten notes and doodles by the owners and their two children, an equally whimsical wire chandelier by Ingo Maurer adds a personal touch to the breakfast area, softly illuminating a Tulip table with a veiny white marble top surrounded by wood-framed chairs covered in a textural boucle.
Steps away, a trio of organic wooden stools with saddle-like seats add additional island seating, introduce an earthy hand-hewn quality to the sleek flat-front white and gray cabinetry.
A sinuous cocktail table carved from a slab of solid wood likewise adds a sense of warmth to the nearby family room, where a pink and orange ombre rug coordinates perfectly with a purple modular sectional sofa and the large painting over it.
The heady blend also characterizes the bedrooms. In the master suite, for instance, a traditional patterned rug rendered in yellow and plum plays off the chunky grass cloth wall covering, creating a stimulating backdrop for a leather headboard with baseball stitching and walnut side tables.
“The pops of color make you smile and feel happy. You’re not going to flip a magazine and find something exactly like this.” —Nardi
A bold yellow sofa makes an equally splashy statement in an otherwise black and white TV room. “The pops of color make you smile and feel happy,” Nardi explains. “You’re not going to flip a magazine and find something exact like this.”
That also holds true for the exterior living spaces, which are accessible via wide floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors, fostering a strong sense of connection between inside and outside. As such, they are furnished with posh furnishings, such as a pair of rocking chairs by DEDON and a graffitied side table by JANUS et Cie, on the second-floor terrace overlooking the interior courtyard.
Naturally, the owners were overjoyed when they returned from an extended international trip to find their new gallery-like dwelling ready for their artwork. The designers are equally pleased with the way it turned out, and they predict it will influence the way they approach future projects.
“This project taught us not to be scared to do things totally outside the box,” Almeida says. “We’re thrilled with the way it turned out.”