A Plum Job
Stephen Young infuses a high-rise dwelling with cool colors
Design and decoration are two of the most powerful practices you can employ to change your home and, frankly, to change your life,” says Stephen Young, principal of Stephen Young Design. “This project, for my client, evolved into a personal renaissance of sorts.” Located in a high-rise in Chicago’s vibrant Streeterville neighborhood, the apartment needed a modern update. “She really wanted someone to come with a fresh eye and digest the collection of sentimental furniture and art she had acquired over the years and apply them in the space in a more articulated and aesthetically balanced manner,” explains Young.
Young proceeded to transform the previously lifeless, homogeneously hued home into a warm, inviting space with artfully placed furniture. In the open-plan living and dining area, the original boxy sofa was replaced with a sculptural Michael Berman sofa from CAI Designs upholstered in a plum fabric from Baker and complemented with an amorphous-shaped coffee table from Holly Hunt that allows the rug’s starburst pattern to shine. A natural grass cloth wallcovering from Phillip Jeffries with a hand-glazed silver finish adds a bit of shimmer and envelops the room in warmth. To combat the lack of big architectural moments to carry the weight of the room, Young made the client’s artwork the star by placing it directly above the sofa to form a focal point. On either side of the sofa, Young then placed the client’s floral sconces, lamps, and end tables from CAI designs to create a sense of symmetry.
“There’s an artistry to minimal monochromatic design, but for the spaces we live in, color is vital.”
In the dining area, Young loved the “aquatic-like” bubble chandelier, so he simply switched out the existing square table top with a rounded, smokey-glass design that accentuated the fixture’s curves. Midcentury- inspired dining chairs in a tactile fabric from Kravet play well with complementing high-back chairs from Lee Industries upholstered in a striking floral Harlequin fabric echoed on the sofa’s pillows. Directly across from the dining table, a Ron Dier Selenite Sunburst Mirror from Interior Crafts over a shimmering console flanked by stemlike sconces add a glam element.
The color scheme of rich, earthy plums, beiges, pinks, and deep blues and greens continues in the bedroom, where a large-scale floral Phillip Jeffries wallpaper stuns. The bed was updated in warm S. Harris fabric, along with a duvet cover from Fabricut and pillows in textiles from Holly Hunt and Romo. An alluring chair and ottoman from Romo upholstered in one of the brand’s vivid, plush textiles add another place of repose. “I utilized texture and materiality to evoke a sense of serenity and comfort throughout the home—from bouclé wools to chenille, luscious silks, cottons, velvets, and even an alpaca mohair. Texture and textiles are a wonderful way to give a space dimension as well as highlight curves and shapes—and emphasize the beauty of the furniture,” Young explains. “There’s an artistry to minimal monochromatic design, but for the spaces we live in, color is vital. The redesign lifted a weight off my client—allowing her to move into a brighter, happier chapter of her life.”