What Makes a Residence ‘Attractive’?

When Jolita Leonas-Arzbaecher was planning her new penthouse house within the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, she gave her design staff some very particular directions.

“My dwelling must be as distinctive, dramatic and one in all a sort as I’m,” she informed them. “Dramatic within the sense of being fascinating, sudden and highly effective.”

The grandiosity wasn’t misplaced on her. “How’s that for me boasting?” she joked not too long ago.

All kidding apart, Ms. Leonas-Arzbaecher, 65, an agricultural landowner and philanthropist concerned with integrative and preventive drugs, views her dwelling as an extension of herself, and he or she needed the 4,320-square-foot house to be one thing actually unusual.

“My dwelling is part of me,” she mentioned. “My artwork is part of me.”

Credit score…Michelle Litvin for The New York Instances

Though the house was being constructed as a part of a growth undertaking changing and increasing a 1930s Artwork Deco parking storage into luxurious condos, she signed a contract to purchase the unit as uncooked area, for $3.Three million in 2017, she mentioned, realizing that contractor-grade finishes would by no means fulfill her.

Then she commissioned Kevin Toukoumidis, an architect and the founding principal of the Chicago-based agency dSpace Studio, to show it into the modernist dwelling of her desires.

“Once you get in early, there’s alternative,” Mr. Toukoumidis mentioned. “We had been introduced in earlier than the metal was erected and earlier than the concrete flooring had been poured. So the chance was that we had been capable of redesign and reinvent this flooring plan.”

For 2 years, he labored with the developer to customise the design of the unit earlier than bringing in his personal builder, Fraser Development, to complete the job. And he spent hours speaking with Ms. Leonas-Arzbaecher, teasing out the design particulars that might make her completely happy.

“For me, designing a house for our purchasers is all about this intimate course of,” Mr. Toukoumidis mentioned. “It’s a must to perceive the shopper’s way of life at this time, however much more necessary, assist them take into consideration how they’re going to stay sooner or later.”

On this case, he heard, loud and clear, his shopper’s want for a showstopping inside stuffed with clever touches, metallic accents and pristine, white surfaces. And he designed a four-bedroom dwelling that, to Ms. Leonas-Arzbaecher, nearly appeared pulled from her unconscious.

“Kevin has this unbelievable means to put on the hat of a psychologist,” she mentioned. “At instances, I felt he knew me higher than even I do know myself.”

Mr. Toukoumidis put in a flooring of outsized white-porcelain tiles and, on the middle of the area, added a fuel hearth open on all sides and wrapped by metal rods, with blackened-oak panels above. “It’s viewable from the household room, the eating room, even the kitchen,” he mentioned.

He used the identical supplies to create a pantry with a hatch that permits it to function a bar for entertaining. For the kitchen, he labored with Poliform to construct counters and cupboard doorways in white Corian, then added a wall of cabinetry completed in metallic lacquer and a backsplash of satin mirror to ship on Ms. Leonas-Arzbaecher’s request for a bit of shimmer.

The first suite has a big dressing room with glass-and-metal-mesh doorways, a bed room with asymmetrical mild containers set into the headboard wall and a minimalist spalike lavatory completed in white porcelain, white Corian and clear glass.

For assist with sourcing fashion-forward furnishings, luxurious supplies and customized artwork items to additional personalize the area, Ms. Leonas-Arzbaecher employed Project Interiors on Mr. Toukoumidis’s advice. Aimee Wertepny, the proprietor of Undertaking, and Jennifer Kranitz, the lead designer on the undertaking, had been instantly taken with Ms. Leonas-Arzbaecher’s enthusiasm for daring design.

“‘Present us what you bought’ was type of her M.O.,” Ms. Wertepny mentioned. “She actually needed to see how we might push the boundaries.”

“The phrase ‘attractive’ was used lots,” Ms. Kranitz added.

They designed a 26-foot couch that snakes throughout two partitions of a sitting space, with an undulating seat to accommodate Ms. Leonas-Arzbaecher and her friends, whether or not they really feel like sitting or sprawling. Above the couch, the partitions are swagged with bronze-hued ball chains made by Beth Kamhi, an artist, that drape right down to the cushions and spill onto the ground at one finish.

Within the major bed room, they requested Studio BK to offer the partitions a thick end of smoky plaster. “We needed one thing textural and nearly reptilian,” Ms. Kranitz mentioned. “It feels very sultry. It’s a brilliant moody room.”

To filter mild in the primary residing area, they put in mesh curtains over the floor-to-ceiling home windows. For the partitions and ceilings in additional intimate areas, they added wallcoverings that resemble metals, painterly strains and animal skins.

By the point Ms. Leonas-Arzbaecher moved into her new house in November 2019, she had spent about $1.6 million. The each day dividend on that funding? Attending to stay in an area that’s exactly tailor-made to her character.

“I stroll in and I simply say, ‘I’m dwelling,’” she mentioned. “I completely like it, as a result of the house is such a mirrored image of me.”

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