When Jolita Leonas-Arzbaecher was planning her new penthouse condominium within the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, she gave her design workforce some very particular directions.
“My home has to be as unique, dramatic and one of a kind as I am,” she instructed them. “Dramatic in the sense of being fascinating, unexpected and powerful.”
The grandiosity wasn’t misplaced on her. “How’s that for me boasting?” she joked lately.
All kidding apart, Ms. Leonas-Arzbaecher, 65, an agricultural landowner and philanthropist interested by integrative and preventive drugs, views her dwelling as an extension of herself, and he or she wished the 4,320-square-foot condominium to be one thing really unusual.
“My home is a part of me,” she mentioned. “My art is a part of me.”
Although the condominium was being constructed as a part of a growth mission changing and increasing a 1930s Art 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, figuring out 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 goals.
“When you get in early, there’s opportunity,” Mr. Toukoumidis mentioned. “We were brought in before the steel was erected and before the concrete floors were poured. So the opportunity was that we were able to redesign and reinvent this floor plan.”
For two years, he labored with the developer to customise the design of the unit earlier than bringing in his personal builder, Fraser Construction, to complete the job. And he spent hours speaking with Ms. Leonas-Arzbaecher, teasing out the design particulars that will make her blissful.
“For me, designing a home for our clients is all about this intimate process,” Mr. Toukoumidis mentioned. “You have to understand the client’s lifestyle today, but even more important, help them think about how they’re going to live in the future.”
In this case, he heard, loud and clear, his consumer’s need for a showstopping inside filled with clever touches, metallic accents and pristine, white surfaces. And he designed a four-bedroom dwelling that, to Ms. Leonas-Arzbaecher, virtually appeared pulled from her unconscious.
“Kevin has this incredible ability to wear the hat of a psychologist,” she mentioned. “At times, I felt he knew me better than even I 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 family room, the dining room, even the kitchen,” he mentioned.
He used the identical supplies to create a pantry with a hatch that enables 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 slightly shimmer.
The major suite has a big dressing room with glass-and-metal-mesh doorways, a bed room with asymmetrical gentle packing containers set into the headboard wall and a minimalist spalike rest room 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 Project, and Jennifer Kranitz, the lead designer on the mission, had been instantly taken with Ms. Leonas-Arzbaecher’s enthusiasm for daring design.
“‘Show us what you got’ was sort of her M.O.,” Ms. Wertepny mentioned. “She really wanted to see how we could push the boundaries.”
“The word ‘sexy’ was used a lot,” 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 all the way down to the cushions and spill onto the ground at one finish.
In the first bed room, they requested Studio BK to provide the partitions a thick end of smoky plaster. “We wanted something textural and almost reptilian,” Ms. Kranitz mentioned. “It feels very sultry. It’s a super moody room.”
To filter gentle 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 traces and animal skins.
By the time Ms. Leonas-Arzbaecher moved into her new condominium in November 2019, she had spent about $1.6 million. The day by day dividend on that funding? Getting to reside in an area that’s exactly tailor-made to her character.
“I walk in and I just say, ‘I’m home,’” she mentioned. “I absolutely love it, because the home is such a reflection of me.”