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Evanston Change of Pace

Evanston was the scene for one of our favorite projects in 2019. She wanted a change of scenery and purchased an extremely dated condo in a peaceful complex that was removed from the hustle of downtown. We loved this project because we had the opportunity to fully reimagine and refresh every corner of this basic condo. The client was so lovely to work with, and her two grown daughters gave a ton of input which is always welcome. They have great style and wanted the finished space to feel peaceful, bright and airy. This condo was a complete fresh start, almost nothing was brought over from her old condo.

 

Due to COVID, we were just now able to take the professional photographs. We wanted to give you a little background on the project while we anxiously await the proofs to hit our inbox!

 

We made a slight floorplan change that created a huge impact. Our client didn’t need the enclosed bonus room off of the main living space, so we decided to blow out the wall. Here is an overview of the floorplan and changes we made.

 

Original Floor Plan

New Floor Plan

 

Kitchen Before

Kitchen Before – Different Angle

 

Dining Room looking towards living room.

 

Guest Bathroom – Before

 

Master Bedroom – Before

 

Master Bathroom – Before

 

New Kitchen – 3D Version

 

Another small change that had a huge impact on the finished space was removing the dreadful popcorn ceilings! We used furring strips and low profile LED lights to integrate recessed lighting into the ceiling and eliminate the track lighting. The existing ceilings were low, but we decided the seamless lighting and clean ceilings were worth giving up 1.5” of height. 

 

Progress Photo – View looking from the living room towards future office built-ins (where walls were removed).

 

Kitchen After Demo

 

Kitchen – Clean Slate

 

Fireplace after new firebox installation and build-out

 

Fireplace after drywall

Our client needed an occasional work space, but didn’t want to dedicate a whole room to it. Her daughters’ request was to find a way to hide the clutter and not let the workspace take over the room. We designed custom built-ins that allowed for a comfortable/bright/functional workspace that could easily be closed off when not in use. There are large sliding doors that can cover the workspace and reveal the decorative bookshelves!

 

Office built-in progress photo

 

The bathrooms are small, but we maximized the space and utilized bright/soft finishes to complete the look. The transformation in the bathrooms was dramatic!

 

Master Bathroom after demo

 

Master Bathroom – progress photo

Master Bathroom – progress photo

 

Guest Bathroom – progress photo

 

Fireplace and new flooring sneak peek

 

View From Kitchen looking towards dining room

 

We can’t wait to share the completed space with you. It is so bright and layered with different monochromatic tones and textures. Stay posted to see the reveal!

 

Basement Bathroom Upgrade at #LugbillLanding

Today I wanted to fill you in on our basement bathroom. Full disclosure… this bathroom has been a headache since the day we decided to remodel it. I had a clear vision for the whole home (including the kids’ bathroom, which will be a future project) but I could not find inspiration for this last small bathroom. I lost so much sleep over this cave of a space. I wanted it to be high contrast, a fresh take on black and white, fun, playful but not so wild that I would get tired of it in 5 years. 

 

It was clearly a DIY project completed by someone who quite possibly had never remodeled a bathroom before. Here is a look at the original state. 

 

View looking into the bathroom from the living space

 

Weird nook we discovered could be eliminated during demo to enlarge the vanity

 

Cave-like shower stall

 

Existing dark shower stall

 

View of vanity before demo

 

The space was incredibly dark and dingy, with weird cutouts and low ceilings. We are so thankful that we decided to remodel it during phase 1, because during demolition, the plumbers found massive tree roots that had taken over the pipes. We also uncovered a hole where rats were coming into the house under the old shower… the joys of city living! It was wild to see our basement in this state, with roots and debris covering the floors. 

 

The plumber breaking the news of the tree roots

 

So much debris!

 

More debris!

 

Clean Slate!

 

The bathroom originally had a shower stall. We went back and forth between installing another shower vs. a tub.  In the end, since the wall had to be removed anyways, and we needed to frame out the space, we decided to go with another tub. After all, how amazing will it be to have a dedicated tub for extra dirty jobs like giving baths to extra dirty children and dogs!

 

New tub!

 

I went through about 34 different finish combinations for the space. After one last change due to COVID stock issues, this is where I landed.

 

Basement finishes

 

I’m obsessed with the gray scallop tile. I love the large scale and the playful pattern it adds to the space. I wanted to keep the side walls very simple and let the scallop tile take center stage. For the floor- I loved the idea of a medium scale tile- but again, I didn’t want to compete with the patterned tub wall. I decided to go with a light 12”x24” tile and have it cut down to 6”x12” pieces onsite. 6”x12” stocked floor tiles are nearly impossible to find.  My tile installer was not thrilled with the extra work, but it was worth it! I had the tile installed in a basketweave pattern. It is perfect for the space.

 

Walking the tile installer through my vision

 

The 6″x12″ basketweave pattern

 

Future (larger) vanity placement

 

During the demo, we found a ledge in the foundation wall that I knew I could take advantage of. We followed this foundation line to create a wall to wall ledge in the tub. I love how it adds storage to the tub and makes the space feel larger. After so many unhappy surprises, I was thankful for one good one. 

 

The new wall to wall ledge

 

Accent tile

 

I can’t wait to share photos of this finished bathroom with you. It was worth the headaches and will be a heavily used space for years to come.

 

A Master Bathroom Retreat at #LugbillLanding

The master bathroom concept came very easy to me, but the details took a painfully long time to finalize. I was basically flying by the seat of my pants as things were getting installed. I hate feeling rushed on decisions, but it is SO HARD to find time to dedicate to my own project when I’m so busy 9-5+ working on everyone else’s projects. I’m lucky I work great under pressure, I have put that skill to the test during this season of life!

 

As a designer, there is a certain pressure to create something innovative and fresh with each new design. I’ve designed so many bathrooms that I’ve adored and would love to call my own- but I wanted something different than I had done before. It’s a bit scary to have carte blanche and know there is no one to point my finger at if I’m not happy with the results. 

 

I went out of my comfort zone and took several risks in the master bathroom. I wanted to create an elegant, timeless, bright, spa like retreat without being too fancy. I love natural materials and the depth they add to a space. Calacatta marble has warmth and dramatic veining, but is a huge risk as a tile material. Marble is generally considered a final sale item, and you are stuck with what you get. Each lot of marble is dramatically different in both color and veining. Despite the huge risk, I decided to go with a large scale 12”x24” honed calacatta marble on the floor. I ordered 25% overage and hoped for the best. 

 

I have never met a tile installer that truly sees my vision before installation and therefore I never leave it up to the tile installer to select which pieces of stone make the cut. When going with a natural stone tile, I highly recommend going through each box and sorting through prior to installation. I follow a similar process to a hoarding tv show… I make a pile of my favorite pieces that need to be showcased, a pile of pieces that are OK and a 3rd pile that are all rejects (can be used under the toilet, tub or vanity). Depending on the type of natural stone, I have been known to go to the extreme measures of taping out the actual footprint and labeling each tile with North/South/East/West instructions. I get extremely specific when I want the veining to continue through several tiles. It is an annoying (and filthy) process, but it pays off every time.

Sorting through the tile

 

Erica sorting through the tile

 

Part of my vision for the space was a line of chevron that started on the floor and continued vertically onto the vanity wall. I thought this would pull your eye up and add something special to the vanity wall. Tiling the whole wall felt over the top for my style.  I wanted to keep the chevron in the same calacatta material so it was subtle but still elevated the design. I searched high and low for the right size of calacatta to create the chevron with no success. I had my heart set on this chevron, so I was going to make it happen even if I had to cut the tile myself. In the end, I decided to have my countertop fabricator cut the custom chevron pieces to the perfect size on their huge machines. The pieces needed to be precise and it would have taken forever to cut each piece down individually onsite.

 

Creating a template for the Chevron cuts

 

Chevron tile template

 

This installation was extremely complicated, and needed to be mapped out perfectly prior to starting. Getting the chevron to line up perfectly with the center of the vanity and hit the tub where I wanted on the floor took about 4,000 iterations to the design, but it was worth it.

 

Figuring out the exact placement of the chevron detail with a laser

 

Floor tile progress

 

View of the chevron continuing from the floor to the wall, vertically before vanity installation

 

Because I’m a designer and I like to make things even more complicated (ha!), I decided that I wanted the vertical chevron accent to be flush with the drywall. This was another risk, I wasn’t really 100% sure what this would look like installed, and if they would be able to finish it to my liking. I think this risk paid off, it is such a custom look. It is such a subtle difference but I love the way it turned out.

 

Chevron detail after installing an additional 1/4″ drywall to make it flush with the wall

 

Flush chevron detail – after the cabinets and counters were installed

 

I went through all of the tiles individually, but made the mistake of not going through the chevron pieces after they were cut. Of course there was one piece that had to come out. It was bright white and all my eyes saw when I looked at the wall.  Lesson learned!

 

The picture I sent to my tile installer…this tile had to go

 

I could tell my husband, Justin, wasn’t in love with the calacatta when it was first installed. He thought it was too cold and a little busy. I was anxious as the bathroom started to come together to see if my vision would work in reality and I really wanted this bathroom to top our last bathroom. 

 

 Last week he told me that he has loved the bathroom more and more as each new finish/fixture is installed. He said each new layer adds a new dimension to the space. It felt like one of the best compliments I’ve ever received on a design, coming from my spouse. I had so much fun (and anxiety) creating this master bathroom retreat for us to share! If you need me, I will be in my new bathroom for the rest of 2020…

 

I love the contrast/warmth of the walnut combined with the calacatta marble…two of my favorite things

 

Tips for a marble tile bathroom:

  • Always order more overage material than normal so you are able to be selective in the pieces installed (this also ensures you aren’t stuck with a different lot if you run out of tile). I recommend 25% overage while the standard is 10-15%
  • Sort through the boxes prior to installation
  • Don’t forget to seal your tile!
  • Select a honed finish for a more casual/lived in look and polished for a more elegant look

A Deeper Dive Into Lake Shore Restore

We’re excited to introduce you to #LakeShoreRestore, an active, exciting project we’ve been working on recently. This is a special job for us, not just because we get to completely transform an awesome condo with an amazing view, but because the project comes from a repeat client. In the previous project, we only renovated their kitchen, but we have much bigger plans for the new condo. Here’s a look at the old project:

Before picture of kitchen in the old condo.

 

The renovated kitchen from the first project we did for this client.

 

Old Project

Renovated kitchen in old condo.

 

Different angle of the renovated kitchen.

 

We’re planning a completely new look and feel for their new kitchen, so be sure to follow us on Instagram to see the progress. 

 

After seeing this unique space, which was once two separate units now combined into one, our client jumped at the opportunity to buy it and own another condo in the same building. We can completely relate to relocating just a few floors because we too purchased another condo in the same building after living there for 5 years.

 

We couldn’t be more thrilled to help transform their new home from drab and dated to fresh and beautiful! Our big plans for this space includes:

 

 

  • Opening up the kitchen by taking down the wall separating the kitchen from the living room (see previous post with some visuals for how we are accomplishing this)
  • Relocating the laundry room
  • Transforming all the bathrooms

 

 

We’re planning on posting the floor plans, layouts, and some of our initial designs in the coming weeks (along with the why behind our decisions), so stay tuned.  To whet your appetite, here’s a sneak peek into the unit.  As you can see, it is full of potential!

 

View of kitchen/living room of new condo.

Kitchen and dining room full view of demo with walls taken down

 

Different angle of kitchen/living room before construction.

Living room into hallway

 

Floor Plan Upgrades at #LugbillLanding

Today I wanted to walk you through the first level layout at #LugbillLanding, where construction is progressing beautifully.

 

I knew the home had the perfect floorplan for our family based off of the listing photos. I love how the space is open, with just the right amount of division. There were a couple of tricky areas that weren’t functional in their current form so I ended up breaking a couple rules.  I don’t regret it, though!  Before we get into my rule-breaking, here are the things I needed to solve for:

 

  1. Convert the sunroom into usable space
  2. Find space for a half bathroom on the first floor- I can’t be bothered going up or down a flight of stairs when nature calls
  3. Remove the wall between the dining room/kitchen- even with it being partially open, this wall was non-negotiable (despite Justin’s hesitations)
  4. Integrate more kitchen storage – it had a great footprint, but not a ton of storage 
  5. Make the ceiling height change work between the sunroom and kitchen (more on this later!)

 

With these things in mind, here are the “Design Crimes” I committed:

 

  1. I covered up a window. Not everything is about aesthetics.  Good design ensures optimal functionality.  To that light, because there were so many windows in the sunroom, the kitchen couldn’t be extended. The space is WAY more functional with that window gone, and there is still plenty of light!

 

  1. I put a toilet right off the kitchen. This was the only spot for a toilet, which is very typical for Chicago homes. This wasn’t the first offence on the premises.  There were old plumbing stubs already in the pantry space, so someone else committed the same crime at some point.

 

Location of Powder Bath

Powder Room off the kitchen.

 

Wall that must go!

The Wall That Had To Go!

 

During Demo

During demo…..Looking better already!

 

Progress photo of the Kitchen

Progress off the new kitchen with the wall gone.

 

View from Kitchen

View from inside the kitchen looking towards the foyer.

 

For those of you that are floor plan junkies- here is the layout of the first floor: 

 

Lugbill Landing’s Original Floor Plan

 

Lugbill Landing’s New Floor Plan

 

To wrap this up, remember if you are working on your own renovation there is always a balance between the aesthetics and the function.  In addition, you should always be thinking about how the changes you’re entertaining will impact resale value. Not every decision should be made based on this, as you have to consider the enjoyment and use you’ll get out of it.  However, it is an important variable to consider.  Last, take it from an interior designer that does residential remodels for a living:  The right thing for your home doesn’t necessarily need to follow the rules.

[PART 3] Guide To Getting Permits In Chicago: Residential Remodeling

Remodeling Permit
In part two of this article series “Guide to Getting Permits in Chicago”, we talked about why you may need to pull a permit for a residential remodel.  In this article, you will learn more about the necessary paperwork you have to prepare, how each process of securing a permit works, the cost of building permit fee, and the penalties for failure to obtain one or having an expired permit.

Step by Step Process: How To Get a Building Permit

After identifying what type of permit you need, you’re ready to go through to ordeal of obtaining it. Here are some of the options:

Easy Permit Process Program

How it works:

  • Fill out the application form. You can then submit this together with additional documentation (requires PIN no.) in one of the City Hall offices.
  • Be sure that the owner of the house duly signed the Easy Permit application form.
  • Also provide a copy of contract signed by the owner and the contractor together with a signed letter of intent for general contractors and/or plumbing contractors, as it may be applicable.
  • In this process, no appointment is required and and usually you may get the permit the same day you applied
  • A detailed flowchart containing the instructions for every step of the process is found here.

Standard Plan Review

How it works:

  • The application is submitted through E-Plan.
  • Only the architects, structural engineers and expediters are allowed to apply for a Standard Plan Review.
  • A detailed flowchart of the instructions to take when applying for plan review is found here.

Homeowners Assistance Program

This program is for owner-occupants of single-family homes who will personally apply for a building permit that requires plan and drawings (not subject to Easy Permit Process Program).

The permit registration may be done by your contractor but a representative of the City may still want to speak to you about your project. Make sure to always follow up with them and ensure that they actually got it before starting any construction process. Oftentimes, it is best if you arrange for your designer or contractor to pull permits, as they better understand the city’s timeline for approval and the requirements for the permit process and which project really needs a permit.

Residential Remodeling Permit Requirements

Here are the list of general and specific requirements you (depending on the scope of your home improvement project) need to accomplish for a successful application of Residential Remodeling Permit:

Easy Permit Process Program

Here is the required information that may be applicable for your residential remodelling project:

  • EPP Application including
  • Cook County PIN #
  • Electrical Application
  • Signed contract between owner & contractor
  • Original Letters of Intent from contractors
  • Proof of building ownership
  • Certificate of Responsibility for owner occupied residential bldgs.
  • Certificate of primary residence for owner occupied residential buildings
  • Photographs of areas of work
  • Plat of survey
  • List of required contractors
  • Notarized letters from owner and contractors for contractor changes
Note: *Also see this list on the flowchart, link provided above.

Homeowner’s Assistance Program

As this kind of application may include plans and drawings, it has a long list of requirements

General Requirements:

  • Building Permit Application
  • Plans
  • Project address printed on each sheet
  • Excavation certificate (for projects that include new or reworked foundations)
  • Plat of Survey
  • Certification of Primary Residence (certifies that the
  • Notarized Certification of Responsibility (only when The homeowner intends to act as the general contractor/subcontractor)
  • Aldermanic Acknowledgement Letter
  • Photographs of proposed area of work

Zoning Items Required:

  • Driveway Application (only if the project include alteration or addition of new driveway)
  • Zoning Approval for projects with drawings and plans

Energy Conservation Code Items Required

  • Energy Conservation Code Worksheet

Landmarks Commission Items Required

  • Landmarks Review (If the house is a landmark or is located in a landmark district

Architectural Items Required

  • Site Plan
  • Architectural Floor Plans
  • Wall Sections (provide a full wall section showing the elevation of all floor levels and the foundation wall for alteration and additions)
  • Building Elevations
  • Code Notes
  • Light and Vent Schedule

Structural Items Required

  • Porches (for porch plan)

Plumbing Items Required

  • Plumbing Fixtures (Plumbing fixtures on floor plans)
  • Plumbing Riser Diagrams
  • Plumbing Fixture Schedule (Specific details of all new fixtures)

Ventilation Items Required

  • Complete HVAC Plans
  • Ventilation Equipment Schedule

Electrical Items Required

  • Electrical Permit Application
  • Electrical Plans

For further information about the requirements , you can refer to this checklist. Always remember that if all of this is overwhelming, you can hire a contractor or an expeditor to do this for you.

Calculate The Cost of A Permit

The cost of securing a building permit from the Chicago City government is dependent on the type of construction project, the type of building and occupancy of the house, and the scope of project.

As of December 11, 2016, the building permit fees were increased. For ease of checking how much the permit fee may cost, a cost of permit calculator is available in City of Chicago website.

Important note:

To avoid penalties, start your construction within six months after the issuance of permit. If the construction did not start within the period, you should apply for a reinstatement of permit to carry on the construction. Note that this application is subject to approval by a City Hall Building Department supervisor.

Here are the details on the applicable fees:

  • After 6 months up to 12 months, 25% of the original fee is charged to extend the permit.
  • After 12 months and less than 3 years, 50% of the original fee is charged to extend the permit.
  • After 3 years and less than 5 years, 75% of the original fee is charged to extend the permit.
  • After 5 years, 100% of the original fee is charged to extend the permit.

(source)

What Happens if You Fail to Get a Residential Remodeling Permit

Failing to get a residential remodeling permit might subject you to certain circumstances such as:

  • The City issuing a stop work order on your project;
  • If there is a loan to finance the project, lender may decide to end the contract
  • A prospective buyer, who has the right to ask about the obtained permits, backing out of a deal

While we made this guide to assist in the permit process, please realize that you should always review the updated requirements, as these can change frequently. You can check for updates from the Chicago City hall website.

[PART 2] Guide To Getting Permits In Chicago: Residential Remodeling

Guide To Getting Permits In Chicago

In the previous article, we covered the types of projects that require securing a building permit in Chicago. In general, things that do not involve electrical, plumbing or excavation work, are often waived from the permit requirement. That said, it is important to check the requirements, per your unique situation.

If you decide that you need a permit for your next home improvement project, this article from Lugbill Designs, a Chicago-based high-end residential remodeling and interior design firm, will help you identify the permit application process you have to apply for.

1. Easy Permit Process

As a rule of thumb, a home improvement project that does not need an architectural plan will fall under the Easy Permit Process. This is a streamlined process of securing building permit for small and simple improvement projects. It allows replacement or repair of some or existing features of the building.

You can use the Easy Permit Process for the following project types:

A. Interior Projects :

  • Replacement of drywall that measures more than 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Furnaces
  • Replacement of existing plumbing fixture
  • Electrical work from a licensed electrician
  • Replacement of cabinets and countertops
  • Scaffolding

B. For Projects Outside the Building:

  • Replacements of doors and windows in same location within buildings with 4 or more dwelling units
  • Non-masonry fences with a height of greater than 5 ft. or above
  • Sheds that have electrical permit and greater than 70 sq. ft.
  • Detached garages
  • Wood trash enclosures
  • Porches
  • Masonry work from mason contractors
  • Tuckpointing from mason contractors (may require a pollution prevention permit for masonry cleaning and grinding)
  • Roofs (For additional layer, hire a general contractor to perform the work. For total tear-off, employ an Illinois-licensed roofing contractor)
  • Fire damage to buildings with 24% damage or less
  • Repairs for lintel with a maximum opening of 6’-0” (may require mason contractor)

2. Standard Plan Review

This is for renovation projects that require drawings and plans. A standard plan review is needed when there is new construction, additions, alterations, rehabilitation, and repairs for all building types, with the exception for residential hi-rise and commercial buildings that are 80 ft high. It requires architects to prepare drawings and documents for the review process

Note: *Remember that all building permit applications require a Zoning approval.

 

All Standard Plan Review applications are submitted through the city’s Electronic Plan review system, E-Plan. To ensure compliance, each project is assigned a Project Manager, who serves as the applicant’s point-of-contact throughout the permit process.

For the steps in the Standard Plan Review, see the Standard Plan Review Flowchart.

These are the general projects that requires a Standard Plan Review:

  • Buildings that not exceed 80 feet high
  • 150,000 sq. ft. (maximum) business and mercantile projects
  • Residential projects with a maximum of 40 dwelling units
  • Foundations and excavations of up to 12 feet deep only
  • Removal of non-load bearing walls
  • Includes the Small Project Program and Self-Certification Permit Program
  • Green elements are required to use Green Permit Program
  • Green roof, wind turbines, solar panels, rainwater harvesting, geothermal heating and cooling are not allowed.

3. Developer Services

Moderate to complex construction projects require special needs, and Developer Services is designed to meet them. To manage the application process, a Project Administrator is assigned to serve as a single point of contact. The process also requires the plan to be reviewed by a third party plan review firm, the cost of which is additional to the building permit fee.

E-Permits

E-Permits is a faster means of processing applications. Use this portal to process any of the following.

  1. E-Permitting
  2. Online Intake
  3. Appointment Scheduling
  4. Creating a Permit Application

It requires an individual to establish login information, in order to access these files. It can be used by the homeowner, licensed contractors (i.e. architects, structural engineers, expeditors, electric companies, electricians, plumbing journeyman, etc.

Next up is filling out the necessary paperwork needed to obtain the needed permits for your Chicago remodeling project. This will be the topic of our final article in this 3-part series.

[PART 1] Guide To Getting Permits In Chicago: Residential Remodeling

Guide To Getting Permits In Chicago: Residential Remodeling

Are you planning to remodel or renovate your home? If so, you may have to secure a permit.

To get you around all the ins and outs of getting the necessary permit, Lugbill Designs, a high-end residential remodeling and interior design firm in Chicago, prepared this article to guide you on the different types of permits, the how to’s and the requirements before starting a residential remodeling project.

Read more

Top 20 Chicago Celebrity Houses

Top 20 Chicago Celebrity Houses

Chicago is popular for its amazing architecture, awesome views, and rich historical background.  All of these attributes attract a good amount of celebrities, which call the largest city in Illinois (and the Midwest), their home.  The city’s vibrant business environment, sports, and entertainment options means that residents are graced by movie stars, sports giants, and politicians alike.

A Peek Into the Homes of Famous Celebrities In Chicago

Barack Obama’s Home

Barack Obama's Home Interior

1. Barack Obama’s Home

Before he became president of the United States, Barack and Michelle lived in Hyde Park, located at the near south side of Chicago. Both of the couple’s daughters, Malia Ann and Natasha were born while the family lived in Chicago.

 

Ann Lurie Dearborn Mansion

Ann Lurie Dearborn Mansion Interior

 2. Ann Lurie Dearborn Mansion

The philanthropist and widow of Robert H. Laurie decided to sell her Chicago residence and move to Wyoming after her husband died. However, she lived in Chicago for many years. Their Dearborn mansion was listed for $18,750,000 – and is still on the market today for a cool $11,000,000 less.

 

Vince Vaughn Palmolive Building Penthouse

Vince Vaughn Palmolive Building Penthouse Interior

3. Vince Vaughn Palmolive Building Penthouse

When the comedic legend Vince Vaughn purchased his 12,000 square foot, five bedroom penthouse on North Michigan Avenue, he paid $12 million for it in 2006. It is a spectacular triplex, with plenty of features. It has billiard room, a room for playing cards, a film screening room, two kitchens, four bedrooms and a master suite. It has wood paneled rooms, hardwood flooring, panoramic views of the city, and an office that belonged to Hugh Hefner when he worked there with Playboy Enterprises.

Jonathon Brandmeier River North Mansion

Jonathon Brandmeier River North Mansion Interior

4.Jonathon Brandmeier River North Mansion

Brandmeier, famed for his Jonathon Brandmeier Show, and his wife Lisa purchased their home in 2007 in River North. The house is 11,000 square feet with 5 bedrooms, 6 full baths, and 4 half baths with his-and- hers dressing rooms, a theater, gym, an in-unit elevator for accessing the home’s 6 levels, 6 fireplaces, a gourmet kitchen and formal dining room.

Kelsey Grammer Rented Gold Coast Apartment

Kelsey Grammer Rented Gold Coast Apartment Interior

5.Kelsey Grammer Rented Gold Coast Apartment

When Kelsey Grammer was filming Boss, in Chicago, he rented a Gold Coast apartment for $15,000 a month. He lived in Chicago during 2012, spending several months in the three bedroom condo. The show was cancelled in 2012 and the condo was listed for sale.

Harold Ramis Glencoe Mansion

 

6. Harold Ramis Glencoe Mansion

Harold Ramis, famous for his comedy, directing, and writing, was a native Chicagoan. He and his wife purchased the 8,357 square foot mansion in Glencoe in 1996 for $1.9 million. It has and has beautiful Palladian windows, two sun rooms, a great room, four fireplaces, a bonus room, and six bedrooms. Ramis died in 2014, and in 2015 his widow put the mansion sale on the market listed for sale at $2.5 million.

Mavis Staples South Shore Apartment

7. Mavis Staples South Shore Apartment

Mavis Staples and the Staples Singers are gospel pop legends. She has a Grammy lifetime Achievement award and her apartment walls are lined up with mementos of her 50 years of singing.

Walt Disney Birthplace

Walt Disney Birthplace Interior

8. Walt Disney’s Birthplace

Elias and Flora, Walt Disney’s parents, bought the empty lot on Tripp Avenue in the Hermosa neighborhood of Chicago, paying $700. Elias built it by hand and Flora designed it. It was a simple two story home, and brother Walt and Roy were born in it.

Hugh Hefner's Original Playboy Mansion

Hugh Hefner's Original Playboy Mansion Interior

9. Hugh Hefner’s Original Playboy Mansion

Hugh Hefner, a Chicagoan, bought the 1899 State Parkway manor in 1959 and lived there until 1970, when he moved to Los Angeles. Even after moving, his enterprise’s headquarters remained in the Second City. The original Chicago playboy mansion costs $400,000, complete with a basement pool. The pool was a bit of a challenge to build, as it took quite some time to convince city officials that the pool was purely for his personal use.

R. Kelly Olympia Fields Mansion

R. Kelly Olympia Fields Mansion Interior

10. R. Kelly Olympia Fields Mansion

R. Kelly is a famed singer with a net worth estimated at $150 million. He has a dream home in Chicago, valued $5 million. which has 11,140 square feet. It has 5 bedrooms and 7 baths. It features hardwood floors, a tropical themed swimming pool, outdoor tennis courts, entertainment area under a gazebo, and fantastic views of the lake and surrounding landscape

Billy Corgan Highland Park Chateau

11. Billy Corgan Highland Park Chateau

Billy Corgan, the lead performer in the Smashing Pumpkins, purchased the 9,606 square foot mansion in Normandy chateau style, which was a design of a Chicagoan, architect David Adler. It features 18 rooms on six acres, which includes Lake Michigan beach frontage.

12. Steve Harvey Luxury Penthouse

Steve Harvey rented a 6,400 square foot penthouse at the Trump International Hotel and Tower to film “The Steve Harvey Show”. His penthouse included three bedrooms, five and one half bathrooms, a chef’s kitchen, first class appliances, a butler’s pantry, three fireplaces and 16-foot-high ceilings.

Jennifer Hudson Burr Ridge Mansion

13. Jennifer Hudson Burr Ridge Mansion

Jennifer Hudson is a Chicago girl through and through. Her home base has been Chicago, even if she’s upgraded a bit since achieving stardom. Her current estate was built in the style of a castle. It has stone exteriors and rounded turrets on top, a floating spiral staircase, a movie theater, a laundry room, complete with exquisite Brazilian cherry wood floors. The warm woods are a beautiful contrast to the white grand piano in the music room. It is a 12,000 square feet of luxury surrounded by beautiful landscaping in the Burr Ridge area.

Oprah Winfrey Water Tower Place

Oprah Winfrey Water Tower Place Interior

14. Oprah Winfrey Water Tower Place

The 56th and 57th floors contain the 9,625 square foot former residence of Oprah Winfrey, located at Water Tower Place. Though it looks like a condo, it is actually a home with four bedrooms. It features two kitchens, several living areas, five bathrooms and two half baths, an entire floor dedicated to her master suite, and access to the Carlton Club at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. She sold the living complex in November 2015 for $4.65 million

Barack Obama Kenwood Neighborhood Home

15. Barack Obama Kenwood Neighborhood Home

Barack Obama’s home in Kenwood was his permanent residence before he assumed his duties as the 44th United States President. Barack’s home features a red brick exterior with white columns and window trim. The front entry door is arched, with beautiful white stone in Georgian styling around it. It is surrounded by lovely evergreens, and a black wrought iron fence. He was State Senator when he lived there, and many tourists now come there to share a bit of history.

Dwyane Wade South Holland Home

16. Dwyane Wade South Holland Home

He had a 7,800 square foot home with his wife and their two children, until he filed for divorce. His wife received a very large settlement and the $1.2 million home. The house features six bedrooms, seven baths, a home theater, a sauna and exercise room, a pool and a guest house with two bedrooms. The home recently went into foreclosure.

Cusack Family Evanston Home

Cusack Family Evanston Home Interior

17. Cusack Family Evanston Home

The family has owned the home for 40 years, and the famous actors grew up in it. It was built in 1910 and had five bedrooms. It sold for $940,000, after John’s father and famous filmmaker Dick Cusack died. The house has leaded glass windows, expansive picture windows, hardwood floors, beautiful crown moldings, two lovely sun porches and a large backyard. The staircase is original to the home, and the master suite is vaulted. There are also elegant fireplaces and beautifully crafted woodwork throughout. It is situated on the lakefront, with a quarter acre of landscape.

John Cusack’s Gold Coast Condo

John Cusack’s Gold Coast Condo Interior

18. John Cusack’s Gold Coast Condo

The actor previously owned a condo located on the 56th floor of the Elysees Condominium building. It is a 2,600 square foot stunner that has unit has three bedrooms, plus three baths, a party room, a fitness center and sauna, an outdoor pool and sundeck, plus 31 windows which reach from the floor to the ceiling.

Charles Edward Ringling Historic Mansion

Charles Edward Ringling Historic Mansion Interior

19. Charles Edward Ringling Historic Mansion

The famous Ringling Brothers Circus ringmaster built this home for his family in 1913, but it was used for nuns and priests for decades as well. The architectural features have been well preserved over the years. The home’s classic features include an arched entry way with beveled glass door, warm wood floors, an entry hall with craftsman style staircase, a sitting room with coffered ceiling and ornate fireplace, a private library with enclosed, beveled glass bookcases and a fireplace, a dining room with wood wainscoting and a beautiful chandelier, an island kitchen fully stocked with modern appliances and lighting, a breakfast room with built-in cabinetry, a sunroom lined with a row of windows and beautiful wood beamed ceiling, an upstairs billiard room, plus upstairs bedrooms and baths fitted with the finest cabinetry and moldings, plus a detached three car garage with upstairs apartments. The home is now for sale for the asking price of $2.9 million

Michael Jordan’s Mansion

Michael Jordan’s Mansion Interior

20. Michael Jordan’s Mansion

Though Michael Jordan purchased a new home in North Carolina, he still owns a spectacular mansion just outside of Chicago in Highland Park. Jordan lived in the mansion for about 20 years and raised his family there. The mansion was built in 1995 and features all the things you would expect from a basketball legend.
It has a regulation size basketball court, a large home gym, nine bedrooms, fifteen bathrooms, a cigar room and a garage with capacity for 14 cars.

Did you find this article interesting? Got ideas to share? Send us your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

A Quick Pick-Me-Up: Window Treatments

Windows are easily overlooked in most people’s homes. By adding a little pizzazz to your windows, you can take your space from drab to fab!  As we’re designing for our Chicago interior design clients, windows are some of the lowest hanging fruit, in terms of making maximum impact for minimal budget.

There are countless options when it comes to sprucing up your windows. Do you want to add curtains just because you think they look beautiful (I am totally guilty of this!), or are you looking for a more functional option (i.e. blocking sunlight, or providing privacy from nosy neighbors)? There are so many fun ways to dress up your windows, from roller & roman shades, to blinds & curtains. Yes, it is possible to have functionality, AND be aesthetically pleasing.

Looking for specifics?  Here are some of the options you have when it comes to your windows.

RollerShade2_Open

Roller Shades

flat-roman-shades

Roman Shades

blinds

Blinds

curtains

Curtains

 

My personal favorite is a combination of roller/roman shades and curtains. The curtains add a soft and beautiful frame for the shades.  Designer tip: Don’t be afraid to mix different window treatments! It’s what give your space character, and maximizes functionality.  For example:

 

Vial_home_1 (1)

Roller shades & curtains combo

wicker_park_bedroom

Roman shades & curtains combo

 

 

 

No matter what you choose, make sure to personalize them to match your unique style and needs.  And of course, have fun with it – go with the option that you think will best suit your lifestyle/space!

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