Home Improvement

What makes a house “horny”?

When Jolita Leonas-Arzbaecher was planning her new penthouse in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, she gave her design team some very specific instructions.

“My home has to be as unique, dramatic and unique as I am,” she told them. “Dramatic in the sense of fascinating, unexpected and powerful.”

The grandiosity was not lost. “How’s that for me to brag?” she joked recently.

Joking aside, Ms. Leonas-Arzbaecher, 65, an agricultural landowner and philanthropist with an interest in inclusive and preventive medicine, views her home as an extension of herself, and she wanted the 400-square-foot apartment to be something really unusual.

“My home is part of me,” she said. “My art is part of me.”

Recognition…Michelle Litvin for the New York Times

Although the apartment was built as part of a development project that transformed a 1930s Art Deco parking garage into luxury condominiums and expanded it, it signed a deal in 2017 to purchase the unit as raw space for $ 3.3 million Dollar. Graduations would never satisfy them.

She then hired Kevin Toukoumidis, an architect and founding director of Chicago-based dSpace Studio, to make it the modernist home of her dreams.

“If you get in early, there is an opportunity,” said Mr Toukoumidis. “We were brought in before the steel was erected and the concrete floors poured. So the opportunity was that we could redesign and reinvent this floor plan. “

He worked with the developer for two years to customize the design of the unit before bringing in his own builder, Fraser Construction, to complete the job. And he spent hours talking to Ms. Leonas-Arzbaecher and figuring out the design details that would make her happy.

“For me, designing a home for our clients is all about this intimate process,” said Toukoumidis. “You have to understand the customer’s lifestyle today, but more importantly, helping them think about how they will live in the future.”

In this case, he heard loud and clear his customer’s desire for a breathtaking interior full of ornate accents, metallic accents and flawless, white surfaces. And he designed a four-bedroom house that Mrs. Leonas-Arzbaecher found almost unconscious.

“Kevin has this incredible ability to wear a psychologist’s hat,” she said. “Sometimes I felt like he knew me better than I did.”

Mr. Toukoumidis laid a floor of oversized white porcelain tiles and added a gas fireplace open on all sides in the center of the room, wrapped in steel bars with panels of blackened oak. “It’s visible from the family room, the dining room, and even the kitchen,” he said.

He used the same materials to create a pantry with a hatch that allows it to serve as a bar for entertainment. For the kitchen, he worked with Poliform to build counters and cabinet doors in white Corian, and then added a wall of cabinets made of metallic lacquer and a backsplash of satin mirror to accommodate Ms. Leonas-Arzbaecher’s request for a little shimmer.

The primary suite has a large dressing room with glass and metal grille doors, a bedroom with asymmetrical light boxes in the headboard wall, and a minimalist, spalike bathroom made of white porcelain, white Corian, and clear glass.

On the recommendation of Mr. Toukoumidis, Ms. Leonas-Arzbaecher commissioned Project Interiors with the procurement of fashionable furniture, lavish materials and customer-specific works of art in order to further personalize the space. Aimee Wertepny, the owner of the project, and Jennifer Kranitz, the main designer of the project, were immediately impressed by Ms. Leonas-Arzbaecher’s enthusiasm for daring design.

“‘Show us what you’ve got’ was a kind of MO,” said Ms. Wertepny. “She really wanted to see how we can push the limits.”

“The word ‘sexy’ was used a lot,” added Ms. Kranitz.

They designed a 26-foot sofa that winds its way across two walls of a seating area, with a wavy seat that Ms. Leonas-Arzbaecher and her guests can seat, regardless of whether they want to sit or spread out. Above the sofa, the walls are littered with bronze-colored ball chains by Beth Kamhi, an artist, that reach to the cushions and fall to the floor at one end.

In the master bedroom, they asked Studio BK to give the walls a thick finish of smoky plaster of paris. “We wanted something textural and almost reptilian,” said Ms. Kranitz. “It feels very humid. It’s a super moody room. “

To filter the light in the main living room, they installed mesh curtains over the floor-to-ceiling windows. Wall coverings that resemble metals, picturesque lines, and animal skins have been added for the walls and ceilings in more intimate spaces.

When Ms. Leonas-Arzbaecher moved into her new apartment in November 2019, she had spent about $ 1.6 million. The daily dividend for that investment? Live in a space that is precisely tailored to your personality.

“I go in and just say, ‘I’m home,” “she said. “I absolutely love it because home is such a reflection of me.”

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