PROJECT INTERIORS LUXURIOUSLY SOFTENS NEW CONDO BUILDING ILLUME’S INDUSTRIAL-CHIC BONES IN A WARM, WELCOMING FAMILY RETREAT.

THE CLIENT

Call it kismet: Already “obsessed with” design studio Project Interiors’ work, Melissa Erke and husband Ken became intrigued by new West Loop luxury building Illume—only to find out that Project was designing the lobby and helping select finishes in the units. That’s the only sign they needed: The pair jumped at the chance to work with principal Aimee Wertepny and team again, becoming the first to buy in the new property. Says Melissa of the project, “It all happened pretty serendipitously.”


Layered textures—including salvaged wood stumps from Pagoda Red—add serious coziness to the open living area of this 1,900-squarefoot condo in the West Loop’s Illume building. PHOTOGRAPHED BY AIMÉE MAZZENGA
Layered textures—including salvaged wood stumps from Pagoda Red—add serious coziness to the open living area of this 1,900-squarefoot condo in the West Loop’s Illume building.

THE PRIORITY

Notes Melissa, “Since we were in a new industrial building that was mostly concrete, our first priority was figuring out how to make it into a home. How can we add certain touches so it doesn’t just feel like another apartment? We wanted to make sure it felt special with a warmth and luxe feel to it.” Adds project lead and studio design director Lauren Warnock, “We picked up on that goal immediately, aiming to evoke something representative of Ken and Melissa’s personality, and ended up creating a space with a sophisticated, luxurious but livable vibe. And because we had worked with them in the past and that trust was there, we were given a lot of creative liberties as a designer.”


Handsome custom display shelving designed by Project Interiors and fabricated and installed by Demeter Millwork runs the length of the space PHOTOGRAPHED BY AIMÉE MAZZENGA
Handsome custom display shelving designed by Project Interiors and fabricated and installed by Demeter Millwork runs the length of the space.

THE CHALLENGE

“We had this beautiful concrete ceiling with exposed mechanicals that was part of the industrial, urban appeal of the unit,” explains Warnock, “but it provides some logistical and aesthetic challenges for the design where it dropped in height in some places. We had to get creative with the lighting system and how to disguise some of the mechanical elements. Once we established that we wanted to do the entire wall of built-ins in the living room, we used the lowest portion of the wall to create this datum that became integrated into the millwork.


Artwork by Gary Weidner stands out in the master bedroom. PHOTOGRAPHED BY AIMÉE MAZZENGA
Artwork by Gary Weidner stands out in the master bedroom.

THE DETAIL

Says Ken, “One moment I really enjoy is the dining nook with the custom circular banquette and brass chandelier—it’s one example of how they created more intimate moments within an open, industrial space.” Melissa is all about the art wall (“a gorgeous way to display our collection, and the lights are super sleek”) and the wallpapered bathroom. And for Wertepny, the living space’s floating Lucite bench is a highlight. “Aesthetically, it’s this wicked piece we had custom upholstered by Amanda Morrison of Colorblind Creative with black leather fringe that pools onto the floor. Functionally, you can sit on it and face the living room or the dining room depending on where the party’s at.”


The kitchen is a visual feast, with white cabinets, marble countertops and the clients’ own Lucite stools offset by an earthtoned ceiling covering by Phillip Jeffries and a pair of oversize pendant lights by SHO Modern PHOTOGRAPHED BY AIMÉE MAZZENGA
The kitchen is a visual feast, with white cabinets, marble countertops and the clients’ own Lucite stools offset by an earthtoned ceiling covering by Phillip Jeffries and a pair of oversize pendant lights by SHO Modern.

THE OUTCOME

“We absolutely love everything about this home,” enthuses Melissa of the finished product. “It’s hard to believe how Project turned this blank-space canvas into a warm and welcoming, yet very luxe, home. It’s a true testament to their work.”


An inviting nook in the living area. PHOTOGRAPHED BY AIMÉE MAZZENGA
An inviting nook in the living area.

DESIGN DETAILS

TYPE

Condo design and build

LOCATION

West Loop

ARCHITECTURE

Pappageorge Haymes

pappageorgehaymes.com

BUILDER

LG Development

lgdevelopmentgroup.com

INTERIOR DESIGN

Project Interiors

projectinteriors.com

MILLWORK

Demeter Millwork

demetermillwork.com

PAINTING

Konrad’s Paint Effects

708.246.1768

GREENERY

Sprout Home

sprouthome.com

RESOURCES

ARTERIORS

Kitchen and dining room lighting, bedroom furniture

arteriorshome.com

CARNEGIE

Window coverings (made by Basia Frossard Projects) and dining room banquette

carnegiefabrics.com

MODLOFT

Dining table

modloft.com

ONE KINGS LANE

Living room coffee table

onekingslane.com

PAGODA RED

Living room salvaged wood stumps

pagodared.com

RESTORATION HARDWARE

Living room rugs, linen sofas

rh.com

SCHUMACHER

Living room wallpaper

fschumacher.com

VERN + VERA

Vintage chrome swinging arm sconce

vernandvera.com

GARY WEIDNER

Living room and master bedroom art

garyweidner.com