PROJECT INTERIORS LUXURIOUSLY SOFTENS NEW CONDO BUILDING ILLUME’S INDUSTRIAL-CHIC BONES IN A WARM, WELCOMING FAMILY RETREAT.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
“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.
Condo design and build
Konrad’s Paint Effects
Kitchen and dining room lighting, bedroom furniture
Window coverings (made by Basia Frossard Projects) and dining room banquette
ONE KINGS LANE
Living room coffee table
Living room salvaged wood stumps
Living room rugs, linen sofas
Living room wallpaper
VERN + VERA
Vintage chrome swinging arm sconce
Living room and master bedroom art