A passionate art enthusiast finds the perfect showcase for his extensive collection in an eclectic Streeterville pied-à-terre by Centaur Interiors.
A 12-year working relationship with the client gave Centaur Interiors’ Michael Miller keen insight for their third collaboration together, a stunning Streeterville condo in the sky.
A banker whose collection of 150-plus artworks—from contemporary painting and sculpture to ancient Greek sculpture, fossils and even original comic book art—is displayed across multiple residences has a 12-year working relationship with Centaur Interiors principal Michael Miller. For their third project together, Miller was challenged with renovating the luminary’s 1,300-square-foot second home in a structure with a notable pedigree of its own: a sleek Streeterville high-rise by legendary architect Helmut Jahn.
The owner purchased Paul McCarthy’s nearly billboardsize photograph “Bavarian Deer” (1987-89) at auction without realizing it wouldn’t fit into the building’s elevator—so it was transported to the unit atop the elevator cab. The living room’s artful offerings also include Deborah Butterfield’s 1991 steel horse figure “Blue Boy,” Julie Tremblay’s 2011 wire sculpture “Red Handed,” a dress from Susan Cianciolo’s 2018 series RUN 12: God is a Jacket, and sculptures by Ursula von Rydingsvard and Math Bass.
The Centaur team’s mission: to create the ultimate sleek, clean, white backdrop for the client’s art collection while balancing the design with Jahn’s concrete and glass infrastructure. In doing so, Miller and team replaced the fl ooring, kitchen and master bathroom, and updated the lighting and guest bathroom as well as consulting on furnishings throughout the home to tie it all together in a small space.
In the library, shelves of art books and a collection of Mexican Santos figures from the 1800s provide a striking backdrop for Elad Lassry’s 2011 photograph “Coyfish” (top) and Christian Schumann’s 1997 ink and paper work “Whatever and Stuff” (bottom).
With a comparatively small 1,300 square feet to work with, size constraints were the main hurdle for Centaur. “Our goal was to maximize every inch, add task and art lighting within a concrete and glass envelope, and find unique and innovative places to showcase the art,” explains Miller, adding that additional challenges were posed by sourcing modern white wideplank European oak flooring to fl ow within the concrete walls and high-gloss white kitchen; and working with preexisting conditions, height constrictions and harmonizing the new finishes with the existing exposed concrete walls and ceilings.
The hallway to the master bedroom is a gallery in itself, showcasing works by (from left) Jim Shaw (“Poff! Crunk! Crak!” 2008, ink and graphite on paper), Susan Rothenberg (“Running with Leg” 1991-92), Dave Wood and Jack Kirby (“Sky Masters” 1958, original comic book art), and (on floor) an ancient Greek sculpture and a series of punk concert flyers from the 1980s.
“We solved the issue by sourcing the right stain and texture for the wood floors to bring clarity and warmth to the unit,” Miller says. “We also designed a custom white Eggersmann kitchen with integrated lighting to contrast the concrete walls and ceilings. Smart home technology was added to the home, incorporating automated shades, lighting control, HVAC and speakers. This helps keep the switches and wall clutter minimal, where the walls can display the art collection as the focal point of the home.”
The custom white Eggersmann kitchen boasts integrated lighting to contrast with the concrete walls and ceilings.
“Everything!” is Miller’s enthusiastic response when asked about the home’s most outstanding details. “The kitchen is completely impressive with the integrated appliances, lighting and hidden bar—it’s also extremely functional and a showpiece within itself. We wrapped the walls with millwork panels and integrated lighting and drywall details where art could be located and displayed. This is seamless.”
In the master bath, custom millwork panels and a floating vanity make for a unique, chicly contemporary space.
The verdict is unanimous: Collaboration no. 3 is a museumworthy success. Notes Miller of the client’s response, “The owner was ‘giddy with delight’ that we were able to transform the small condo to capture every element of space to integrate the custom finishes and artwork.”
Julian Schnabel’s “Winnie Fung” (1989, oil and plates on wood) takes pride of place in the master bedroom, joined by another dress (in closet) from Susan Cianciolo’s 2018 series RUN 12: God is a Jacket and (at right) Kenny Scharf’s “Untitled” (1988, oil painting).
ARCHITECTURE, BUILD DESIGN AND PLASTERWORK
MILLWORK (KITCHEN CABINETRY)
MILLWORK (MASTER BATH)
Modern Millwork Innovations (MMI)
APEX WOOD FLOORS
LIGHTOLOGY Various lighting
LUTRON Custom window shades
OSCAR ISBERIAN RUGS Living room area rug
POLIFORM Closets and bedroom furniture
PORCELANOSA Various tile
RENAISSANCE TILE & BATH Various tile