Boffi Chicago takes a formidable Windy City design challenge—crafting interiors worthy of a home in one of Mies van der Rohe's most renowned architectural masterpieces—with jaw-dropping results.
Floor-to-ceiling windows make the most of the home’s jaw-dropping Lake Michigan views.
You don’t just live at 900-910 North Lake Shore Drive, iconic architect Mies van der Rohe’s extraordinary twin glass-and-steel towers from 1955—you become a caretaker of one of the most extraordinary examples of modernist architecture of our time. As such, in an ideal world, residents would strive to create an abode worthy of van der Rohe himself (or at least not make him turn over in his grave at Graceland Cemetery).
A vintage Ole Wanscher dining table for A.J. Iverson and vintage Knoll Saarinen dining chairs in Holland & Sherry fabric pop against artwork (including a painting by the client himself, at left) in the dining area.
No worries there, when it comes to the latest project by Ellen Hurst of Boffi Chicago, who found herself with the mission of updating a residence in 900 for a client whose standards were nearly as exacting as the master himself. “It’s rare when you find a client that has this level of design taste and not be in the design industry,” marvels Hurst.
A KWC Livello faucet and gorgeous countertops and backsplash by Terrazzo & Marble Supply Co. complement Boffi shelving and cabinetry in the kitchen.
“Hours were spent discussing and obsessing over the smallest detail—a curtain sheer, a stone panel to cover an electrical control panel, the graining of a fossilized wood for the office cabinetry, etc. When a client trusts you, and you trust the client, the project is bound to be a success.”
A tufted ottoman by De Padova takes pride of place in the primary bedroom along with wall-hung cabinetry from Boffi Chicago and artifacts from the client’s collection.
As van der Rohe himself said, “God is in the details,” and so it went with this project, whose goal was simple, says Hurst: “To update the unit, keeping the very Miesian details throughout, [resulting in] a clean, minimal backdrop for the client’s art and objects collected throughout the years.” Also to be showcased? The unit’s magnificent Lake Michigan views.
The living room serves as a sumptuous showcase of the client’s collection of art and antiques, including a vintage Angelo Mangiarotti coffee table; vintage Florence Knoll sofa, chair and ottoman; Glas Italia end table; and African pots sourced from Douglas Dawson Gallery.
“The building has thin walls made out of plaster, which is particularly challenging with any wall-hung cabinetry or shelving,” notes Hurst, the lead designer for Boffi Chicago on the project.
The study exudes coziness with touches like a vintage Florence Knoll sofa, chair and ottoman; Knoll Saarinen coffee table; floor lamp by Isamu Noguchi; custom bookcase by Peter Hawrylewicz of PH Design Studio; and rug by J. Iloulian Rugs.
“Walls needed to be opened and new wood blocking installed. Plus, the ceilings are only 8 feet with no technical room above, so we had to be very strategic when placing surface-mounted lighting.”
In the primary bathroom, floating cabinetry by Boffi Chicago anchors the soothing space.
“It’s interesting to see how much of the client’s own personal taste is evident throughout the apartment,” notes Hurst, “especially given that most of the spaces are outfitted by Boffi. It shows the versatility of the Boffi brand and how customizable the design can really be.”
The verdict? Miesian mission accomplished—and then some. “The client is extremely pleased with the final outcome,” says Hurst, adding, “so much so that he has purchased a larger unit several floors above to start the process all over again. We will be renovating that space with a move-in expected fall 2022. You spend so many hours obsessing over the details and design that it’s almost sad to see a project finish. We’re very excited to start collaborating on this newest home.”
Custom shelving and desk by Boffi Chicago combine with an assortment of antique Vietnamese ceramics and Khmer bronzes to make for a most memorable office workspace.
High-rise condo on Lake Michigan
INTERIORS & MILLWORK
PLASTERWORK & PAINTERS
Top Line Construction Renovations Inc.
Primary bath and powder room wall tiles
Powder room faucet
Living room vintage office chairs, bronze end table
Living room glass end table
J. ILOULIAN RUGS
Various textiles and furniture pieces
TERRAZZO & MARBLE SUPPLY CO.
Various countertops, primary closet dresser stone
Kitchen, powder room and primary bath Maximum collection tile