A Family Affair

Kerrie Kennedy | December 21, 2017 | Feature Features National

When Dad is the contractor, a new home is a team project.
The wall unit was designed by Ilene Chase Design and installed by Specialty Woodworking. It covers Thibaut Grasscloth wallpaper.

WHEN YOUR FATHER is a well-known local contractor—Boris Levin of ABL Painting & Decorating—and you decide to build a home, you can bet it’s going to be everything you could ever dream of, and then some. “Ever since I was old enough to know what he did, I always wanted to build a home with my dad,” Iolanta Levin says. “It was always my dream. So when my second son was starting kindergarten, and my husband and I decided it was time to leave the city and head to the North Shore, my dad was the first person I called.”

After securing a lot equidistant from both sets of parents, Iolanta and her father began making plans for a house that would be a labor of love for both of them. But early on, she realized she needed an interior designer to help carry out her vision. Luckily, after walking through a stunning home that Ilene Chase had designed, she knew immediately the Northbrook-based designer would be the perfect person to round out the team.

Indeed, Chase was all in with the homeowner’s concept—an ultramodern, sleek home infused with warmth and personality by way of wood, texture, light and some eye-popping artwork. Keeping in mind Iolanta’s preference for neutral colors—her entire wardrobe consists of mostly white, black and gray—Chase chose a palette of taupe, gray, cream and white for the home, the perfect backdrop to showcase its details and architectural elements. “The goal was to create a relaxing mood with soft, simple colors throughout,” Chase says.

Once that was in place, Chase began creating a series of renderings for Iolanta to approve, while her father created actual mock-ups. “The details in this house were really like none other, so it was important,” Chase says. “We had a standing weekly appointment to go over everything. It was run like a business.” A self-described perfectionist to the nth degree, Levin says her father was on board for all of it. “My dad would say ‘anything is possible,’ and then whatever you dream up, he makes happen.”


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