A dynamic pair of empty nesters turn to Nicholas Moriarty Interiors to rework a multiunit Lakeshore East condo into a personality-packed home for the entire family.
With arresting pops of color (including a striking painting by notable Georgian artist Gogi Lazarashvili) and an appealing mix of textures, the expansive living and dining area is as eye-catching as the gorgeous cityscape that surrounds it.
Having struck up a warm friendship with Nicholas Moriarty after the interior designer’s work on their former home in Wilmette years ago, a couple with five kids (including two they adopted while living in Brazil) returned to the designer when they decided to move downtown. “We talked often about doing a project in the future that really showcased the client’s personality and style,” says Moriarty. “Their blended family has had the privilege of experiencing so much life and culture, and it’s reflected in their philosophy on life and living.”
A pair of Juniper drop LED light fixtures help define the kitchen, which boasts sumptuous Leicht cabinets from Vesta.
Comfort while entertaining and living was key for the couple. “They wanted a city home that would allow them to travel more freely while still being a landing pad for their entire family,” notes Moriarty. “The home needed to be spacious with a focus on entertaining. The wife, a certified life coach, functional nutritionist and lifestyle practitioner, also needed a large and hyperfunctional kitchen, as cooking is a huge part of her daily work and home life. We reviewed this property with them prior to purchase and immediately saw the potential in the wide-open living space created by a previous renovation, which combined two units in the building.”
Fritz Hansen chairs highlight the dining area.
“At the closing walk-through, we quickly realized the lack of quality in the material finishes used in the previous renovations,” explains the designer. “In an hour, the project transitioned from a simple furnishing project to a full gut renovation.” Other issues the designer had to deal with? Incredibly low ceiling height and bad architectural lighting choices.
Artwork by Brazilian artist Élon Brasil adds visual intrigue to the hallway.
“Given our long-term relationship with these clients, we knew we’d be able to design the space quickly because our philosophies on design and life are in sync. We were basically able to design the property as if I was designing it for myself. The kitchen, for instance, which had our longest lead time, was designed in a weekend, signed off on and placed on order that week. The wife wanted the condo to have a light and airy feel while still being full of color, so we worked with a limited architectural palette to allow the furnishings and art to really shine. We also paid close attention to the architectural materials present in the stunning city views and used variations of those materials and colors in our architectural finishes. The kitchen, for instance, consists of matte lacquer and a handtrowled stone finish meant to mimic the limestone facades of many of the buildings outside, while the Ocean Blue quartzite used on the kitchen counters and backsplash reflect the various shades of gray, blue and green that you so often see in Lake Michigan.” Lighting also played a major role, given the very low (less than 8-foot) ceilings. “We designed two drop LED light features over the main living space and kitchen island to give off necessary light while also defining the individual spaces. In the primary bathroom, one thing was nonnegotiable: a massive soaking tub. “We completely reconfigured this space and cannibalized a portion of the bedroom closet to extend the tub and shower area,” explains Moriarty. “Yet again, calming spalike materials were used to give the space a retreat quality.”
An inviting nook in the main seating area
“We think the kitchen is the standout showpiece of this home,” notes Moriarty, “but it has stiff competition from the generous seating area, which truly allows for lounging and entertaining.”
“The client is blown away by this condo on a daily basis,” sums up Moriarty. “It feels like a fully realized manifestation of her and her philosophy on life.”
The main bathroom beckons with classic Bianca Helena wall tile by Ann Sacks.
Multiunit condo renovation
Nicholas Moriarty Interiors
Paul Petersen Inc.
Lighting in primary bedroom
Custom media cabinet and dry bar
Wall tile in bathrooms
Vintage coffee table
THE FURNITURE GUILD
Primary bath cabinets
Sofas by Ligne Roset and Tacchini
Lighting in kitchen/dining room
Breakfast room custom built-in
LAMBERT & FILS
Breakfast room lighting
OSCAR ISBERIAN RUGS
TERRAZZO & MARBLE SUPPLY COMPANIES
Floor tile in bathrooms
Leicht kitchen cabinets
Photography by: Jill Buckner