Traditional meets modern as Tumu Studio crafts a stylish sanctuary for a high-powered professional couple and their children.
In the living space, a custom-designed millwork piece in the form of a wall with slats smartly defines the home’s entry area.
The Lincoln Park power couple—he in finance, she an entrepreneur in the thick of launching her own business—hit it off with Tumu Studio founder, architect and interior designer Huili Feng over coffee on a frigid winter day. Shortly thereafter, the project took shape: transforming their heretofore uninspiring house into a stylish, unfussy sanctuary that would enable them to retreat from the frenetic pace of their professional lives.
To create an elegant, sophisticated and open living space that would be a warm, cozy and kid-friendly place to raise their two energetic, imaginative boys—but also serve as an effective launchpad office for the wife’s burgeoning company.
“As a design team,” notes Feng, “we’re known for our modern and minimalist aesthetic; our clients’ taste is more transitional. Creatively, we were excited by the primary overall challenge of embracing traditional elements in our more modern design to ensure that we were effectively creating a timeless forever home that would be effortlessly chic: comfortable, styled in their taste, and that would function for their family.” Another challenge, Feng says? To transform a long, narrow, open living space into four different functional areas: an entryway-lounge area, a main living space, a formal dining space and a kitchen. “The goal was to give each space its own character without feeling disjointed.”
Custom cabinets designed by Tumu Studio and crafted by O’Brien Harris lend a chic two-tone effect to the inviting kitchen.
Curation was key, reports Feng. “To achieve a cohesive palette, we had to carefully curate each furniture piece and design each detail for the right balance of traditional and modern aesthetic. To define the functional space, we added an arched doorway to distinguish the formal dining area from the kitchen, and a custom millwork entry piece to separate the entry from the living space.” A wall paneling pattern that runs throughout the space also creates cohesion and serves as a backdrop for art and furniture, and a darker wood stain for all the custom millwork throughout the house achieves a timeless look.
A Restoration Hardware chandelier and colorful art add elegance to the home’s dining room.
Art pieces sourced with neighbor and gallery owner Carrie Secrist add a whimsical touch throughout; and a custom-made cabinet anchors the main living space—and proved the perfect compromise for a marital sticking point. “The husband wanted a TV in the living room but the wife didn’t,” explains Feng, whose team responded with a stunning piece that anchors the room and doubles as a mantel, “and when it’s game or movie time, the doors slide open to reveal a television.”
Perryton pendants from Lightology dress up the kitchen and focus attention on the striking Carrara marble island counter.
The owners are over the moon, noting, “We liked transitional- style homes. Our designer pushed us to the more modern end of the transitional spectrum, and we love how it turned out.”
A custom cabinet designed by Tumu Studio and featuring millwork by Navillus Woodworks doubles as a mantel and creates an anchor for the living room.
Single-family home renovation
ARCHITECTURE AND INTERIOR DESIGN
Floor lamp in lounge
CARRIE SECRIST GALLERY
Various artwork throughout home
Living room side chair, daybed and coffee table
Lighting in kitchen and lounge
Living room rug, dining room chandelier
Photography by: Cynthia Lynn