Making It Work

With a few shrewd moves, an architect improves—majorly—on a gut-rehabbed Wicker Park house

(page 2 of 3)

Behind the Scenes

Graceful Entrance

A wall of wood cabinetry near the entrance
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Using a wall of cabinetry as a backdrop is a common move for architect Kathryn Quinn. Here the built-in begins right where the front door opens, with an elegant display shelf that creates an instant foyer; the walnut structure then goes on to make up an entire wall of the living room. The wood provides a warm contrast to the adjacent steel staircase, and the setup offers a plethora of storage options: the first doors open to a coat closet; next is a TV cabinet; another section has double rods for jackets; and an upper level of compartments offers yet more hiding places. Quinn created a similar wall of cabinetry for the master bedroom.


Staircase, bathroom, and bedroom details
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1. One of the strongest features of the house is the staircase, which Quinn did not change except to paint the steel and replace the treads to match the dark wood floors. She did, however, widen the bridge that connects the front and back of the house (it used to line up exactly with its upstairs twin) and open up the entrance to the kitchen. 2. Throughout, Quinn limited the number of materials and kept them simple. In the guest bathroom, she extended the quarter-sawn oak floor all the way up one wall—wrapping the counter with it—and used Thassos stone tiles in the shower. 3. In the master bedroom (which got a whole new look thanks to another of Quinn’s door-relocating strategies), the built-in walnut bed is made up of a frame, a headboard, nightstands, and a low storage bench—one completely unified, functional, and gorgeous unit.

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Photography: Nathan Kirkman
Styling: Susan Victoria

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