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Major Minimalism

Empty nesters turn their apartment into a sleek space for two - and a fine setting for entertaining their brood

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The furniture—much of it custom designed by Todd Webb at Dirk Denison, echoes the larger design of the apartment and can be easily adapted to many situations. In the family room, the coffee table/seating pieces come together as a multilevel coffee table (complete with drawer and hidden storage). They can be pushed apart and into corners when the owners entertain.  ::: view gallery

How do you redefine a 1920s co-op that hasn’t changed significantly since it was built and that has been home to a family of seven for more than 30 years?

Such was the dilemma faced by Meryl Lyn and Chuck Moss, a pair of adventurous empty nesters. When they moved into their 4,000-square-foot Streeterville apartment way back when, it was just what they needed for their growing family—plenty of space, including six bedrooms. Except for a kitchen remodel, they didn’t change a chair rail, dentil, or doorknob during that time.

When the youngest of their five children moved out 11 years ago, the Mosses decided it was time for something new—six bedrooms were too much. Yet the couple didn’t want to sell their home, which is close to the lake, a block away from the Magnificent Mile, and four blocks from their offices. Both work full-time—Meryl Lyn is owner of a water cooler company; her husband owns an online wholesale pricing source for tires. They often entertain their 11 grandchildren, four of whom live in California. Chuck likes to fix things and take photographs; Meryl Lyn enjoys collecting art. They both love traveling and try to take two major trips overseas a year.

Meryl Lyn, who wanted a streamlined apartment with a meditative feeling, learned about architect Dirk Denison from a mutual friend. After talking to Denison, she decided he could create the Zen-like space she wanted. “He doesn’t do cookie-cutter homes,” she says. “He listens to the people he designs for.”


Photograph: Alan Shortall


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