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High Definition

A bachelor’s penthouse combines pure modernism with luxury on a grand scale

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A bank of 14 floor-to-ceiling windows floods the apartment with natural light and creates a sense of openness, enhanced by a neutral color scheme. Photo Gallery :::

Recipe for a sophisticated bachelor pad: Start with a sprawling penthouse space in the 28-story Montgomery, in River North. Mix muscular materials—limestone, chiseled quartz, dark wood—with streamlined modern furniture. Add sweeping city views and a professional-caliber wine cellar.

The final ingredient? Trust.

“It was a challenging project,” says the homeowner, Tom Steffanci, chief operating officer for a company that imports and exports luxury wines. “I really like a modern style with clean lines, open space, and a sense of tranquility. I also wanted my eye drawn to the view without the distraction of walls or too much furniture.” But while he had a general idea of what he wanted, it was difficult to visualize how it would all come together. Steffanci entrusted his vision to designer Joseph Sacco of JS Interiors Group, whose goal was to create a home that looked modern but not sterile. “Modernism and minimalism aren’t the same thing,” he says. “You shouldn’t walk into someone’s home and feel like you have to put on rubber gloves and a lab coat.”

The raw, open space—with 13-foot ceilings and an entire wall of floor-to-ceiling windows—lent itself to grand plans. But starting with a blank slate required a leap of faith for Steffanci. “The challenge was to get him to understand the scale and perspective we were working with,” says Sacco. “Some of the furniture looked huge in the store, but you have to compete with the view.”

To keep the open feel, Sacco designed room dividers that allow anyone standing in the central living and dining area to see through to the media room on one side and the master bedroom on the other. (Pocket doors of translucent glass can be pulled out to make the bedroom private when necessary.) “It feels like the entire house is open and accessible,” says Steffanci. “People are invited to wander around, and I like that." 

A massive nine-by-five-foot kitchen island, topped with Pietra Cardosa soapstone, bridges the gap between the kitchen and the dining area. To make the kitchen fit aesthetically with the larger space, Sacco chose custom cabinets made of dark wenge wood from the Italian company Arclinea. Smooth steel handles lie flush with the surface, giving the cabinets a clean, polished look. Two ovens and a microwave are hidden under the island, with an integrated refrigerator and freezer drawers camouflaged behind the cabinetry. Open niches were added to make the tall bank of cabinets resemble display shelves in a living room or office. “It’s more about looking at the art than seeing appliances,” says Sacco.


Photography: Nathan Kirkman
Styling: Barri Leiner


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