This house is a little bit country and a little bit rock ’n’ roll,” says Larry Vodak, the creative force behind the recent remodel of this 19th-century Lincoln Park residence. He worked on the project with help from interior decorator Angela Stone. Their clients, a hotel developer and a stay-at-home mom, asked them to create a casual aesthetic that felt like Vodak’s Andersonville urban-antiques shop, Scout. “Larry’s design work is sensible and approachable,” the husband says. “He finds and repurposes pieces from closed schools, factories, and other places with unique back stories. It’s smart—and pure Americana. Plus, Larry is completely nuts and fun to work with. He’s so passionate about what he does.”
First up, the designers painted most of the first-floor walls white and stained the formerly orange-tinged hardwood floors a deep navy blue. “We wanted that rich contrast,” Stone explains, noting that they also had the stairway banister and interior doors painted black.
To re-create the Scout look, the designers selected a mix of mid-century furnishings, salvaged vintage pieces, and one-of-a-kind works by local artisans. “Larry has collected this amazing team of designers,” the wife says, pointing to a pendant lamp hanging just inside the front door. Made by Chicago artist Ted Harris, it’s a clear glass globe filled with colorful light bulbs, just one of several fixtures that Harris created for the family.
Although the three-level, five-bedroom house has plenty of space to entertain guests, the owners observed that visitors tended to congregate, a bit awkwardly, in the kitchen. To facilitate traffic flow, Stone recommended turning the adjacent dining room into a family room. “One of my strengths is figuring out how people live and how they want to live,” she says. Visitors now spill out into that area, furnished with a generously sized custom sectional and a bright-orange coffee table, while still feeling close to the kitchen action.
In the new dining room, formerly a parlor, the designers covered the walls with the husband’s eclectic art collection—a motley assemblage of framed paintings, photos, illustrations, and other “found” pieces. A vintage round steel table, paired with vintage Milo Baughman chairs, sits in front of the marble fireplace.
It’s a kid-friendly environment, Vodak points out, where the couple’s daughters, ages three and one, can finger-paint at the table, per their mother’s request. “Metal is easy to care for,” he says, “and when added smartly, it makes a place sing.”
The redone layout, color palette, and mix of pieces from different eras with new custom furnishings strike a pleasing balance of modern and rustic, and the homeowners say they are thrilled with the result. “Larry and Angela made an excellent team,” the wife says. “It felt like they belonged in our family.”
4 months ago