Remaking a turn-of-the-century apartment building into a sophisticated paean to bachelor living ain’t easy. Just ask Greg Meyering. When the CPA and private investor bought a historic Logan Square greystone in 2004 on the neighborhood’s namesake boulevard, it was a shambles of small rooms, dark hallways, and wasted space.
“Let’s just say it needed help,” says the divorced 67-year-old. Back then, his two adult children lived on the first floor and his younger pair split their time between Mom’s place and Dad’s apartment on the upper two floors of this 6,000-square-foot building.
Nearly a decade later, with his older offspring launched into the world, Meyering decided it was time to make his house a unified home that reflects his peripatetic lifestyle. An avid ice climber and traveler, he wanted an eclectic showcase for artwork he’s found on trips to Africa and South America.
His eldest daughter connected him with Wicker Park–based SuzAnn Kletzien Design, and Meyering gave the decorator free rein over his abode. “I told SuzAnn the house was a blank canvas, to make it open and special,” he says. The only requirements: rooms for his kids, restored craftwork where possible, and lots of seating areas for the frequent parties he planned to host.
Since the building has city landmark status, Meyering had to wait a year for renovation permits to convert his property into a single-family home; he also went 50 percent over budget, spending close to $1.5 million. The three-floor house — now with three bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, and a full-floor suite — took more than three years to complete.
But all the attention to detail and artisanship was worth it. In fact, when Meyering’s home was included in last year’s Logan Square Preservation’s annual house walk, some 1,200 people dropped by, often waiting in line.
Kletzien enlisted architect Dan Miller and builders Marlin and Mike Olson to open up the first floor with a continuous flow of rooms that are delineated by furnishings instead of walls. “It took many guys working for four months just to do the woodwork,” Meyering says, pointing to the crown moldings and staircase banister, carved with dainty spindles.
Since the rehab’s completion in 2016, Meyering has hosted at least half a dozen parties a year. During the Super Bowl, the holidays, or a soiree to honor a friend’s attempted Everest summit, up to 50 guests have spilled across the main floor and its various lounges, from a wood-lined sunroom to a dignified conversation room. Each shows off Meyering’s affinity for luxe materials, like velvet, marble, and hide.
In the private quarters upstairs, every room was designed with a specific resident in mind, and yet it all works together. On the second floor (“the kids’ floor,” as Meyering calls it), a second sunroom — with a rattan swing — is a cheerful spot for his 15-year-old son to make Lego projects. His 17-year-old daughter chills in a princess lair complete with an iron canopy bed and a chandelier shaped like a pirate ship. “She wanted a say in the look of her room, and she got what she wanted,” Meyering notes.
But the biggest wow factor is the third floor, which is dedicated to the homeowner. Most striking is a den with Robert Crowder marbleized wallpaper that evokes the hypnotic swirls of Jupiter. To add warmth, Kletzien brought in brass-footed side tables, pale blue high-back chairs, and a sapphire sofa. The wood-burning fireplace also helps.
The handsome space is attached to the cozy master bedroom, where a tiger-print cowhide rug is splayed on the floor. One odd detail here: a massive but mostly empty closet, with another door at its rear. “I have a secret section for my ice-climbing gear,” Meyering says, revealing his stash of clothing for completing ascents in South America and climbing Kilimanjaro.
The third sunroom, with turf tiles, a love seat swing, and mix-and-match all-weather furnishings, adds whimsy to the otherwise refined master suite. “It’s a three-season space that gives the home an ‘outdoor’ area, since there is no actual open-air lounge area,” Meyering says.
No tour is complete without a stop at a framed photo of a steep, icy mountain. In 2017, Meyering scaled a 17,631-foot peak in the Peruvian Andes; the picture reminds him of one of his life’s lessons. “Our worlds are so sheltered today,” he laments. “By putting risk back into my experience, I feel more alive.”
His gamble with a once-neglected building — now a lively space for friends and family — proves his philosophy can be applied at home as well. Though taking a risk on renovating another house may be out of the question. “I really don’t see me moving anytime soon,” he says.