An updated layout, layers of cozy textures, and a few pops of color turn a 1920s house into an inviting, contemporary home. 

For a historic home on Chicago’s North Shore, designer Amy Kartheiser focused on balancing the old and the new. “I wanted to keep a lot of the characteristics from the 1920s, when the house was built, to speak to its history,” she says. “Think of modern furniture with original moldings.” 

In the entryway and adjacent dining area, AKD painted an existing built-in cabinet black and added an antique-mirror backsplash, a new marble countertop, and integrated lighting. Glass shelves allow the entire unit to be illuminated. Nearby, an original Hunt Slonem Bunnies piece introduces the homeowners’ love of art.  

AKD gutted the existing space to create a massive eat-in kitchen — minus the traditional island stools. “The clients didn’t want to encourage eating at the island,” Kartheiser says. “They prefer to sit down as a family for meals and host casual dinner parties at the table.” Adding vinyl stools and upholstering the custom-made banquette and ottomans in outdoor fabric created plenty of durable seating options. 

Smaller spaces — including a first-floor office and powder room — received splashes of color and pattern. “Most of the house is pretty serene, but pops of color make smaller spaces feel intimate and interesting,” Kartheiser says. 

The design team completely redesigned the primary bathroom, adding moldings to bring in an old-world feel and custom ottoman, mirrors, and vanities for contemporary functionality. The star of the serene primary bedroom is a piece of art by Chicago painter Linc Thelen. 


General Contractor — Edward Anderson
Photography — Werner Straube Photography
Stylist – Hilary Rose

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