Designer Brings Florida Flair to Midwest Home

Naperville, IL— The needs of the client always come first, and if the client desires a bit of tropical flair in the middle of Illinois, Joan M. Kaufman, ASID, IIDA, FSII is happy to accommodate. This was the case when Kaufman of Interior Planning & Design, Inc. was tapped to undertake a dramatic redesign of this suburban Chicago home.

“The clients have a residence in Florida and wanted the redesign to incorporate some of what they loved in their second home: a lighter space with updated, modern conveniences,” says Kaufman, a 25-year industry veteran.

The designer worked with the homeowners on the kitchen, sunroom, master bedroom and bath suite as well as the living room in the split-level home. “In total, we worked on about 2,800 square feet of space,” she adds.

Design Statements

Kaufman says the transition from split-level to two-story home was the best way to fulfill the clients’ needs. The additions included a master suite, approximately 30'x22', including a walk-in closet, and a kitchen/sunroom addition measuring 12'x33'.

To add a more Floridian verve to the clients’ Midwestern home, Kaufman notes that she “suggested and designed a sunroom and part of that newly created space was added to the kitchen, as well.”

She continues: “This sunroom is adjacent to the kitchen, which features a raised ceiling with a decorative beam. The sunroom itself features an angled ceiling with skylights and glass on all three sides.”

With an outdated wallpaper and stained-wood combination, the initial kitchen layout was dark and tired. Kaufman first reclaimed space for the kitchen by removing the pass-through wall to the living room – which also created a more open, airy feeling to the space.

“Storage was also big concern,” she says, adding she specified two china cabinets to serve as a butler’s pantry. “This cabinetry has glass shelves above and seeded glass doors with Hafele lighting. The lower portion includes heavy-duty, full-extension glides on drawers for dishes and linens,” she explains.

“We also designed a special shelf adjustment for the glassware so the clients can reach the shelf above. They specifically requested china storage, yet had limited space, so these floor-to-ceiling cabinets work wonders,” she adds.

The perimeter is lined with chocolate-glazed maple cabinetry from Brakur Custom Cabinetry. Ornamental edge treatments were added in the same chocolate glaze finish. The island offers a light antique finish with beadboard and other ornamental details.

The light colors of the cabinetry enhance the tropical feel of the expansive space, as does the creamy Giallo Ornamental granite chosen for the countertops and fabricated with an ogee edge treatment. Kaufman chose a rich Brazilian cherry for the floors to match the perimeter cabinetry.

“Fun” and “airy” were the words du jour for the project, says Kaufman. In that spirit, the natural light provides illumination for the kitchen/sunroom combo, highlighted by a number of artful light fixtures, such as the Flos pendants over the peninsula. The fixture selected to hang over the island is by Murray Feiss. Recessed cans by Juno round out the lighting selection.

“A Lutron pre-set system was used to have specific areas at certain light levels at the touch of a button,” she says. “It also allows the clients to navigate the space as the light levels change with the angle of the sun through the day and into the evening.”

Suite Life

The airy and light color palette of creams, beiges and other beachy tones extends to the work done on the newly expanded second floor.

“We also added raised ceilings in the bedroom to make it feel more expansive,” Kaufman points out.

The master bath includes wall-to-wall tile and an open, tiled walk-in shower. Dual undermount sinks sit in a Giallo Ornamental granite countertop. Meanwhile, a jetted tub by Jacuzzi sits beneath a clerestory window, which is also featured in the wardrobe space – which Kaufman considers the jewel of the master suite.

“We also designed a dressing room and closet that has a center island for accessories and jewelry in the drawers,” notes the designer.

The closet cabinetry and organizational elements are from California Closets, she adds.


For more about this project, click here.

More Project Spotlight