Showhouse Fulfills Dreamy Expectations

Chicago, IL—
Everyone fantasizes about their dream kitchen and bath, but recently Chicago got a real life taste of that dream, as designers from the Chicago area created DreamHome. Located in the center of downtown Chicago in the heart of The Merchandise Mart Design Center, the project was sponsored by Traditional Home magazine.

The home is comprised of nine fantasy-inspiring rooms, including a dream kitchen that provides the ultimate in function and classic style, and a bath that features timeless, elegant design.

Contrasts in Style

Tom Segal and David Kaufman, principals of Kaufman Segal Design in Chicago, IL, remained cognizant of Traditional Home’s audience when they began the design of the kitchen for DreamHome, mixing traditional and contemporary styles with high-tech function. Proper flow was also a major consideration, as the kitchen was open to the family room.

A very large room, the kitchen features contemporary cabinets around the perimeter, with a more traditional island anchoring the space. “So, the room has a juxtaposition of traditional and contemporary,” Segal notes.

The island itself features five drawers on each end, though the top two drawers on the end with the sink are non-functional drawers. A Blanco island sink and pot-filler faucet from Helix are situated on the island near the gas cooktop, and two seats and an eating area are featured on one side.

“Except for the five-burner cooktop, a downdraft and sink, the rest of the large island is comprised of drawers to provide lots of storage,” notes Segal. “Spice racks are also situated in the island.”

Supplied by Wood-Mode in cherry, the island is finished in Chinese red, and is topped with an onyx countertop from Ahalya Stone. Satin nickel hardware in a traditional sculptural shape from Katonah Architectural Hardware completes the look.

Above the island are two Soleio Petite hanging pendants in satin nickel. “They’re not like the tiny fixtures that we’re seeing a lot of lately,” comments Segal. “They’re a little bit larger and have a few bulbs inside, so they have more of a presence.”

Chinese red is also featured on panels located on the side wall, flanking the Wolf double oven, Miele coffeemaker, microwave and warming drawer. The color takes on a slightly different look, as the wood here is rift-cut white oak.

The appliances and the red along this wall are designed to disappear when the cabinet doors are in the closed position. Open shelves that display decorative objects are the only things visible when the doors are closed, giving the room the appearance of a living room or library.

The perimeter cabinetry from Wood-Mode is rift-cut white oak with a brown stain, a soothing backdrop to the island’s fiery color. Streamlined hardware in polished chrome from Valli & Valli adds to the contemporary tone.

Topping the outer cabinetry is a concrete countertop from Soupcan, Inc., formed with a small lip so water will not run down the sides, according to Segal. A small backsplash is comprised of porcelain tile cut into vertical strips.

A cutting board is actually set into the concrete countertop, and sits right over a pull-out trash container for easy disposal. The board is removable for cleaning.

To the right of the cutting board sits a Kohler sink that features a cooking element, with a coordinating faucet from Helix. A Miele dishwasher is situated to the right of the sink, and a 36" Sub-Zero top/bottom refrigerator freezer to the left. Both feature panel fronts so that they blend with the rest of the cabinetry.

The color for the countertop coordinates with the muted limestone flooring from Ann Sacks Tile & Stone. “We were doing so much color – with the red and onyx on the island – that we wanted to tone down the perimeter,” Segal explains.

“It’s all a balancing act,” he adds, “contemporary versus traditional, color versus not color, pattern versus not so much pattern, texture versus non-texture.” The texture in the room comes by way of the red grass cloth featured on one of the walls. The rest of the walls are finished in a sandy brown.

In the dining area portion of the room, a table sits in front of a fireplace. “We wanted a seating area in the space to make it more functional, and we added a fireplace, since this is a dream home,” emphasizes Segal. “We tried to be all things, and beautiful at the same time.”

Hospitality in the Bath

Though Traditional Home was the showhouse sponsor, Athalie Derse, the designer of the bath, followed her own instincts instead of focusing on traditional design. Derse, principal of Athalie Derse Inc. in Lake Forest, IL, used chocolate brown and crimson to contrast with white floors, and incorporated a pineapple motif – the design symbol of hospitality – in the space.

Rather than traditional, Derse likes her room designs to be “timeless, that when I walk into them 10 years from now, I’m not tired of anything,” she comments. She also enjoys bringing a sense of history into a room by incorporating antiques and combining them with new elements. “I like taking each piece of furniture as a piece of sculpture,” she notes. “If it looks good in the space and it’s beautiful, then it works.”

The style of the room was inspired by the 1920s decorator Syrie Maugham, according to Derse. With a bistro-style table and chairs as well as chairs and a lounging bench incorporated into the space, the overall room takes on the idea of a living area rather than just a bathroom.

Derse began with a brown grasscloth for the walls that features a large pineapple design. “I have a fabric and wallpaper design background, so I went to Studio Printworks, which offers wallpaper with a lot of old and historic patterns,” she recalls. “I loved this pattern, and thought a showhouse was a perfect place to use it, since how often is a client going to let me put large pineapples in their kitchen or bath?”

To her surprise, however, the wallpaper has turned out to be the biggest thing that anyone has ever commented or called about. “The pineapples have just been a huge hit,” she exclaims.

Her next step was choosing a white marble floor to contrast with the paper. “The antiqued Spanish white marble floor I chose from Paris Ceramics actually has a lot of gray, and the stone has a little bit of a quartz sheen, which gives it a sparkle effect,” she explains.

To add further contrast, Derse chose a red console – a Legion watertable. “The face of it is red, with stained brown shelving underneath,” she describes. A white Calcutta marble top with white sink contrast against the red, and an Easton Classic lav faucet in nickel with stained brown handles completes the look. All of the items are from Waterworks.

Urban Archaeology supplied the nickel-plated chairs that flank the console. “They feature a funky gothic design, and they look good in the space,” offers Derse. Nickel sconces from Waterworks are featured on either side of the Metropolitan nickel mirror from Urban Archaeology above the console.

A Candide burnished metal freestanding bathtub with Julia exposed tub filler from Waterworks, floats in the center of the room, a style preference of Derse’s. “I like incorporating dressing rooms into bathrooms, where the bathtub is the focal point in the room,” she comments. “That way, you can use it as a room, not just a bathroom.”

Urban Archaeology was also the source for the hanging pendant that floats over the tub, providing soft lighting. “It’s an alabaster bowl with scalloped edges,” says Derse.

Though Derse doesn’t always hide the toilet, she chose to in this design to maintain the concept of a living space. “I had a tiny wall built out in the back corner, and a Kohler Santa Rosa toilet sits behind it,” she notes.

Derse incorporated a 1920s Art Deco French stone-topped round table, on which she set a lamp, some photos, an orchid and other items. A Madagascar bench, where the user can throw clothes or lounge, is also featured.