Luxury Home Quarterly Magazine
Chicago Edition, Winter 2011
Steve Kadlec, Kadlec Architecture + Design
Joe Sperti, Booth Hansen
Draper and Kramer
Bedrooms 3, Bathrooms 4, Square Feet 3,700
written by Amy Howell Hirt
photography by Tony Soluri
Throughout his 20 years in the world of architecture and interior design, Kadlec has cultivated a common thread that runs through his work; each project has an elegant simplicity based on his reverence for the basic tenets of individual design styles. In the Urban Terrace Project, located on the 18th floor of Chicago's iconic Palmolive building, Kadlec created a refined sanctuary that embraces the owner's classic tastes, the building's art deco history and its jaw-dropping location overlooking Lake Michigan. Affording a sweeping panoramic view of the Chicago waterfront and an additional 2,600 square feet of livable space, the terrace was a major player in the layout and use of the rooms. It wraps around three sides of the unit and can be accessed from all three bedrooms and the living room. To conceal the roof's exposed unfinished structure, Kadlec created a border of planters with boxwoods and other evergreen varieties to provide year-round color, supplemented by seasonal annuals, lilac bushes and crabapple trees- hardly enough to withstand brutal Chicago winters- to complete the vision of a modern-day Eden, set against the backdrop of the city's skyscrapers.
Because the owner was moving from a large suburban home, most of her traditional furnishings were not appropriate for the space. "She was transitioning from a home for the family to a home for herself," Kadlec said. "It gave her the latitude to do things the way she wanted." To give the space "a feminine quality that wasn't too overt," Kadlec used a mix of antique and contemporary pieces with soft curves and a lighter scale.
The owner loves bold colors and collects an eclectic mix of art, so Kadlec limited vibrant hues to the kitchen- separate from the living and dining rooms- and drenched the rest of the home in delicious creamy neutrals. The dining room has warm taupe walls. The entry hall boasts sepia-toned floral wallpaper and a rich chocolate area rug. In the living room, a glossy white sideboard contrasts with the brown of the rift oak flooring that flows throughout the living spaces and bedrooms. "The 'restrained' neutrals won't compete with the art and will provide a unifying backdrop the diverse styles," explains Kadlec. To add variety to the neutral scheme, Kadlec loaded up on warm textures, luxurious fabrics and sleek, metallic finishes. "When you use a concentrated amount of pattern, and within a limited color range, texture is important for creating warmth," Kadlec states.
Working with already selected interior finishes, like the granite countertops and espresso-stained oak cabinetry, Kadlec focused on accessories and finishes that bring soft sophistication to the space. His team added delicate chandeliers in the master bedroom and bath, and a mural of a landscape in the dining room- created by framing out a section of hand painted wallpaper. Perhaps the most impressive change is in the foyer, where Kadlec married classic fabric wall paneling- used to disguise a series of closets- with a recessed ceiling detail that is a nod to the building's art deco design.