On October 5 (11 a.m.-5 p.m.), a handful of Chicago residences will open their doors to the public for the 2013 Chicago Modern Home Tour, a self-guided look at modern architecture. A Chicago-native architect designed each of the featured homes within the last 15 years—one property, 3652 N. Bosworth St., is even up for sale (contact listing agent Karen Ranquist at 312-475-4542). Plus, the event benefits non-profit Designs 4 Dignity.
Two architects featured in this year’s tour, John Issa and Daniel Tornheim, gave us some insight into their inspirations. For tickets ($30 in advance, or $40 on the day of), visit chicago.modernhometours.com.
1325 N. State Pkwy., Apt. 9F Architect:Daniel Tornheim Built in: 2009 Inspiration: My client was the inspiration for the project. She grew up in a modern home here in Chicago, [so] I went to see the outside of it so that I could get a better sense of where my client was coming from, how she and her parents must have lived, and potentially the aesthetic that might work for her new space. She also has impeccable taste in clothing so I knew that high-end design was not going to be foreign to her aesthetic. Design aesthetic: [It] is what I call transitional with modern mixed in. I love the slick, clean lines of European design and there are great examples in furniture and kitchen design. The transitional design aesthetic involves using art deco detailing, which I think complements the modern style’s clean lines. There’s also symmetry and proportion in all of the spaces so that the rooms feel organized and comfortable. Biggest risk: The biggest risk was the forward-thinking idea of eliminating the dining room from the existing apartment layout and using that extra space to make a larger, more inviting kitchen. This could have backfired, [but it] paid off, because the space looks fantastic.
3028 N. Southport Ave. Architect:John Issa, Perimeter Architects Built in: 2009 Inspiration: [We wanted] to challenge the Chicago-standard house layout, and respond to a complex and challenging site, without compromising on quality, dynamism, and comfort. Typically, guests enter at the front of the house and move though “public” spaces to the “private or domestic” spaces. In contrast, the homeowners often enter from the back and arrive directly into their “private” kitchen, often never using the front portion of their house. We challenged this notion by entering the house at the middle and pushed the “private” kitchen to the street or public side of the house. There is no hierarchy to the main floor; no space is wasted. Aesthetic: The pursuit of inventive and dramatic spaces that elevate the spatial experience of our clients’ projects. Perimeter Architects is a design firm, which sees each new project with fresh eyes based on location and client goals. We strive for clean, naturally lit spaces without falling into trends. Biggest risk: Purchasing a non-standard lot in the Chicago market. People are definitely receptive to modern living here, but this house—because of its irregular lot—truly challenges the Chicago-standard real estate model.