A Chicago couple with an exacting vision give their newly constructed home a striking update before moving in.
The Della Valles’ stunning foyer showcases the couple’s original artwork (from Hiroshi Sugimoto, Carl Corey, and David Alee) mixed with Beaubien sconces by Lambert & Fils, a B&B Italia Terminal 1 chaise longue by Jean-Marie Massaud, and a cowhide from Matthew Rachman Gallery.
House hunting is always trying, but even more so in a tight market. Often the best places (especially new construction single-family homes in prime locations) never hit the MLS. So last January, when Chicago orthopedic surgeon Craig Della Valle and his wife Justyna heard about a picture-perfect Lincoln Park home that was going up, they were on it.
“We knew it would go fast because it was part of the 2550 N. Lakeview development, and the house next door sold a few days earlier without ever being listed. We were in Aspen and our broker, Annie Caltabiano, was in Naples, but we all headed home to see it by the end of the week,” recalls Justyna.
The six-bedroom, five-bathroom home was worth the haste: “We loved the location, the layout, the generous space, and the development’s amenities. But we didn’t love the heavy-handed millwork, fixtures, and finishes that they were going to use,” says Justyna. The couple also has a serious interest in contemporary photography and modern furniture and wanted a home that would showcase their growing collection of both mediums. They were after cleaner spaces with leaner lines.
Yet the house was too good to pass up in every other respect, so they made an offer. But the developer wouldn’t grant their request to stop work and let them finish the home with their own team. His only concession was to alter the layout of the master suite, which was a rabbit’s warren of tiny spaces thanks to its convoluted master bathroom and separate his-and-her closets.
The Della Valles hired Chicago interior design firm Project to revamp the master suite into a far more streamlined space immediately, and then help them realize their vision throughout the rest of the house after they closed.
The kitchen boasts walnut Taburet stools from Ion Design, Flos Aim multi-point lighting, and a Dornbract Tara Ultra faucet.
Once they had free reign, “off came baseboards, molding, hardware and more to showcase the home’s graceful bones,” explains Project senior interior designer Lauren Warnock. “We replaced the fixtures, faucets, pulls, millwork and countertops in the bathrooms; the hardware in the kitchen; and the lighting in every room with more modern options.”
But their most transformative upgrade was to rework the home’s traditional staircase. Conventional oak handrails, balustrades, and stringers were replaced with sleek versions hand wrought in sumptuous blackened steel. “It totally changed the nature of the entire house,” Warnock maintains.
Once the structural changes were complete, Warnock helped the couple decorate the home to maximize its newly perfected architectural merits and significant art. Gossamer drapes and opulent area rugs anchor every room, and the iconic modern furnishings they already owned were augmented with key contemporary pieces of similar stature, such as B&B Italia’s Terminal 1 chaise and Modern Industries’ live-edge dining table.
Today, the home’s thoroughly modern aesthetic belies its-all-too-traditional roots—which is exactly how the Della Valles like it.