“I’m not ignoring the history of the building!” insists designer Alida Coury of her playful makeover of a 3-bedroom in a historic 1913 co-op designed by architect Benjamin Marshall. In fact, starting with the apartment’s entry vestibule, every single modern element looks in sync with the original fireplace stone surround and its intricate carvings, as well as the original herringbone floors.
It all started when a young couple fell hard for the building’s Old-World elegance and details such as classical columns and moldings, coupled with its close proximity to Oak Street Beach on Lake Michigan and the famous Magnificent Mile.
But despite the couple’s mutual love for the old historic building, the wife also craved a little drama and adventure. Enter Alida Coury, their dear friend and owner of Alida Coury Interiors. Coury knows how to tap into her clients’ desires and distinct personalities: “I’m not a one-niche designer and my job is to channel the client’s persona,” Coury explains. “She’s more eclectic and likes modern. I felt her being bold.”
Bold indeed. The floor literally leads the way. In the circular foyer, Coury worked against the curves by introducing linear flooring with graphic tiles. “I ignore the rules of how things are supposed to be bordered out,” Coury mentions of her floor design. “It leads guests into the direction of the house without being obvious.”
The impact didn’t stop with the black and white design of the floor. The wife’s taste runs eclectic, and Coury satiated her appetite for pattern as well.
Furnishings and accessories are equally as bold and nervy. In the living room, Coury custom-made a channel-tufted sectional sofa with a round wooden leg detail and upholstered it in an emerald-green velvet from Holland & Sherry. An iconic hand chair by Pedro Friedeberg offers a sculptural note, while a chain of links made from bottle caps Coury found at a local vintage store adds to the cool vibe. Coury conjured another seating area by using the clients’ Ralph Lauren cognac leather chairs from a previous home and grounding them with a custom green- and-white concentric circles rug.
Coury also couldn’t ignore the wood casework in the den. Though beautiful, the finish felt too traditional, so she bravely painted the entire wall of paneling black to modernize it and inserted smoked mirrors to the doors, upping the formality a notch. The studded wallpaper, previously installed by a designer before her clients bought the unit, was left intact though. She added a faux croc custom bench with walnut base to the cozy room and underscored the piece with a graphic cowhide rug. “It looks more like a library now,” she assures.
The kitchen and butler’s pantry, however, underwent the biggest renovation. Ditching the dated 90s design, Coury enlisted Jake Ross Remodeling to gut both rooms and install new cabinets and a quartz backsplash and countertop.
Taking her cues from the black-and-white floor that lead into the rooms, Coury stuck with the strong contrast. “I didn’t want to go dark in there,” she insists, of her decision to install white cabinets, opting for black upper cabinets to complement the bold, daring, venturous gestures seen throughout the apartment. “I’m big on contrast.”
Can’t you tell?
Photography by Aimee Mazzenga.
For more black and white design inspiration, be sure to check out the monochromatic interiors of this South African loft.
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