For some city-dwellers, nothing beats a loft. But wrestling a wide-open space into a home is more than a matter of figuring out where to put the sofa. High ceilings are great, but concrete and steel aren’t the most cocooning of elements. So, when it came to redoing a previously built-out residence for clients in Chicago, comfort was a key driver for architect Vladimir Radutny.
Although the unit hit all the standard programmatic markers (an open kitchen, spacious living area, powder room and office space), it was visually unappealing and functionally awkward. With an exposed upper level and an ill-defined relationship between the kitchen and living area below, the home was more chaotic than composed. Radutny brought focus to the condo by installing a raised oak floor around the perimeter of the main level; this allowed for the introduction of a supplementary heating system against the uninsulated outer walls, making the living room more intimate. The raised floor also gave the new kitchen a more distinct identity.
White oak – which complements the pale hue of the home’s exposed brick – is also a key component of the distinctive new staircase Radutny designed. “The space had a lot of dark materials and your eyes really had to adjust,” notes Radutny. “We wanted a palette that was more conducive to experiencing the space.” Incorporated in a mass, comprising storage areas and a gallery-like mezzanine leading to a third-floor office and the roof deck beyond, the staircase is animated by a combination of closed and open risers.
The home is a corner unit on the third floor and is subject to its share of street noise, so Radutny pulled the bedroom away from the exterior walls, inserting it in a steel cube paneled in oak. “This was a very sculptural project,” shares Radutny. “We had to study this three-dimensionally the whole time. It was not just a matter of drawings. We had to work with the existing columns, the beams of the concrete ceiling. We had to search for a common language to create something that felt like it belonged here.”
Photography by Mike Schwartz.
For more like this Chicago loft, check out the revival of this loft in the West Village.
Like what you see? Get it first with a subscription to ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME Magazine.