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This year brought a slew of new challenges for our interior design clients, with delayed construction, backordered items, social distancing and working from home. 2020 aside, not even a brand new home is without its challenges. That was certainly the case with the loft/bonus area in this Chicago-area home. Often in new construction homes, their open floor plans leave giant spaces without purpose. It's no secret that we love cozy spaces, so this massive loft area was a unique challenge for us. For a peek behind the scenes or a look at the rest of the home, browse our hashtag #RDHillinoisnewbuild over on Instagram.

living space with wood beams

At first glance, the light-filled room had a lot going for it. But the high ceilings, open staircase, and abundance of natural light didn’t make for the cozy, intimate space the homeowners had in mind. Adjacent to the guest room, this loft space is used by children and adults alike and needed to be functional for a variety of purposes like Netflix binges, gaming, reading, and even napping.

Our goal was to bring down the scale of the room to make it feel more cozy, provide plenty of functional storage, and to be sure the space would flow seamlessly with the rest of the home, while still making it stand out on it's own against the first-floor spaces.

loft space before design

Before: The space lacked function and personality.

The first order of business (and a specific request from the client) was adding wood beams to highlight the lovely architecture of the room. In the all-white space (painted Simply White by Benjamin Moore), the beams add a much-needed dose of texture and contrast, while lending a feeling of coziness. Sound was a real concern in this space, and surprisingly, those beams help deafen the echo of the soaring ceilings. To add further dimension to the massive space, a trio of round pendants brings the 12-foot ceilings down even further.

wood bookcases styled with pottery and baskets

Storage was a major priority in this project. The homeowners preferred free-standing furnishings to a built-in solution, so we brought in a series of bookcases to line one wall, creating a substantial focal point. Lower cabinets provide ample closed storage for games and electronics, while the open shelves on top are accessorized to bring in a dose of personality. The television is mounted on an easel in the corner, which allows a lot more flexibility in the floor plan. A velvet sofa echoes the golden hue of the wood beams, and the gallery of art hanging over it helps balance the bookcases on the opposite wall. We were mindful of the proportion and scale of the furnishings to help the space feel cozy and welcoming.

Because the room needs to function in different ways, many of the furnishings are lightweight enough to be repositioned. We had imagined the set of chairs and the Saarinen-style table to welcome for a game of cards or chess games while doubling as homework station. The pair of metal coffee tables placed end-to-end made a custom solution with the streamline, minimal design we allowed for more statement pieces to be part of the sitting collection as per the soft boucle chairs and velvet sofa. The trick to making this space feel elevated and cohesive was the careful layering of objects around the room — sconces, vintage accessories from reDesign Shop, floor lamps and collection of books for example — to achieve a sense of symmetry and balance.


brown velvet sofa with gallery wall

Even the art is a study in contrast. An oversized botanical takes center stage when paired with dark, moody landscapes and antique portraiture from our shop. We used a variety of framing methods -- gilt wood, black, raw wood, and even unframed -- to exemplify that the art was gathered over time. The metal side tables, brass lamps, and leather throw pillows feel sleek, while the velvet sofa, boucle chairs, and textural rug add the layer of softness that invites curling up with a favorite book or binge-watching a beloved television show. All these added layers of texture help to provide that intimate, private feel the clients were looking for, while also helping to absorb extra sound that was so evident in the space before.

bedroom with upholstered bed and green chairs

Just off the loft area is a beautiful guest suite. We utilized a neutral color palette to help the space connect to the lower level of the home, but brought in more saturated tones of blue, green, and caramel brown ensure that it is anything but boring. In the adjacent guest room (shown above), a copper velvet lumbar pillow feels luxurious while the green side chairs add a note of whimsy. These chairs were old from CB2 and we gave them new life in custom upholstery. They quickly became a favorite part of the project! The slipcovered bed has a laid-back feeling, which we contrasted with a more polished and sophisticated chandelier.

We love the small writing nook added to the guest bedroom for it's very intentional use of space. Providing guests a designated spot to catch up on emails, apply their makeup, or just take a few moments to read a book is a small luxury that makes them feel so much more at home.

As this year has pushed us all to utilize every inch of our home and maximize its potential. By making oversized spaces feel more intimate and more functional, we're able to help our clients live more fruitfully in their homes. If you're interested in working together in the new year, we'd love to chat about our interior design services.

Photography by: Ryan McDonald


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