An Adventurous Designer Breathed New Life into a Greystone Row House in Chicago’s Old Town Neighborhood

For years, Robbie and Lindsay Everest admired the late-19th-century greystone townhomes with original stained-glass windows across the street from their condo in Chicago’s Old Town Triangle. In addition to their curb appeal, the historic dwellings shared a beautifully landscaped, gated alley—no cars allowed—where children played, and adults broke bread at communal tables.   

“It’s a unique place,” Lindsay explains. “The owners have taken incredible care of them and done significant work to bring them up-to-date.” 

So, when one of the greystones went up for sale during the pandemic, the Everests snapped it up—their dream single-family home, for raising their two young children. They hired interior designer Hayley Kauffmann, whose company is Hayley Maureen Interior Design, to help them make it their own.   

hayley maureen window
Paired with an antique table, a pair of fringed poufs from Haute Living play off the colors in the original stained-glass windows. The draperies are from Lucid Collections. All photo by Ryan Hainey.

Their condo was traditional in style, and they were ready for something different. They urged Kauffmann to lead them in a bold, modern direction, while honoring the home’s historic architecture.   

“I could tell right off the bat that they had an adventurous side,” the designer says, citing their colorful art collection. “They wanted me to push them, even if they showed hesitation.”  

THE LIVING ROOM

Covered in Venetian plaster by Hester Painting & Decorating, a plum-colored accent wall creates a rich backdrop for a curved sectional sofa atop a graphic silk-and-wool rug from Oscar Isberian.

The couple’s confidence in Kauffmann grew as the project progressed. For example, the couple was unsure about the wool-and-silk area rug with a hummingbird motif, which she selected for the living room, but they loved it the second it hit the floor.   

It defines a cozy seating area that includes a large, rounded sectional and a pair of sculptural, barrel-back chairs covered in a deep, peacock-blue fabric—one of many jewel tones she selected for the space.   

“Jewel tones add a sense of formality,” Kauffmann says.   

THE DINING ROOM

hayley maureen dining room
A large brass mesh chandelier from Moooi makes a statement in the dining area, softly illuminating a walnut-topped table and deep plum-covered chairs from Haute Living. The draperies are from Lucid Collections.

That holds true for some of the walls, which Kauffmann had covered in Venetian plaster. They have a texture that changes with the light, “as if they’re living, breathing entities,” she says. Tinted in a deep plum hue, an accent wall that runs from the front entry up the stairs coordinates with the dining room chairs, which surround a sleek, walnut-topped dining table underneath a dramatic, brass-mesh chandelier. Steps away is a linear console with bronze, mirrored doors.   

“As a design firm, this is the first time we’ve had the opportunity to search for new things and develop new motifs for various rooms,” Robbie notes. “This project called for a lot of variety.”  

THE KITCHEN

hayley maureen kitchen
A graphic wallcovering from Chicago-based Relativity Textiles adds character and interest to the light-filled breakfast area off the kitchen. The pendant is from Allied Maker.

Wallcoverings also play a key role. In the kitchen, a graphic wallcovering in a neutral colorway is a visually stimulating backdrop for classic white cabinetry and a built-in banquette, where a contemporary brass globe pendant floats over a rectangular white table with a tulip base.   

THE PRIMARY BEDROOM

hayley maureen bedroom
A grasscloth wallcovering from Schumacher and draperies from Holly Hunt create an enveloping feeling in the primary bedroom.

A burnt-orange grasscloth wallcovering brings a sense of drama to the primary bedroom, where new, built-in cabinetry faced with antiqued mirror flanks the fireplace, which is original to the house.   

hayley maureen bedroom 2
A mohair-covered womb chair by Knoll acts as a neutral in the primary bedroom, which sports a burnt-orange wallcovering from Schumacher. The new, built-in cabinetry is handcrafted by Bovelli.

THE PRIMARY BATH

hayley maureen bathroom
In the primary bathroom, a large-scale floral print by Elitis creates a dramatic backdrop for a custom olive-green vanity with a lustrous high-gloss finish handcrafted by Bovelli. The countertop is Carrara marble. The subway tile is from TileBar.

The palette flows into the primary bathroom, where picture-frame moldings frame a daring floral wallcovering. A brass-framed, olive-green vanity with a high-gloss finish coordinates perfectly.  

THE FAMILY ROOM

hayley maureen family room
A Roman shade and matching pillows by Electra Eggleston from Beverly Collection punch up a cozy family room furnished at the top of the stairs. The sofa is by Interior Define, and the ottoman is by Gan Rugs.

A lively Roman shade and matching throw pillows energize the neutral walls and sofa chaise in the cozy family area, which is located in a nook at the top of the stairs. An upholstered ottoman covered in a chunky, green-and-white, woven fabric keeps things interesting.   

While the Everests initially balked at some of Kauffmann’s selections, she honored their request to push them in a modern direction, and they have zero regrets. Lindsay says, “With the work Hayley did, it’s very livable, and we utilize every single square inch.” 


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Tate Gunnerson

Tate Gunnerson is a Chicago-based freelance journalist with an equal appreciation for natural beauty and good design.