Designer Michael Del Piero has a long history of working with a family on a succession of homes—in Winnetka, New York, Phoenix, Miami and two in Chicago. The couple have downsized and winter primarily in Florida, but they like to spend their summers in Chicago, so they’ve kept a condo in the city. This latest project, a loft in the city’s West Town neighborhood, is chic and perfect as a second home, but it wasn’t their original plan.
The couple bought a condo in a West Loop luxury development, but before they moved in, a buyer made them an offer they couldn’t refuse, so they sold the almost-finished condo and in early 2020 bought this loft. It was in far from move-in condition—a well-known actor owned it for the last 20 years, but he didn’t do much to update it—so the couple called Michael Del Piero once again.
A MORE MODEST SPACE
“These are, to say the least, long-term clients,” Del Piero says. “This space was interesting, because it’s smaller than most of the ones we’ve done for them, but they still needed a lot of the same things, like overhauling the kitchen and the bathrooms. It was a new challenge.”
Del Piero is well-suited to help clients design their homes no matter where they are. She established her firm, Michael Del Piero Good Design, in 2007, and currently has offices in Chicago and the Hamptons. Most of her firm’s projects are new construction or major renovations, but for repeat clients, she will take on a smaller project like this one.
The loft didn’t need major structural changes—the rooms were nicely sized and arranged—but everything else, including both bathrooms and the kitchen needed updating.
A WISELY PLACED WINDOW
There was one more issue. “We knew there was a building going up on the North side of this building that would potentially block the light entering the primary bedroom,” the husband says. “Michael suggested adding an interior window to the bedroom in case we lost light because of the new building.”
The new window is on the same wall as the bed and looks very intentional with the same black casing as the external windows. In the end, the husband says that the new building gave the room more privacy, but fortunately didn’t go high enough to totally block the light.
Del Piero also added a concrete fireplace and built-ins to the primary suite to give the seating area a focus and add some architectural interest to the room.
ROOM FOR FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES
With that problem solved, Del Piero set about planning the rest of the space. Since the couple had nice pieces of furniture and artwork from previous homes they had worked on with Del Piero, a lot of the planning was “shopping” their existing pieces and then deciding what was needed to fill in the space.
“They’re big entertainers so one priority was to have enough seating in the living areas,” Del Piero says. “We reused two existing sofas, and then custom made the angular sofa to separate the living and dining areas.”
The living room is anchored by a black wall, which balances the kitchen’s black cabinets, which are situated at the other end of the living area. Del Piero also know that the TV the couple planned to install would blend into the black wall and be a bit disguised.
A FRESH KITCHEN
Since the wife loves to cook, the kitchen was a priority for the couple. Del Piero gutted the dated space so they could start fresh. The island is marble and custom made to fit neatly between the concrete columns with an extension on one side that holds cookbooks.
Also adding interest to the space is the off-center large pendant by Benjamin Hubert. “The clients loved a large smoked glass pendant that we purchased for the condo they never moved into,” Del Piero says. “It was perfectly sized for this space, but when it arrived it was shattered.” Instead of an exact replacement, Del Piero suggested replacing it with an equally large, but white-shaded light to brighten the kitchen area and pop against the black cabinets.
Now that it’s done and the couple is enjoying it with friends and family the real question is: Will they keep it? “You never know,” the husband says with a laugh. “We love the space and the location. Michael did an amazing job, but you just never know.” However, if they do sell and move, one thing is certain: They’ll be calling Del Piero once again.
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Laura Hine is a design and style writer based in Chicago. She’s a former editor-in-chief of Better, as well as the Modern Luxury publications Interiors Chicago and NS.