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Full House

Designer Elizabeth Krueger creates a cool but comfy vibe in Ukrainian Village.

Elizabeth Krueger’s clients’ main priority was entertaining and having enough seating for their large extended family. Multiple sofas and chairs from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams in the living room satisfy their request. Krueger had to push for the custom marble fireplace surround with floating shelves, but in the end it was one of her clients’ favorite details.  

The kitchen incorporates traditional details like the beamed ceiling as a nod to the home’s history. Dark gray tones and brass accents were chosen to add warmth to the neutral space, creating the urban vibe the couple was going for. The custom cabinetry is by Trim Tech Designs.  

Krueger made the most of a small space by covering the powder room in Robert Crowder & Co.’s Swirls wallpaper from Michael Taylor Collections. 

A light fixture from RH and a freestanding tub add glamour to the soothing master bathroom. 

Unlike the master bedroom, which is dark and moody, the guest bedroom is bright and airy with a bed from Room & Board and custom window coverings by Mimsie O’Hara Fabric Designs.  

When Patricia Kocour and her husband, Mike Week, decided to head back to the city after 20 years in Hinsdale, they had two very specific goals. They wanted an urban environment that was cool enough to keep the kids coming around—their son lives nearby and their daughter is living with them while attending graduate school—and large enough to entertain their extended family. In other words, an empty nest that was never empty.

They found the cool factor in a historic brick two-flat located in Ukrainian Village, a neighborhood the couple instantly loved. “There are still people from the Ukraine living here, as well as a lot of young people who give it a new vibe,” Kocour says. “And any kind of cuisine you could want is within walking distance. We love having this energy all around us—it’s kind of a melding of everything we could want.”

To get the space they needed, the couple converted the two-flat into a single-family home, dug out the basement to create higher ceilings and essentially took everything out but the bricks. “When friends come to see us now, they walk up to this historic building and when they come inside and see that everything is completely modern, they’re totally surprised,” Kocour says.

It’s quite a departure from the couple’s former house in Hinsdale, which was built in 1890 and was very traditional. But this time, Kocour wanted something different. “I really wanted something fresh and inspiring and bordering on edgy,” she says. “Our kids are just at the age where they’re as excited to be here as much as we are,” she says. “Our coolness has definitely been upgraded.”

A busy trial attorney whose days are long and often contentious, Kocour also wanted to come home to an environment that was peaceful and soothing. So she turned to designer Elizabeth Krueger, who she knew through her work with designer Tracy Hickman. “I went on Elizabeth’s website, and everything about it just grabbed me. I knew she would be the perfect fit.”

“I thought it was a really unique space and opportunity,” Krueger recalls. “The direction came from the urban environment, but also from this family’s wish to entertain. Comfortable, plentiful seating was a priority.” We’ve all heard about buyers who plan to entertain, but Kocour actually meant it. Among her goals was to be able to seat her entire extended family of 16 in the living room after Thanksgiving dinner. “Not on the arm of the couch or yanking in a chair from the other room,” Kocour says. “Real seating.”

Krueger was able to pull it off in the form of two enormous sofas, two Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams armchairs, and a clever miter-cut marble fireplace hearth and a rolled-steel metal wall featuring floating shelves that runs the entire length of the living room. “It was a little on the edgy side for me,” Kocour says of the room’s focal point. “But Elizabeth pushed me to do it, and now I really love it.”

Something else she loves is the handsome pewter-painted office intended for her husband, who works from home. Krueger brought in a custom leather-bound desk made in Mexico but the rest of the room is deeply personal and features an Asian chest that once belonged to her husband’s grandfather and a gallery wall displaying charcoal drawings done by his mother. “Elizabeth totally made it work and created a room that I really love looking at,” Kocour says.

Rather than color, Krueger infused the home with layers of neutrals and a multitude of textures. Family heirlooms throughout give the home a collected feel while softening its industrial bent. In the dining room, a round table with metal base, custom designed by Krueger, and a metal light fixture from Restoration Hardware are paired with curved upholstered chairs, furthering the cool but comfy vibe.

Recently, the couple gave the home a test run, hosting Kocour’s entire extended family of nearly 20. “Very naturally, everyone started around the kitchen island,” she says. “And then after dinner in the dining room, everyone migrated to the living room, and people’s feet were up on the ottomans, and it was just a wonderful way to have a group conversation with my family. I could never do this successfully in my old house. It worked seamlessly here, and it was just priceless to me.”

Single-Family Home

Ukrainian Village

Michael Abraham Architecture

Elizabeth Krueger, Elizabeth Krueger Design

Dave Knecht Homes

Accessories in bedrooms

Office desk

Pendants in kitchen

Upholstery of all custom furniture

Accessories throughout

Custom window coverings

Coffee table, bedroom furniture and chairs in office

Rugs throughout

Tile flooring

Lighting in master bedroom

Guest bed

Tile in bathrooms

Custom kitchen cabinetry