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Plum Project

This weekend home proves that with some creativity, color and a sense of adventure, a gut renovation can actually be fun.

The 12-foot sofa, with its vibrant purple upholstery, was the starting point for the loft’s makeover and pushed the color scheme beyond predictable neutrals.

There’s a lot of strategic thinking that goes into decorating a home, but when it comes to renovating a weekend pied-à-terre, it’s safe to say there’s room to have a little more fun. As proof positive, Aimee Wertepny of PROjECT Interiors confesses the starting point for her clients’ second home—located in the historical Haberdasher Square Lofts in the heart of the West Loop—was a recently purchased 12-foot-long purple velvet sectional couch. “The client professed her love of the passionate and playful color, so we wanted to make purple—in varying intense shades—the color pop,” says Wertepny. “We set it off against a monochrome canvas, adding as much white as possible in every space.” Color aside, homeowners Jeff and Lisa Gulcher were looking for a relatively budget-conscious renovation with all the bells and whistles for a family of four to enjoy on the weekends. “We were looking for a vintage, historical building that not only had unique architecture and an amazing facade, but also an open loft floor plan that emulates classic Chicago,” explains Lisa. “We wanted an industrial feel with modern flair, and PROjECT Interiors was able to integrate this vision with [its] own distinct flavor.”

Of course, there were plenty of tweaks to be made to the 1,800- square-foot vintage concrete space before any furniture was moved in: The kitchen and bathrooms were gutted; walls were torn down and reconfigured to create a more luxe master suite; an experiential entry with layered risers was added into the master bath; and sleek planes of gray glass replaced chunky curved walls with glass block insets. The end result was a large open space that encompassed the kitchen, living and dining rooms, as well as a partitioned game room and pure fun zone. “We love the game area with its dramatic walls of art and purple light tubes,” says Lisa. “It’s such a fun place to pull out our favorite games and escape the hustle and bustle of city life.”

The Gulchers’ style was more glam, which was a perfect juxtaposition to the exposed concrete columns and ceilings, the painted brick walls and orginal matchstick-wood floors. When it came to making the loft space functional yet aesthetically pleasing, PROjECT Interiors Senior Designer Jennifer Kranitz—who oversaw the day to day project management with Wertepny—added floor-to-ceiling custom metal shelving in the entry. Along with being a spot to house everything from house keys to decor, the shelves also divided the space in a peekaboo fashion while adding a vertical element, thus accentuating the volume of the space. For the Gulchers’ two daughters, Kranitz kept things playful with a pair of bunk beds, a dry erase wall where coloring is actually encouraged, a gnarly-glam dream catcher and magnetic doors for tacking up pictures. While the Gulchers did most of the heavy lifting by bringing in their own upholstery purchases prior to bringing PROjECT Interiors on board, new additions, such as vintage dining room chairs and a custom-made banquette and vanity, made the space feel fresh. The most cherished addition, however, was a custom mural incorporating meaningful messages, sentimental imagery and a street art vibe that imparts a dash of grit to balance out all of the glamour. “The artist incorporated a little bit of everyone in our family,” said Lisa. It makes our space so personalized and tells a story to everyone that visits our condo.”

While Wertepny admits that renovating a downtown high-rise is never easy, the entire six-month process wound up being a seamless one that incorporated the out-of-the-box ideas that the Gulchers desired. “I gave Project as much artistic freedom as possible because I believed this would produce the best result,” said Lisa. “I didn’t want to put any limits on their creativity. In the end, it truly turned out to be a one-of-a-kind residence that we will enjoy for many years to come.”

Vintage dining chairs and a custom banquette provide comfy seating for meals and entertaining. The graffiti-inspired wall mural contains phrases and images that are meaningful to each family member, making for a personalized piece of art that doubles as a focal point.


West Loop/Greektown

Vintage loft in the historical Haberdasher Square Lofts

PROjECT Interiors

Demeter Millwork

Amanda Morrison
Custom wall mural

Chain sconce in master bathroom

Basia Frossard Projects
Custom drapery

Carnegie Fabrics
Drapery fabric

Circa Lighting
Sconces on art wall

Hanging light fixture in living room

Jayson Home
Coffee table

Light fixtures (other than already noted)

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
Wood pedestals

PROjECT Interiors
Custom stone desk in bedroom, banquette, bathroom vanity and kitchen cabinetry