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Solid Gold

After a long search, a client and designer find their perfect match, and the proof lies in the project—a stunning redo of a River North loft.

A custom sofa designed by Stephen Young in Pindler fabric anchors the living room, along with a coffee table with a handmade gold leaf top. The art is a commissioned piece by artist Sarah Raskey that incorporates layered paint with flecks of gold.

Stephanie Biegel gushed a little. “He offered to meet me for drinks at Gilt Bar—my favorite place—and it was like love at first sight.” She is talking about Stephen Young, the newly established designer whose avant-garde, sophisticated work has turned heads in Chicago over the past few years. After Biegel exhaustively interviewed 10 other designers for the makeover of her first condo, Young finally walked into her life. “The others wanted me to fit into their box. But Stephen had that drive and hunger to get to know me and make the project perfect. You could see it in his eyes,” she says.

Biegel, a senior advertising director in mobile sales, is a career woman with the strong bonds of friendship and family surrounding her. What she lacked was a home that reflected her style: approachable but sophisticated, with a bit of an edge. The goal she sought? Gold or bust! “I’m obsessed with gold; I really do think it’s the new black. I love anything that shimmers and wanted a vibe of comfortable luxury. To me, gold delivers that.”

After moving back to Chicago from L.A., she had little more than a dresser, which translates to every designer’s dream: Young had a truly blank palette to work with and ideas running wild. “We did everything from rugs to lights to furniture to counters. The whole kit and caboodle,” he says like a kid on Christmas morning. With palpable energy and a relentless spirit (not to mention a fantastic signature coif of hair), Young has a knack for finding diamonds in the rough—antiques found in shop attics, vintage rugs sourced on eBay—that he expertly pairs with high-end designer pieces. Several furnishings in this project were custom-made locally: the sectional sofa, tufted king bed and a wooden coffee table Young had delicately brushed with hand-applied gold leaf. He balanced the loft’s exposed pipes and HVAC tubes with white Carrara marble and antique glass tiles, pulling off a debonair-meets-industrial look: “Urban chic meets timeless glamour,” he says. In the living room, a stunning artwork of layered paint flecked with gold by Sarah Raskey creates a focal point that is at once sexy and whimsical—an apt summation of Biegel’s newfound style.

“I’m sad it’s all over; I’m having withdrawal from the process. I feel like I went on this crazy adventure with Stephen,” says Biegel. “I wonder if I should just sell my home and buy a new one so I can do it all over again?”

The bathroom was gutted and remodeled to match the sophistication of the rest of the space. Young added a polished Carrara marble slab counter to the vanity and matching wall tiles. Glass gold leaf tiles, an Arteriors wall sconce and Wolf Gordon wallcovering continue the gold theme.