When a Winnetka couple first relocated to the area from southern California, they had a familiar decision to make—live in downtown Chicago and enjoy the splendors of the city, or live on the North Shore for the amazing schools and family life.
The choice was obvious. But when their children went off to college, the couple knew it was time to make a change and find a luxury pied-à-terre in the heart of downtown Chicago. “We reached a point in our lives where we could split our time between Winnetka and downtown without worrying about the kids,” says the wife, explaining how she found the condo in the Bloomingdale’s building and then found Winnetka-based Kim Flashner Interior Design Group LLC to transform it into the property of their dreams. “Working with Kim was such a pleasure because she’s very good about keeping things moving, which is important because whenever you’re doing a project like this where you’re ordering custom furniture, it takes time.”
Knowing the couple’s deadline of having the apartment ready to entertain friends and enjoy winter in the city, Flashner jumped in and got started right away. “She saw an article about my last project in Sheridan Road and we had a mutual friend so I started working with her immediately. “The clients had given me an overall idea of what they wanted and I allocated the funds to create a balanced look of city sophistication.” To get that urban vibe, she brought in art consultant Lauren Rosen to build a collection of original artwork. Flashner also worked with Bennett Byk on custom window treatments and Oscar Isberian Rugs for some customized floor coverings with modern, geometric designs.
“Her place in Winnetka is completely different,” Flashner explains. Coming from California, the North Shore home reflects their prior Spanish-style design influences. But for the downtown place, they wanted something sleek and glamourous—with the feel of a luxury hotel suite. “That’s what they wanted and that’s what I gave them.”
That luxury hotel vibe doesn’t stop there. The wife says one of the unexpected bonuses of living in the Bloomingdale’s building is being able to order room service from the Four Seasons Hotel, which is just upstairs. “We love it,” she adds. “We’ve had out of town guests staying there with us almost every weekend since we finished the project. The building has so much to offer. We feel very lucky that we found this place, and that we found Kim.”
Throughout the ten-month process, Flashner worked hand in hand with her client to make sure they got exactly what they wanted.
“For me, the color scheme was new. I’ve never done anything in purple before, which I love,” says Flashner, who took the wife to The Merchandise Mart in Chicago several times to tour showrooms and art galleries. “We did a lot of Romo fabrics and created custom furniture pieces with Holly Hunt, Bright, and Bradley. A lot of the artwork came from Richard Norton Gallery at the Mart.”
But one of the signature art pieces by Spanish contemporary artist Juan Genovés required a field trip to New York. “His work is in a lot of museums all over the world but he was having a big show in New York,” Flashner explains. “It kind of makes the room and gives it that overall city feel.”
The wife says she and her husband could not be more pleased with the overall result. “The color scheme started with a piece of art that I saw in the window at Anne Loucks Gallery in Glencoe. I took a picture of it and sent it to Kim and said ‘this is what I’m envisioning the colors to be.’”
Color was certainly a key part of the process but Flashner says she often starts a room design with fabric. A Romo gray (with floral pattern) fabric set the tone for the master bedroom, influencing everything from the art to the paint color to the rug.
How influential were the city views? Less than you might think.
“I have done a lot of city places but I don’t think of the views when I do the interiors because the city is forever changing,” she says. “While I focus more on interiors, this building does have stunning floor to ceiling windows, which add their own layer of color and energy throughout the year.”
Kim Flashner Interior Design Group LLC is located at 874 Green Bay Road in Winnetka. For more information, call 847-208-5411 or visit kimflashnerinteriorsgroup.com.