Since 1970, only a lucky few residents have called Chicago’s premier skyscraper, The John Hancock Center (now known as 875 North Michigan Ave),  home. At 100 stories tall, and the fourth largest freestanding building in Chicago, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill constructed an architectural icon to house a world-recognized, mix-use building. A true collaboration with chief designer Bruce Graham and structural engineer Faziur Khaan provides residences, restaurants, offices and retail space. And of those spaces, units containing a portion of the building’s iconic steel bracing are rare. 

The exterior steel structure, created to support and brace the building’s height, remains a coveted architectural detail to homeowners. Units containing this element are alluring to homeowners and guests.  In the master bedroom of my client’s apartment, the famous geometry quietly commands the attention it deserves by matching the paint color to the walls.  The design decision to forgo an accent moment allows the strength of the structure and its lines to work with carefully chosen fabrics and textiles featuring circular graphics, plush headboards and glamorous bedside accents.  The bedroom furnishings smartly mixes custom pieces with retail finds, and an added pop of fun found in the rug at the foot of the bed keeps a youthful feeling in a mature setting.


Photographer, Bob Cossarelli, appreciates the architecture, interiors and people he captures and shoots.  Through his pictorial storytelling, he captures the best of the scene and selects the premium moments captured.  During set up for the shot, I couldn’t resist propping myself onto the custom cushion and staring 60 floors down to Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood, far below.  As I chatted away, he snapped away and got a few of me and the built in bench in perfect line, complimenting the steel frame.


When two sisters share a room, creating defined lines of hers and hers is vital to keeping the peace.  (Peace can also be attained by giving both sisters the same and best in bedding and custom pillows). The small room needed an infusion of spunk, and it was best achieved with fresh and poppy textiles.  The client found the outrageous orange duvets and used a custom fabric vendor and upholsterer to create a window cushion seat complete with matching throw pillows.  

The space was on the smaller side, especially for two– fitting in fun was a true design challenge. A printed hopscotch rug lies between the two beds, a Hollywood theater light brightens the room and a custom created chalkboard wall allows the girls to constantly change up their art.  Keeping with the modern interior design feel, the chalk wall is defined with contrast trim, hung vertically and painted a matching electric orange. A local retailer provided a wall-mounted shelf in the room’s orange hue to hold all the chalk the girls would ever need. 


The room suited both girls even though they had different personalities, while also meeting the clients’ needs. The clients had met and married in Chicago before relocating to Orlando. While still based in Orlando during the school year, they jumped at the idea of spending summers in Chicago after the husband, a pilot for a commercial airline, had been promoted and would be based there. Excited to spend summers in the city (and away from Florida humidity), they were even more excited about exposing their girls to tons of culture and urban beauty.  It’s not usual for a designer to think of a Chicago high-rise apartment as a summer home, but I was excited to give the girls a great place to play. 

When you live in the big city, a dining room table is used for more than just dining. The adjacent U-shaped kitchen design in this home, while quite accommodating for cooking, contains a small two seat island not nearly large enough to spread out for coloring, craft activities and snacks. Though the kitchen is usually king,  the dining room reins in this space. 

Keeping the room light and airy, new lighting was brought in as a way to define the zone.  Barely needed in the summer months, the fixtures create a beautiful balance playing off the city lights once the sun goes down. Glass and chrome décor were a client must. The sawhorse-style table was a nod to the iconic exterior steel bracing of the John Hancock building residence and was an obvious selection. Completed with edgy four-foot tall artwork by Pervez Taj, the white walls give their home a gallery feel.


“This client liked to make quick decisions. If I sent her an inspirational image and she loved it, it was purchased immediately. We were so in sync that I carefully labeled emails “inspiration” or “for purchase,” so that we didn’t end up getting everything that inspired me in the moment.”

Chicago’s historic John Hancock building serves as the perfect summer getaway for a Florida family of four. The husband/ father, a pilot, flies in and out of Chicago, and the couple heads to the Windy City with their two little girls each summer to escape the Florida heat and take in the city’s offerings.  Perched on the 60th floor of the Hancock, the clients wanted their home to reflect the integrity of the building’s historical architecture and ease of Chicago city living. 

Focusing on the conversation area in the living room, the flooring needed an update, and using a slate grey pattern-in-pattern carpet created a needed break from the previous pale palette. Now, the light granite flooring and carpet pop and set a dramatic stage for the skyline view.  Cream leather sofas anchor the two sides of the room with sleek glass and chrome tables, lamps, and accessories.  The window seats required custom cushions, and throw pillows were also custom created in solid leather, herringbone, and pinstripe fabrics to match the textiles and bring additional texture to the space.


Believe it or not, this client found me by Googling “concierge design services.” We met only once before I completed the project (and we were across the country from each other—I was in LA, she was in Florida)! We worked well together knowing the full vision from the start and since I trusted my contractor and Chicago vendors, she did too.  It’s a great lesson for designers; I believe in my work and my team, so my clients can too.

If you or someone you know is looking for interior design or realty services in the South Florida area, contact us at (or text us using the button at the top right of the screen)! We would work with you on your next project and if we can’t get your job done, we can refer you to someone who can!

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