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Urban Renewal

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

Images courtesy of Hinsdale Interiors

By Margaret Poe

The penthouse had been on the market for a while—most buyers couldn’t see past the dark wallpaper, antique-laden rooms, and pink marble tile. But Nick Gilbert, of Hinsdale Interiors outside of Chicago, is no ordinary buyer. An interior designer and founder of rug importer Rugxurious, he focused on its many attributes—among them, a north-facing view of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan.

“As soon as you come in, you get this fantastic view of the city,” says Gilbert, who bought the 4,300-square-foot home last year.

That view was a major motivator for Gilbert and his wife, who moved to the South Loop area of Chicago from the suburbs. To infuse the space with daylight, he stripped the penthouse down to the studs and opened up walls wherever possible. Gilbert also raised the door levels to be better proportioned with the 11-foot ceilings. The walls became off-white. And, of course, that pink marble had to go, replaced by reclaimed oak flooring.

Gilbert incorporates neutral walls into many of his projects, so the artwork and the rugs—what he calls the jewelry of the room—can shine. These are the most personal elements of a design, he says, and he embraced the luxury of making those choices for his own home. The walls reflect his own personal style, from vintage Chicago World’s Fair posters to Gilbert’s own photography to pieces that reflect his native England.

These jewels set the tone for the inviting, eclectic space—a space set off by one killer view.

Custom Cabinets Complete the Look

Interior designer Nick Gilbert hates clutter. That’s why cabinets were so integral to the renovation of his Chicago penthouse. The pieces, created by custom-cabinetry manufacturer Woodways, provide ample storage throughout the kitchen and dining room with a seamless finish. By all appearances, the cabinets are one solid unit—but installation wasn’t quite that simple, according to owner Suzanne Rudnitzki. Because all the pieces had to be transported up to the 19th-floor condo, each was designed in order to fit in the elevator. But the Michigan-based firm pulled it off without a hitch. And as Rudnitzki puts it, the finished look is “spectacular.”

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