“How do you want to live?“
The LightBox

“We want an inside/outside space with a new kitchen & place to gather”

Inside, meet outside.

A young couple purchased this this narrow, attached, masonry row house in Chicago's Grand Boulevard, a neighborhood notable for its rapid genesis from an open field into a dense, beautiful, upper-middle-class neighborhood in the 1880s. Luxurious and new at the time of the nearby Columbian Exposition, the building, four decades later, was crudely divided into apartments during the Great Depression. A contractor recently restored its single occupancy but cut the rear of the building off from light and air. In his defense, the rear yard was not much to look at: a gravel and dirt pad. We set out to create an inside/outside space employing effects with light, color and material that would create a volume for family, community and mindfulness.

We think that architecture should help us meditate and focus on light and nature. Architecture should get us away from our screens, be restorative and provide a place to interact directly and experience the beauty of the seasons.

Jeremy, a contractor and talented craftsman who makes furniture, brought this furniture level of detail to the project and made it better. For instance, Jeremy and I worked together to design a steel tube post and sleeve that is hidden in the wall. The quartzite benches are siliconed to steel tube rails that slide into a larger steel tube sleeve in the wall. The owner can remove the benches in order to clean and/or paint behind them. A big thanks to our client for seeing a strong and clear idea through to a beautiful finish. 

Alignment is critical on our projects. The reality is that only 2 or 3% of contractors could have built this. Because there was a strong alignment between the client, architect and contractor, the result is well-crafted and beautiful.

Contractor: Jeremy Kirk and Sons

Published: Archipendium and Gizmodo and the American Institute of Architects

Photographer: Gregory Scott