A Look into How Having Double the Interior Designers Made for Double the Fun

Chicago luxury design

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

The Details

Investment: $35,000-$50,000

Designer: Ivana Stojanovska of Areté The Art of Design and Amy Courtney of Amy Courtney Design

Photographer: Rayne Troxell

Location: Streeterville, Chicago

When a client came to us saying she bought a condo in the Streeterville area that needs some modern upgrades, we were eager to get started on turning her vision into reality. Spending most of her time in New York City, our client needed a place that felt like home when she was in Chicago for business. And with the ever-changing Covid-19 restrictions, she needed a place where she felt comfortable working in, as well.

Our client has worked with a previous NYC-based interior designer, Amy Courtney, and decided it would be best to let Amy help her design her Chicago condo. The only issue was that our client needed someone to assist in sourcing the materials for her design and remodeling the entire interior. She luckily found Areté with a quick Google search, reached out with an inquiry, and decided we would be a great fit for her remodel.

Our in-house designer, Ivana Stojanovska, teamed up with Amy Courtney to help our client source materials, take measurements, and oversee the installations throughout the entirety of this project. Below, you will get a deep dive into some of the challenges, triumphs, and overall thought processes that went into the design from two different points of view.

Tell me a bit about the design process that went into this project, did the client have any special requests?

Ivana: The client came to us with a designer that she had already worked with on previous projects. She introduced us, and Amy presented the mood board she had already arranged for the client’s condo. One of the requests that the client had was that she wanted a home office space due to the pandemic. We did our initial walk-through with the client where we were able to see the space in person and take measurements. We also did a design consultation where we discussed Amy’s mood board, brainstormed more ideas for the space, and created drawings based on the condo’s layout. We were able to help Amy order all of the materials and coordinate deliveries to the job site.

Amy: The client and I worked together when she lived in New York City. When she told me about her move to Chicago, she explained that she felt more comfortable having me design her home because I am already familiar with her interior style. We have known each other for years and I helped design her home in New York. It was so nice of The Art of Design to allow a designer to come in and collaborate with your team. Altogether, we were able to create a design that had some new elements but still felt similar to the client’s home back in NYC.

Was it difficult collaborating with another designer that wasn’t local to you, did this change your typical design process at all?

Ivana: I don’t think it was difficult to collaborate at all. Amy took care of the front end of the design while we took care of the logistical side of things. The client was very decisive which helped save time and money. For the most part, we stuck to our same process so that there were no lapses in communication between us and the client.

Amy: The only difficulty was that we could only source materials from The Art of Design’s approved vendors. I’m used to being able to source project materials from anywhere in New York, so it was a bit challenging finding materials for the design with a list of vendors that I haven’t worked with before. However, The Art of Design handled all of the purchasing which made my life a lot easier.

What were the challenges of this project?

Ivana: Overall, there weren’t many challenges that came along with this project, but we were having some issues trying to decide on the flooring. The client wasn’t sure if she wanted to keep the existing floors or install brand new flooring throughout the space. We ended up deciding to redo the floors, and the client was very happy with the decision. Another small problem was that the fireplace wall was slightly crooked. This caused some issues with the shelving that was placed on either side of the wall, but we were able to level it out and add special hardware to ensure the shelves could hold heavy weight.

Amy: Architecturally, there weren’t many challenges with this project. The only challenge that comes to mind for me is the backsplash in the kitchen. The client had a beautiful quartz stone countertop that she did not want to replace, but she did not want a tiled backsplash. She envisioned a full slab backsplash that matched the countertop, but we were having issues sourcing a stone that matched. It was either replace the countertops with a stone that would match the backsplash or leave the existing countertops with no backsplash. We couldn’t match the stone, so we kept it the way it was. In a perfect world, we would’ve had a matching full backsplash and countertop, but I still think the design of the kitchen turned out really pretty.

What parts were the most fun for you?

Ivana: I absolutely love her office space. It came out beautifully and was different from any other office space I have designed before. It is very open and flows with the overall design of the condo. The custom-crafted woodwork you find in the office is something you can’t find anywhere else. We worked with a local Amish woodworker that built the partition and the client’s desk. The desk itself has a motorized feature that allows you to work sitting down or standing up, and the partition’s design is completely unique to what the client wanted. I also loved the wallpaper and double herringbone design in the bathrooms. It is very bold and stylish.

Amy: I loved designing with the wallpaper in the powder room and the bedroom. The wallpaper in the powder room is from Anthropology and is my absolute favorite. I love playing with fun patterns and textures, and wallpaper can really elevate a space when used correctly. The custom partition that separates the living room from the home office was also really cool to see be brought to life.

Did anything stand out about this project for you compared to others you have worked on?

Ivana: Other than the custom design elements, this project was pretty similar to other high-rise condos we have remodeled. The client’s building was very easy to work with.

Amy: Design-wise, this project was very similar to other projects I have worked on. I mainly do work in New York high rises, but working with a Chicago high rise was a whole different experience. It was a lot easier compared to some of the buildings I deal with in New York City. There was a lot less paperwork involved, it was easy to get in touch with the building manager, and they were very straightforward with any questions I had.

How would you categorize the design of this project?

Ivana: It is very modern with a touch of bohemian flair. A lot of the style was transferred from New York City to Chicago, so we don’t see many designs like this here. It is something from the future, and I think we will start to see plenty more modern bohemian-styled places going into 2022.

Amy: I would categorize this space as modern feminine. The client definitely likes modern style, but you can see her unique touches throughout the condo that really make this place her own.

What’s your “designer tip” on how to tie a space like this together?

Ivana: I think location is a really important part of design. Everything should have a designated place in the design, and it is important that you communicate with your client to know where that place should be. Lighting is another important factor that ties spaces together. Having the same fixtures and type of lighting throughout the design allow for the space to flow seamlessly from one room to the next. We also made sure to achieve a neutral background palette with strong pops of accent color.

This ensured that the client’s style was seen throughout each room, but it was subtle enough that she could resell the condo if she wanted to in the future. An example of this can be seen in the bathroom and the bedroom. The bathroom is mainly white, but it is paired with contrasting matte black finishes that then compliment the black and white floral wallpaper in the adjacent bedroom. It flows really well together.

Amy: My tip is to create a mood board presentation. Whenever I do a project, I present a mood board to the client so we can physically see the cohesiveness of the design before the remodel takes place. A cohesive design and color scheme are very important to me. It’s worth noting that you can introduce different colors in other rooms, but the style should still flow together.

If you are thinking of remodeling your Chicago home or condo, call us at Arete’ Renovators at 773-610-4551 and let our interior designers work with you to create a design that reflects your own personal style.