October 23, 2023
Designer Renata Malafaia of Chicago-based 123 Remodeling confronted a familiar scenario when she took on the remodel of a condo in a loft-style midrise. Despite being constructed in the early 2000s, the kitchen was outdated with small maple cabinets and black appliances. The existing hardwood flooring was buckling in many spots and it didn’t coordinate with the cabinets. The primary bathroom centered around a tiny prefabricated shower unit and an overly-large soaking tub. The overall color scheme was boringly neutral, favoring off-white and beige tones. The residence just lacked personality and details throughout.
Adding Color While Scaling Up
The clients’ objectives were to not only update the home but to create a contemporary design that worked with the large-scale windows overlooking the city and the towering concrete ceiling and columns. They wanted to bring in character that complemented the architecture of the building and to utilize the space better, especially in the primary bathroom and kitchen.
In the primary bathroom, the old tile stopped short of the ceiling, giving the space an unappealing illusion of low overhead space. Covering the entire height of the walls in a couple of patterns of new marble tile, Malafaia created what she views as her favorite part of the design.
“On the vanity wall of the primary bath, the chevron marble really makes an impact – especially when it’s revealed inside the custom medicine cabinets. Coupling the tile with the three honey-bronze sconces truly brought an elegance and definition to this area,” she said.
A touch of tech reinforces the spa/sanctuary feel of the space. The exhaust fan not only provides lighting in several different colors, but also has a Bluetooth connection, allowing music to fill the space.
Out With the Bland, in With the Blue
In the kitchen, new blue upper and base cabinets and a suite of stainless appliances transformed the space, infusing it with an urban character that was completely absent in the original design. To focus attention on the Calacatta Blois quartz counter and backsplash, Malafaia used the adorne undercabinet lighting system (with USB plugs) from Legrand.
Configuring the quartz slabs was not a straightforward task. As the apartment was located on the 12th floor of the building, materials had to be sized to fit not only the interior spaces, but also the elevator. “We had to be conscientious about the size of items,” said the designer. “We had to be thoughtful of where the seams would go and how the slab would be cut and put together for both the counters and bookmatched backsplash both to work in the elevator and aesthetically in the space.”
The driftwood planks that face the kneehole of the island and one of the columns that frame the kitchen contribute more than a visual element to the kitchen. The designer points out that they utilize the remnants of trees and thus discourages deforestation. “They are also a natural acoustic soundproofing material,” she notes.
—By Leslie Clagett, KBB managing editor
Design: Renata Malafaia, 123 Remodeling
Photography: James A. Vitullo
Cabinet Hardware: MYOH
Countertop & Backsplash: MSI Surfaces
Flooring: Floor & Decor
Faucet: California Faucets
Lighting: Cyber Tech (track), Nunu Track (pendants), Legrand (undercabinet)
Microwave, Range, Dishwasher: KitchenAid
Door Hardware: Kwikset
Faucets & Shower Fittings: Brizo
Tile: Keen Tile (shower walls & floor), MSI (bathroom floor)
Vanity Hardware: Top Knobs