July 25, 2022
For Rebekah Zaveloff, co-founder and principal designer of Chicago-based KitchenLab Interiors, this project, which included several new-construction baths, was a sort of homecoming. Zaveloff and her client had grown up together; as kids, the homeowner had been the designer’s babysitter and was like an older sister to her.
The homeowners had purchased the existing house on a lakefront lot in a Chicago suburb thinking that it would be a gut renovation, but when a host of issues – including mold – was discovered, they made the decision to tear the structure down and start from scratch.
A Uniquely Personal Project
Agreeing that the goal was to achieve a serene, beachy, spa vibe, the personal relationship between client and designer definitely colored the interior scheme. Both women were heavily influenced by the distinct aesthetics of the late 1970s and early 1980s: Boho/hippie meets disco and 80s glam. The two are a bit on the rebellious side when it comes to style – if everyone else is doing it, they instinctively head the opposite way, in an almost visceral reaction to avoid trendiness. “It was a match made in childhood,” laughs the designer, referencing their long-standing ties.
“One of the biggest challenges of doing a new construction project is that it takes so much longer to plan and execute. By the time the tile and lighting are installed, you might be bored by the selections or feel like you’ve seen them everywhere already,” said Zaveloff. “I really tried to pull myself, our team and our client away from the echo chambers of Pinterest and Instagram.”
This effort is evident in the primary bath and powder room. Each space has a distinctive, different presence. The expansive primary plays with geometry, with polygonal patterns in the floor tile and vintage mirrors enlivening the otherwise orthogonal space. The material and color palettes lean toward warm tones of oak, brass and ivory.
The powder room celebrates forms and finishes. Rippled cabinet doors and pinwheel-like mosaics on the floor push the sensory experience. It’s as much an art installation as it is a functional part of the home.
The client’s willingness to take risks and to trust the KitchenLab team was something that Zaveloff holds dear and doesn’t take for granted. The homeowner has her own perspective on the new construction, saying to the designer, “I gave you everything you wanted,” a wry and warm reversal of the traditional client/designer roles.
Interior Design: Rebekah Zaveloff, KitchenLab Interiors
Photography: Michael Alan Kaskel
Architect: GTH Architects
Builder: John Carey
Faucets and Fittings: Brizo
Lighting: Chairish (primary chandelier), Hudson Valley (primary sconces)
Tile: Floor and Décor (primary floor), Tile Bar (powder room floor), Pro Source (walls)