October 24, 2022
Although she was retained with a mandate to overhaul the entire 2,820-square-foot graystone, Rebekah Zaveloff, principal designer of Chicago-based KitchenLab Interiors didn’t reflexively gut the whole house. Instead, she cast a discerning eye on the circa-1900 structure. There were some finishes that had weathered the decades well. In the primary bath, she deemed thassos marble tile in the shower and on the walls as salvageable. And in the kitchen, the original pressed-tin ceiling set the tone for its renewal.
The house had been renovated in the 1980s. The construction quality of the remodel was superior, but the design was dated; the interior had plenty of Post Modern touches, such as whimsical exaggerated millwork and decorative columns, and bold geometries – think arches and ceiling cut-outs – that defined the spatial experience. The homeowners wanted to bring back the original gracious Victorian interior.
Finishes as a Key Design Element
The designer calls out the old floors in the house as particularly problematic. Many of the living spaces had maple floors with cherry inlays. In the kitchen, the floor in front of the cooktop had been tiled; the rest of the room had wooden flooring. “Never underestimate the power of gorgeous floors to create a foundation for your design,” said Zaveloff. “Mixing woods in a floor means it will never stay in style.”
Based on the kitchen’s pressed-tin ceiling, Zaveloff elected to develop an industrial character for the room, while keeping its basic layout unchanged. A chimney-style range hood and a pair of powder-coated warehouse-style pendant lights maintained the metallic elements. Subway tiles on the walls and some bracket-mounted shelving add to the ambiance. Ivory-colored cabinets with some traditional trim were replaced by elegantly utilitarian inset designs in a painted finish. And of course the floor is now wood uninterrupted by tile.
The project had the common pandemic-related problem of an unpredictable supply chain which Zaveloff navigated by finding alternative sources that had needed items in stock. The KitchenLab team caught a break on a different front, though. “Luckily, the Logan Square neighborhood where the house is located was an area where construction was considered essential and we could keep the project going,” Zaveloff said. “However, the contractor had a small crew, so the job took about two months longer to complete than it typically would.”
—By Leslie Clagett, KBB Managing Editor
Designer: Rebekah Zaveloff, KitchenLab Interiors
Photography: Michael Alan Kaskel
Cabinet Hardware: Rejuvenation
Countertops: Orion Suede (perimeter), Ijen Blue (island)
Paint: Benjamin Moore
Seating: Industry West
Tile: Tile Bar
Vent Hood: Avenue Metal