1. Best Renovation— We picked this condo-loft renovation as an example for others to follow. Not unusual to River North, the original condo conversion was lifeless and soul-less, a overused recipe for the quick-sating of boom-time loft demand. But this 2,200 sf Erie St. unit was given a new industrial-chic personality, thanks to a re-conceptualization by Matt Nardella and Moss Design. Nardella reworked the kitchen, brought in old school building doors, tore out a bunch of drywall, and embedded glass panels in the floor to better light the lower level. Click here for before and after photos.
2. Outrageous Amenity— In the realm of amenity, eyes and ears are often trained to the biggest or the most exclusive of standards like pools, spas, or athletics. This sometimes leads us into a fascination with celebrity excess, like with R. Kelly's various properties. And, we acknowledge, a lagoon-like pool is pretty bad ass, but in a more focused hunt for outlandishness, we've gotta give it to this Oak Brook mansion with the indoor koi stream-studded habitat. A terrific example of 80s excess, the 14,000 sf home has seven bedrooms, each with its own living room, that open up to this mirage. It listed a year ago for $3.499M, and sold last month for a greatly reduced $1.8M. Guess the koi didn't rock anyone's world.
3. Most Convincing Time Capsule— A Crib Chatter post declared it a nod to "Paris in the 20s", but one of our commenters thought it a product of "highly personal" taste, detached from any historical era. We're persuaded by the former, from the furnishings to the light fixtures to the woodwork and zany wallpaper. The 2-bed/2-bath Gold Coast co-op hit the market for $679K in 2008, and 3+ years later still hasn't sold, inching down to $595K. What's the rush? Line up the Absinthe and wait for Gertrude Stein to arrive.
4. Most Hideous— This was a hard decision with so many hideous finds throughout the year, but we're crowning the "avant-garde" interiors of one Lincoln Park home that a commenter quipped looked like "Trapper Keeper decided to go into interior design". Being that this gimmicky vision was built into a staid Victorian rowhouse, it's either deeply upsetting or deeply funny. Congrats on the shock value. Each room has its own half-realized scheme, but the Tetris-block windows really pushed it over the edge.