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West Coast Outdoor Living Meets Midwestern Modernism in This Lincoln Park Home

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Photos by AJ LaTrace/Curbed Chicago

As a Boston native, a longtime San Francisco resident and more recently a Chicago transplant, Tremaine Atkinson wanted to blend the best from all worlds in his Lincoln Park home. Teaming up with architects Sullivan Goulette & Wilson to implement this vision, Atkinson aimed to create a home that was warm and inviting while also including some industrial leanings. After a four year-long design and build process, the final product is a spacious 5,500 square foot home that prominently features an indoor-outdoor living room and patio area, intersecting rows of steel beams and LED lighting to give the home a contemporary touch. And as the co-founder of CH Distillery in the West Loop, Atkinson also has a really sweet basement bar space. Atkinson's home, along with a handful of other Lincoln Park mansions, will be featured on this year's City Style House Tour on Sunday, May 17. The tour is an annual housewalk that benefits the Chicago City Day School in Lakeview. More into and tickets can be found on the tour's official website.

Who lives here?
I live here with my daughter and sometimes a dog.

What are the stats?
I believe the home is about 5,500 square feet with five bedrooms, five full bathrooms, two half baths, a patio, herb garden and an attached garage.

How long have you lived here?
Just about a year.

You'd mentioned that you built the home, how long did that take?
It took about four years.

What was the inspiration behind the design of your home?
I wanted to have a warm family home but with a lot of industrial and modern elements to it, including having an open California-style outdoor living setup.

And you'd previously lived in California? How long?
I lived in California for 15 years before I moved here.

You must be pretty sick of Chicago winters.
Well, actually it's funny because I lived in San Francisco before I moved here and to me, it's like the perfect climate out there. It's almost like perpetual fall and every now and then it's summer, but you just get so used to the nice weather and you don't really appreciate it. But here, you go through the winters and really learn to appreciate the nice weather. I also grew up in Boston, so I've had winter before.

What was your process in planning the home, and do you feel like you guys succeeded in delivering on those plans?
Yeah, it was definitely a collaborative process between me, the architect Jeff Goulette of Sullivan Goulette & Wilson and the builders Crescent Rock Inc. It took probably a good year and a half just to finish the planning and the design of the house and then another two and a half years to build it. I feel that we really succeeded in implementing the vision we had for the house.

What were some of the challenges in the design and the construction of the home?
Probably the hardest part of building a house like this is that you have materials meeting materials and you don't have baseboard or anything to hide where materials transition, so you need to make sure that the details look right. It's definitely a lot harder than building a traditional home.

You're got a really cool basement bar area. Do you have any particularly interesting stories?
[Laughing] None that I can tell. But no, as the owner of a distillery you've got to have a bar in your house. It's a requirement.

What's your favorite thing about your house?
I love sitting outside but feeling like you're still inside the house. This is really what it's all about.

What thing do you like least about it?
Having to change lightbulbs. With tall ceilings they're not easy to get to!

What's your favorite thing about being in the Lincoln Park area?
It's quiet and it's conveniently located.

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