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[Photos: Nick Fochtman]
New York transplants Mandy and Kevin looked for a place in Chicago for nine long months before immediately falling in love with this three bedroom, three bathroom condo that overlooks Seneca Park in Streeterville. The unit is one of eight in the early 20th century Renaissance-inspired building by Robert S. DeGolyer, where famed modernist architect Mies van der Rohe was once a tenant. At the time of purchase, Mandy and Kevin's home was filled with floor-to-ceiling marble, ornate chandeliers and miles upon miles of moldings. Three and a half years later, the couple has converted it into their own contemporary yet calm oasis in the city.
Who lives here?
Mandy, Kevin, and their two dogs, a beagle and a terrier.
What are the specs?
The unit is a spacious 2,100-square-feet. There are three bedrooms, one of which is now an office, and three bathrooms.
How long have you lived here?
We moved in October of 2012. Our agent found this place for us after nine months of searching. We loved it and moved in right away.
Was it your dream house from the start?
We could see that it had great potential. There was definitely a "Caesars Palace" vibe to the unit when we moved in — lots of faux marble, embellishments and an ornate chandelier in every room. All three bathrooms were floor to ceiling marble and one of them was entirely pink.
How did you go about redecorating?
I'd say it's still a work in progress. I work in the interior design industry now, so I've been able to snag some pretty cool stuff just because I was in the right place at the right time. I don't have a specific style per se, but when I got this place I knew I wanted to change it up while still respecting the architecture of the building. We removed a lot of the frills and most of the marble but kept the amazing paneling and molding. I think we are one of the only tenants here who didn't completely gut their unit when they bought it.
Speaking of the other tenants, what is it like living in a co-op?
Everyone in the building is great. At the moment, we are probably the youngest couple living here but all of our neighbors are super cool and accomplished and we really enjoy sharing the building with them. Because it's a co-op we have regular meetings with the rest of the owners — everyone pulls up a chair in the front lobby and we talk right there.
What about the neighborhood? What do you like about living in Streeterville?
This is a very convenient spot for us to live in. There is a great dog park down the street and in the summer we can walk to the lakefront and the marina. The MCA is literally next door. We entertain a lot here because of the location.
What is your favorite room or space in your home?
The living room. Kevin and I can usually be found lounging on our respective couches here year-round. In the summer, the south-facing windows flood it with light and when the weather is nice we open everything up to enjoy the sounds and sights of the park across the street. I do love hearing the horse-drawn carriages clip clop by (even though I don't agree with the idea of them). To be honest, I think it was the living room that sold me on this place when we first saw it.
Is there a piece in your home you just had to have?
The pendant lights in the dining room. They are so cool. You don't really notice the drama until you peek underneath them but they both have a beautiful relief of flowers sculpted on the inside of the shade. They're by the Dutch designer, Marcel Wanders, who calls them "sky gardens."
What is your least favorite aspect of your home?
Until recently it was the floor-to-ceiling marble bathrooms, but as of this past November we've taken care of that. I think that some of the furniture we have is a bit shorter or smaller than I would ideally like. Because this is an older building, we don't have a great way of getting large pieces into our unit. For instance, I would have gotten longer sofas for the living room but I didn't think they would fit into the elevator so I ordered shorter ones. Then the shorter ones wouldn't even fit and we had to bring them in through a window anyways.
Do you have any surprises hidden away here?
You can't see it right now but we actually have a table tennis net that we clip on to our dining room table. Its great fun as long as no one hits the lamps. I actually had to put it away before you guys came over!