Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Gallery: Open Court

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The vine-wrapped entry courtyard of this home on Erie Street in West Town is hidden from the street behind a bright blue door. For Graham Kostic and Fran Taglia, who bought the place five years ago, painting the brick white and creating the glass wall were part of an overall redo that moved walls and added tons of charm, storage and light. They're listing house for sale today. Represented by Sophia Worden of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff Realty Group, the asking price is $1.1 million. Click here to read more.

PHOTO CREDIT: VHT Studios

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The great room combines living, dining and kitchen beneath a long skylight left over from the building's industrial origins. Kotsic and Taglia paid $610,000 for the property in 2012, and then set to work making it lighter, more open and more playful. Replacing a blank brick wall with glass added light, pushing the kitchen and other rooms back made this expansive main room feel more open, and big servings of color and pattern in other rooms make it a fun place to poke around in.

PHOTO CREDIT: VHT Studios

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The Escher-like pattern of the fireplace tile, which appears again in other rooms, is one of the fun touches. The look is "classic, with a modern edge," said Kostic, the creative and editorial director of a fashion and beauty online magazine called Glossed & Found. Taglia is managing director of a consulting business based in Downers Grove.

PHOTO CREDIT: VHT Studios

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The street face of the house provides few clues to what lies inside, other than the charming bright blue door. Kostic said he enjoys the contrast between the unassuming brick exterior and the vibrant interior. He likes opening the door to accept deliveries. "Jaws drop when they look past me into the courtyard," he said. "It's not what you expect to see behind that wall."

PHOTO CREDIT: VHT Studios

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While most of the main living space is white, the far wall sports a bold foliage pattern on the wallpaper. It's a complement to the real greenery outside the glass wall and a souvenir of Kostic's family trips to the landmark Greenbrier resort in West Virginia, which has wallpaper in the same pattern.

PHOTO CREDIT: VHT Studios

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The kitchen has only lower cabinets. Going without uppers is in keeping with the theme of openness. Open shelves lend an opportunity to show off collections of china or kitchen items. "We designed this home with fun in mind," Kostic said. The white cabinets are painted a sunny green inside to pick up on the wallpaper.

PHOTO CREDIT: VHT Studios

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Color saturates some of the spaces beyond the sunny white great room. It's Venezuelan blue here in the library, which doubles as a bar. "You leave that big industrial room and come down the hall to this jewel box," Kostic said. A skylight hangs above, and sliding doors on one side open to a matching pair of doors on the master bedroom across the hall, so that the space can function as an intimate room on its own or as part of the larger suite.

PHOTO CREDIT: VHT Studios

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Yellow butler's cabinets and black chalkboard paint on the walls make the laundry room/mud room pop. The Escher-patterned tile appears again here. Kostic and Taglia created much of this room by pushing walls back into what was an oversized garage, keeping enough room for two cars.

PHOTO CREDIT: VHT Studios

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Another geometric pattern papers a wall in the master bedroom. The interior doors are all 8 feet tall, beneath ceilings that are 12 feet in some rooms, 15 in others. The wood flooring is all new, and there's a skylight, as in many of the other rooms.

PHOTO CREDIT: VHT Studios

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In the master bath, a bright blue clawfoot tub stands on a tile floor whose angular pattern reminds Kostic of Marrakech. On the ceiling are painted constellations "so we can shower under the stars," he said.

PHOTO CREDIT: VHT Studios

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Kostic used wainscoting and brass fixtures to make this "a super-classic traditional bathroom" for guests.

PHOTO CREDIT: VHT Studios

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The front door wasn't blue when the couple bought the home. They hit it with a color that would appear again indoors as a way to to hint that what you'll find on the other side is "fun and energetic," Kostic said. Click here to return to the story.

PHOTO CREDIT: VHT Studios

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