Modern Chicago home design provides ideal interiors for displaying owner’s art collection

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A house that turns its back to the street, then opens up to gallery spaces and sunny living areas inside. Trends editorial director Paul Taylor looks at a contemporary Chicago home by Wheeler Kearns Architects.

Modernist house with simple, cube-like exterior, designed by architect Dan Wheeler and interior designer Sherry Koppel to house large art collection.

The driving force behind the design of this Chicago new home is a little unusual. Its owner has an impressive and expanding art collection, which had been difficult to truly appreciate in the cluttered interior of her previous home.

Her new home – designed by Dan Wheeler of Wheeler Kearns Architects – gave an opportunity to customise the interiors to provide the ideal settings for the artworks.

His design effectively turns the house’s back to the street with a simple cement board facade shielding the interiors from the two busy streets it overlooks. To the right is the garage, while on the left the house steps back to form the front entry – a large pivoting door that leads into a walled courtyard.

From here, the multi-layered nature of the design is revealed – something Dan Wheeler compares to peeling back the layers of an onion.

This simplicity in design continues with the interiors by Sherry Koppel.

All the walls, trim and ceiling are painted the same shade – a soft gray with a subtle hint of blue – which provides an ideal backdrop for the artworks. The result is that every piece now how has the space it deserves and works have been selected for specific areas.

For example, the photographs that needed to be kept out of the sunlight are hung in the gallery leading from the front entry

The consistency in the design can also be seen through the use of the same materials in all the rooms. So the Hawaiian koa wood and Corian tops used in the kitchen are also found in the master bath and closet.

Besides the artworks themselves, what makes this house so impressive is the way it opens up from its guarded street presence to the bright gallery spaces and sunny living areas inside.

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