Classic and Elegant at Chicago

Mason Phelps is a passionate real-estate seeker. When he came across that single-family home during his daily real-estate check five decades ago, it was not the ideal time to proceed — but it was an ideal residence. After a couple of days of persuasion, he persuaded his wife Abby to consent to an early transition.

The home was brand new building, so they could choose a number of the inside information and, working together with work with designer Janet Shiff, make it their own. Abby says,”We try to find classic elegance that’s also quite comfortable and inviting.”

at a Glance
Who lives here:
Mason and Abby Phelps
Location: Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois
Size: Two-story, single-family home with basement, 5 bedrooms, 4 full baths
Interior designer: Janet Shiff of Blutter Shiff Design

Cynthia Lynn Photography

Mason and Abby decorated the family room space that appears onto a wood-burning fireplace and opens up to a rear porch. Floor to ceiling windows stream a wealth of natural light into the room and an adjoining kitchen. A picture window behind the couch, looks onto an ivy wall.

Homes in Chicago can be tight, but the couple has taken good advantage of the environment by adding extra lighting to the exterior of the home to highlight the ivy-trimmed wall. Memories of the journeys decorate the walls, such as photos from a artist in London and also a map of Napa Valley.

Sectional: Natuzzi
Chair and carpet: Crate & Barrel

Cynthia Lynn Photography

The couple worked with designer Janet Shiff to formalize their dining and living area spaces, merging their style with their designer’s touch.

Dining Room Table: Sun Furniture Design
Dining Room Chairs: Holly Hunt at Edelman Leather
Draperies: Custom design by Blutter Shiff Design Associates
Light Fixture: Dennis & Leen

Cynthia Lynn Photography

Mason and Abby stuck to a neutral palette, and also the dark pillows along with also the arms of the seat pull the wealthy black marble in by the fireplace. The painting above the fireplace creates a focal point and also adds to the rich contrast. The dual layer and gap in the textures in the draperies adds thickness to the space, while allowing for natural lighting to peer .

Couch & Chairs: Donghia Inc..
Rug: Stark
Draperies: Custom design by Blutter Shiff Desgin Associates
Drapery Fabric: Solid – Kravet, Sheer – Roger Arlington

Cynthia Lynn Photography

On the other side of the living space, Shiff pulled in the darkened hardwood flooring using a credenza by Interior Crafts Inc.. Framed wedding photos along with a traditional Tiffany crystal bowl sit atop the credenza, and a painting out of their journeys in Bolivia adorns the wall.

Cynthia Lynn Photography

Buffet dining table: Nancy Corzine

Cynthia Lynn Photography

Throughout the dining area you put in the kitchen and living space, the location where the bunch is most at home:”It’s where we spend 90 percent of the time.” Classic elements furnish the kitchenfrom your granite countertops to the stone backsplash. There is an extra table contrary to the kitchen for informal dining and additional table space when entertaining.

Cynthia Lynn Photography

All the appliances in the kitchen are Wolf stainless steel from warm cherry wood cabinets. Maintaining with conventional elements, the couple decided a multicolored natural stone to your kitchen walls. Lighting above the island and recessed lighting above the cabinets warms the space.

Cynthia Lynn Photography

The media room only beneath the family room is outfitted with a poker table, arcade-style baseball match along with a dartboard which makes for easy entertaining. The majority of the sports memorabilia”we picked up while at charity auctions as impulse buys,” Abby says.

Chair: Crate & Barrel
Poker Table: Great Escape

Cynthia Lynn Photography

The couple’s master bedroom in the second floor sticks together with the house’s neutral palette, with complementary warm browns and cherry reds. Dark brown drapes pull in the timber flooring, and also a light coloured rug balances the black finishes. A traditional sleigh bed and chaise sofa mirror each other, along with a dresser and matching end tables.

Bed: Thomasville
Chaise Sofa and carpet: Crate & Barrel

Cynthia Lynn Photography

The master bathroom boasts a double shower with a large bathtub. The exterior ivy wall from the family room continues upwards to the second floor, making a fantastic addition to the opinion just outside the bathroom. Being on the second floor, the mirrored picture window opens up to more light than the floor beneath. The ivy is attached to a complete brick wall, so privacy is never an issue. His-and-her sinks remainder on all sides of the space for maximum space, contrary to the bathtub and shower. Traditional stone tile was selected for the bath, with slightly darkened accents trimming the wall.

Cynthia Lynn Photography

A skylight above the island lights the cupboard custom built by Closet Outfitters.

Cynthia Lynn Photography

Modern Bucktown Beauty
A Soothing Retreat in the Heart of Chicago

Next: Read hundreds of inspirational homes

See related

Your Thanksgiving: Create Sure Kids' Table Fun

Ensure that your children are going to sit tight by having a special table decorated just for them. Thanksgiving can be a very long day for everyone, especially for pint-sized pilgrims. I have made a fun holiday table to keep the kiddos intrigued, so it’s possible to eat your Thanksgiving meal — while it’s still hot!


Felted Acorns by Fairyfolk – $25

Inexpensive centerpieces can be made using glass vases you have around the home. Fill them with organic elements like pebbles and shrub branches your children can allow you to gather.


Autumn Felt Acorns by Fairyfolk – $16

You can hang these Autumn Felt Acorns from a tree-branch centerpiece or simply place them in the middle of your table for decor. (Be careful to take under account the age of your children when using certain decor items to avoid choking dangers.)


SUNDVIK Children’s Table – $39.99

For less than the purchase price of a card table you can find a table height-appropriate for little ones. IKEA has a number of shades and styles at affordable prices. They can then be kept out year-round for crafts and activities.


SUNDVIK Children’s Chair – black-brown – $19.99


Wood and Wool Stool – $108

For a more unique seating option, try these reclaimed wood stools with hand-crocheted covers. They will add color and texture to your desk.


SANSAD Children’s Stool – IKEA – $19.99

Find someone who crochets (if you do not ) and earn a DIY version of the above stool. By crocheting a cozy to match over the SANSAD Children’s Stool from IKEA, you’d replicate the above stool to get a personalized and budget-friendly edition.

Michael Miller Grand Bazaar Persian Wall Breeze – $8.98

Quilting fabric can be sewn into a tablecloth or runner. I really like this print’s turn on autumn colors with the inclusion of teal and blue.

Recycled Beverage Napkin – Orange Stripe – $4.95

This bold-striped, orange paper napkin incorporates a second routine into the table while still complementing the previous fabric pattern.

Cost Plus World Market

Felt Turkey Clips – $7.98

These sensed turkey clips are a fun and easy way to add location cards with each kid’s name.

Pottery Barn Kids

Thanksgiving Tumbler Set – $20

This children’s tumbler set is the perfect way to bring into a Thanksgiving turkey motif. They are shatterproof and exhibit simple words of thanks.

Coloring Pages

Thanksgiving Coloring Pages, Turkey Pilgrim

Free and printable coloring book pages can be located at many websites online. A couple of pages can be placed at each place setting to keep the children busy while the adults finish eating.

Listed below are a couple other places to publish some your self:


Bamboo Veneerware Plates – $8

Granite disposable plates are a sturdier, more beautiful, environmentally friendly solution to flimsy paper plates. They will make cleanup a breeze.

At Home with Kim Vallée

Combine Plastic Cutlery

Following is a fun disposable cutlery set from Unica Home for your children to enjoy.


OXO Tot Fork and Spoon Set, Orange – $5.95

Should there be tinier tots at the parties, this OXO fork and spoon set would be a fantastic alternative to the bigger children’ set.

Pumpkin Patch Disposable Camera – $3.99

Keep the children busy and the”cheesing” non-stop with these fall-themed disposable cameras. A few at the table or one at each chair would keep them busy shooting memories of their own.

Recycled Cardboard TeePee – $50

When nobody can sit at the table any longer, invite them over to this recycled cardboard teepee. They can throw on their pilgrim hats and Native American headdresses and have a fun hangout — no adults allowed! Hand them a bucket of crayons, and you’re set for a night of fun.

Native American Headband Craft Kit – $10

Every teepee wants its own Indian. This Native American headband craft kit produces a colorful headdress! This craft is ideal for Thanksgiving and will be a fantastic piece to increase the dress-up wardrobe long after.

Oriental Trading Co..

Fabulous Felt Pilgrim Hats – $12.99

Fantastic for enjoying, these magnificent sensed pilgrim hats come ready-to-wear. You could make this into a job by providing Thanksgiving felt pieces to your kiddos to attach.

More: Get Thanksgiving-Ready With the Season’s Best Picks

See related

Get Organized: Magnetic Makeup Board

Makeup storage is one of those organizational problems that never appears to have a fantastic solution. No matter what you try, it appears to upward in a large heap, covered in a dusting of bronzer or blush. Drawer dividers, individual zipped bags, and clear plastic bins don’t seem to do some good. Liz Marie Galvan had the same problem, and came up with an easy, economical and smart alternative.


Instead of cramming her cosmetics into bags or drawers, Galvan decided to keep things neat and clean by sticking them on a magnet board. She began with a classic gold frame she already had, then bought metal sheets from the hardware store in a size that would fit inside. She painted the sheets robin’s egg blue to meet her vanity, and then when they were sterile, used super glue to attach the sheets to the frame.


Galvan hot-glued smaller magnets (available at craft and hardware stores) to the rear of all of her bigger items of cosmetics, and then attached them to the metallic sheet in the frame. That is it! You could also pick up a magnetic board at an office supply store to make it easier.

Galvan currently finds getting ready in the morning only a little bit less of a struggle. Everything is right where she needs it, and there is never a spilled bottle or broken compact to take care of.

To learn more more about Galvan’s clever solution, check out the article on Liz Marie Blog.

More arranging hints:
Organizing Tips that Really Work: Pantry in a Drawer
Tackle a Tornado of Ribbon with Straightforward Storage Ideas
Organizing Tips from a Hollywood Dream Closet

See related

Outdoor Shower Style Steps Up

Outdoor showers used to have a pretty universal layout — a surround that often matched the privacy fencing, a straightforward spout and maybe a built in soap dish. Nowadays designers have turned their focus to outdoor showers, playing them off the design of the house with designs that rival the bathrooms indoors. Follow the links in the story to see more of the architecture of these homes.

Ashley Camper Photography

Rustic surf shack. Let us start with the basics. This easy outdoor shower adjoining to a 300-square-foot surf shack on Maui, Hawaii, fits in with all the rustic design. The varying fencing article heights give the environment character.

Explore the rest of this surf shack

TMS Architects

New England Shingle style. This outdoor shower stall’s design nods to the Shingle-style design of the oceanfront house in Rye, New Hampshire. The details at the top of the posts match the capitals atop columns onto the house, the curve onto the door plays the gate off to the pool, along with the white tongue-and-groove panels mimic millwork utilized within the house.

Our Town Plans

Beachy farm fashion. At this farm style-home on Daniel Island in South Carolina, shutters play a big part in the design. The shower doors are louvered PVC shutters that match the design and colour of the used on the rest of the home’s facade. When they’re open, one can enjoy porcelain tile which looks like reclaimed wood.

Shutter paint: St. Bart’s SW 7614, Sherwin-Williams; doorways: Permex; tile: Boardwalk in Myrtle Beach City, Mediterranea

Slifer Designs

Luxe contemporary hotel. Darting through the yard in a towel or robe may be a part of the outdoor shower fun for some, not too much for others. Some outdoor showers are extensions of indoor bathrooms. A bonus is that this allows for your bathroom to be open to the outdoors while still providing privacy, as you can see in this Hawaiian bathroom. It is just 1 part of a house that’s open to the outdoors.

Bertram Architects

Contemporary minimalism. In very private, protected spots, some love a more open feeling and forgo a closed shower stall. This writer’s cabin is secluded and private, which created the opportunity for an open shower. The smart Pipe shower is well-suited for its modern minimalist layout.

Watch more of the writer’s cottage

Playful midcentury modern. An aluminum wall mounted, a reddish bathtub plus a champagne-gold shower panel jazz up the outdoor shower area at this Palm Springs, California, stone.

Gold shower panel: Rozin

Marrokal Design & Remodeling

Casual surfer’s paradise. For users that are serious, it is handy to have room for surfboard storage directly next to the outdoor shower, such as at this house in Solana Beach California. After all, surfboards need a freshwater shower too. This shower also has an unexpected design element supporting the closed shower door, as performers sometimes add — in this scenario, multicolored slate vinyl.

Shor Home

Updated coastal cabin. A great view can be another exhilarating part of the outdoor shower experience. The curves at the top of the surround allow for peeks over the dunes to Cape Cod Bay and match a brand new wall and built in deck chairs in this timeless cabin in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Ed Leimgardt Contracting Inc..

Rustic-contemporary mix. Tucked under the deck of a house on Ontario’s Georgian Bay, this outdoor shower has a Galvalume surround which brings a modern aspect and defines it in a unique way.

Track hardware: K.N. Crowder

More: Learn how to add an outdoor shower

See related

10 Tile Patterns to Showcase Your Floor

After you have selected new tile for your home projects, think about how you’d like it laid out. Here is a guide of fundamental routines to get you started. Many tile showrooms have displays of floor patterns and the sales personnel can recommend sizes and configurations to suit your area.

More: How to Shop for Tile

Giulietti Schouten Architects

1. Immediately lay. This is the easiest tile pattern and it showcases the beauty of the tile.

Laura Burton Interiors

2. Diagonal. Tile is set onto a 45-degree angle. It add a little interest and leaves the floor feel expansive.

Rachel Reider Interiors

3. Running bond. This basic layoutis also referred to as a brick or counter pattern. Of the width of the tile offsets the tiles.

Dillard Pierce Design Associates

4. Checkerboard. Two colours of square tiles alternate to create this pattern. They can be set straight or around the diagonal.

Dillard Pierce Design Associates

5. Diagonal with arrows. Large tiles are notched at fixed intervals with smaller accent tiles.

Stonebreaker Remodelers & Builders

6. Pinwheel. Also called Hopscotch, a tiny square tile is surrounded by four larger ones.

Carson Poetzl, Inc..

7. Basketweave. This classic pattern is produced with squares and rectangles to create a woven effect.

Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab

Blue Celeste Basketweave Stone Mosaic – Ann Sacks Tile & Stone

Here is a view of this pattern.

My Unusual Slice of Suburbia

8. Modular. Three or more different-sized tiles are used to make a pattern. This one is called Versailles.

Giulietti Schouten Architects

9. Herringbone. This pattern adds sophisticated visual texture to the ground. In this kitchen, bright glass tiles were added to match the glass backsplash behind the cooktop.


Signet Collection Arc d’Midi Mosaic

10. Windmill. In this pattern, a square tile is surrounded by four rectangles. The effect is similar to a grid of dots.

More: Beautiful New Trends in Tile
How to Shop for Tile
How to Choose Stone Tile

See related

Regional Modern: San Francisco Opens into the View

San Francisco is easily one of the most gorgeous cities in the world, as a result of combination of a hilly landscape, water on three sides along with an impressive building stock. The”Painted Ladies,” the older Victorian buildings which draw tourists to areas such as Haight-Ashbury, are most likely the best-known examples of town’s architecture. Unfortunately for architects pushing the envelope with modern buildings, this historic fabric and its supporters make the town a notoriously difficult place to get things done.

But have done they do, from jobs such as the Federal Building by Morphosis and Stanley Saitowitz’s Yerba Buena Lofts to the next houses scattered across the Bay Area. In general, we find architects dealing with this historic context as well as other urban considerations — noise, privacy, building codes — along with also the ever-present urge to find the best view possible. The next photos show how they’ve succeeded.

More regional contemporary architecture:
Chicago | Boston | Austin | NYC | NY Metro | Oregon | Seattle | No. Calif.. | L.A. | Coastal L.A.


Located near Buena Vista Park, this little house replaces one of similar size in a contemporary manner. The timber slats on the floor ensure privacy, however the wraparound windows over provide lots of light and perspectives.

Schwartz and Architecture

What looks like a new house inserted between its older neighbors actually dates back to the 1950s and is what the architects less-than-affectionately predict a”builder’s unique.” Regardless, the easy stucco exterior with timber window frames is a wonderful method of treating the front facade. Still, the display in the top right and bump over the parapet hints at something beyond…

Schwartz and Architecture

A third-floor roof deck provides the owners a beautiful retreat that is private, but nevertheless part of the city. The mixture of stucco and timber is used throughout the job, but the amount of glass is ample, enabling more openness and better perspectives.

Mark English Architects, AIA

From the street, this house dating back to 1937 — exactly the exact same birth year as the neighboring Golden Gate Bridge — looks essentially the same as it did when it was constructed, save for new windows, new paint, and a new roof and a duplex. However, a look round the back…

Mark English Architects, AIA

… shows a contemporary addition that more than doubles the present house size. Lots of glass and even more outside area (on 3 levels: terrace, balcony, roof terrace) maximize the perspectives and use of this exterior.

Mark English Architects, AIA

From the rooftop, this perspective of downtown San Francisco is stunning. Enough said.

John Maniscalco Architecture

On the other end of the spectrum — layouts that present a contemporary face to the street — is this house and the following one by the exact same architect. The combination of substances breaks down the grade of the facades, while the terraces make sure that perspectives may be enjoyed outdoors and from inside.

John Maniscalco Architecture

This exterior of the house, too by Maniscalco, is primarily timber. Utilizing this substance over contemporary forms provides a contextual nod to conventional neighbors. Again, terrace space is provided for appreciating the views outdoors.

John Lum Architecture, Inc.. AIA

Some architects change their answers to historic circumstance in degrees. 1 such architect is John Lum, who designed this house and another two. A third-floor addition appears pared down, as it includes exactly the identical stucco exterior as the floor below it. The second-story cornice appears to be a historic remnant that is mimicked but simplified in the addition.

John Lum Architecture, Inc.. AIA

The apparent bulk of the two-unit corner building has been decreased by articulating its facade in 2 halves: the left side is metal and solid while the right side is more spacious with timber slats and large windows.

John Lum Architecture, Inc.. AIA

Another house by Lum breaks the fairly flat facade into three sections: a huge stucco area that surrounding the garage door, the entrance with blue tile over it, along with the butterfly roof with glass and wood below. In every example of Lum’s layouts, the scale is in keeping with all the neighboring houses. The architect also articulates the facades to link the contemporary designs to the older buildings too.

Feldman Architecture, Inc..

This townhouse renovation on Buena Vista Terrace near Haight-Ashbury concentrates its power on the rear of the house. The kitchen-dining amount was opened up towards the garden: pushed out from the design and literally opened through a wall of doors.

Feldman Architecture, Inc..

The view from inside certainly makes it apparent why the focus is on the back of the house.

Fougeron Architecture FAIA

This house is completely contemporary, but the front facade’s mix of 2 scales — the fine grain of the timber slats and the larger size of this second-floor window — make it a welcome addition that the area. From above…

Fougeron Architecture FAIA

… we can observe the way the bulk of the house rises at the rear, giving the building a little scale on the street side while giving the owners some valuable outdoor roof area.

WA Design Architects

This house in Berkeley — across the bay from San Francisco — is primarily solid from the front. But in the back…

WA Design Architects

… the layout involves walls of glass for catching sun and views. Notice the inclusion of a roof terrace. Even though there is a little backyard, this overlooks useable outdoor area and perspectives.

Fougeron Architecture FAIA

By Berkeley, we return into San Francisco, especially the South of Market Area (SOMA), that was especially popular before the dot-com bubble burst. Old buildings were saved and converted to residences, but none are as dramatic as this old warehouse with a rooftop addition.

Fougeron Architecture FAIA

From the rather straightforward loft spaces below, an elegant stair rises towards the light along with the addition.

Fougeron Architecture FAIA

Atop the older warehouse is this exemplary addition, what the architects liken to a”grasshopper settled lightly on the building surface.” By reaching skyward, the grasshopper addition offers access to the roof deck with views of the surrounding town. It’s a fairly good summation of the thoughts which are driving new houses in San Francisco.

More regional contemporary architecture:
Chicago | Boston | Austin | NYC | NY Metro | Oregon | Seattle | No. Calif.. | L.A. | Coastal L.A.

See related

Idea of the Week: Driftwood Mantle

At a preppy and modern Nantucket home filled with recovered and reused materials, the driftwood mantle in the living room stands out. The homeowners found this reclaimed bit of walnut by a river log from the Mississippi River. The timber has been cleaned using compressed air and a soft brush to remove any cobwebs or sand.

Then 3 custom 3/8″ metal plates were welded to some 3/4″ steel dowel. The plates were screwed into the wall stud and covered with Venetian plaster, leaving the dowels sticking out. Three matching holes were drilled into the driftwood, and a silicon insert has been used to attach the driftwood to the dowels. As a result, the mantle seems to float off of the wall.

Woodmeister Master Builders

While the construction demands some ability, finding a bit of timber that would fit in this field was just as much of a challenge. “Finding the proper size and shape of the timber was somewhat difficult,” states Chris Komenda of Woodmeister Master Builders. “But for us, that is part of the pleasure of reusing something unique and reclaimed.”

Another favourite part about the room in this National Green Building Standard Gold-certified home: The magnificent fireplace surround created from bits of petrified wood. Woodmeister Master Builders acquired this amazing piece through Cumar Marble and Granite in Everett, Mass..

More: Pictures of mantels in layout
Thought of the Week: Barstool Cozies
Thought of the Week: Space to Grow

See related