Rediscovering Elegance: A Victorian Revival in a Chicago Graystone – Houzz Tour

In this Houzz Tour, we explore the remarkable transformation of a Chicago graystone house that was built in 1900. The house, located in the Logan Square neighborhood, had lost much of its historic charm during a renovation in the late 1980s. However, interior designer Rebekah Zaveloff was called in to breathe new life into this beautiful Victorian gem.


Victorian Vibes Reimagined

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The Challenge of Blending Styles

The homeowners had contrasting design preferences – one leaning towards industrial elements and the other favoring vintage modern. Zaveloff’s task was to bridge this gap, all while restoring the period details that had been lost over the years.

Bringing Back Period Features

Zaveloff’s restoration project focused on reintroducing historical elements. This included reconstructing walls, adding cased openings between rooms, and installing era-appropriate flooring and moldings. The result is a home that now feels like it has retained its original character, as if the prior renovation never happened.

A Journey Through the Home

The Parlor Revival

Before the Transformation

In the middle parlor, the original fireplace surround had been replaced, and built-ins were added, departing from its Victorian roots.

After the Transformation

Zaveloff restored the fireplace with an Absolute Black granite surround, creating a cozy seating area with leather chairs and an industrial touch with a concrete table. Vintage Turkish Oushak rugs and kilim pillows were incorporated to infuse warmth and character.

Thoughtful Living Spaces

Zaveloff created distinct living areas, avoiding the use of can lights whenever possible. Instead, she employed chandeliers and pendants for a more unique atmosphere, such as the eye-catching rattan light fixture that adds a sculptural element to the room.

A Nod to Chicago’s Legacy

In the TV seating area, Zaveloff included a classic Barcelona chair, paying homage to the iconic designs of Mies van der Rohe, a renowned figure in Chicago’s architectural history.

A Powder Room Transformation

Before the Transformation

The existing powder room didn’t align with the homeowners’ style preferences.

After the Transformation

Behind a closed door, Zaveloff had the creative freedom to diverge from Victorian style. She introduced a graphic punch with David Hicks wallpaper and added character with wainscoting in handmade charcoal tile.

A Kitchen That Balances Vintage and Industrial

The kitchen and dining room were maintained as an open space, aligning with the layout that worked well for the homeowners. Vintage industrial aesthetics were preserved with a tin tile ceiling and brick tile walls. A custom black metal and stainless steel hood became a bold focal point.

Upstairs Oasis

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Maximizing Space

Zaveloff identified a previously underutilized space at the top of the stairs. She transformed it into a comfortable reading area, demonstrating that every inch of the house could be thoughtfully utilized.

Primary Bedroom Serenity

The primary bedroom exudes modern warmth and serenity. Zaveloff incorporated cozy swivel chairs in the bay window area, softened by Belgian linen drapes. Earthy colors and natural fiber textiles create an inviting atmosphere.

A Fireplace Reimagined

The primary bedroom’s fireplace surround was given a makeover with a stone hearth and stacked ceramic tiles, adding an exterior-inspired element that enhances the room’s ambiance.

Modern Luxury in the Primary Bathroom

In the primary bathroom, a more modern approach was taken. Black hexagonal tiles on the floor and white 3D geometric tiles on the walls redefine the space. The black quartzite countertop complements the kitchen’s design.

Guest Bath Transformation

Making a Bold Statement

The guest bathroom showcases Benjamin Moore’s Chrome Green paint, offering a striking contrast. A classic black-and-white patterned tile on the floor and Luxe Steel faucets add to the bathroom’s appeal.

In this Houzz Tour, we’ve witnessed the remarkable revival of a Chicago graystone house, where Victorian vibes have been beautifully reimagined and merged with modern sensibilities. The project not only restores historic elegance but also demonstrates the power of design in transforming a space into a true home.

Further Reading on Greystone Buildings

What is the historic Chicago Greystone initiative?

The Historic Chicago Greystone Initiative, primarily situated in North Lawndale, has published two insightful booklets. These booklets meticulously detail the history and demographics of greystones, while also providing essential guidance for homeowners considering the restoration, preservation, or modernization of their greystone properties.

Why are multi-flat Greystones so popular?

The multi-flat Greystone design gained popularity for several reasons. One significant factor was the severe housing shortage in Chicago following the fire. Despite the preference for the appearance of single-family homes, the priority was to maximize housing density. The stacked flats in a multi-unit Greystone provided an ideal solution to this housing challenge.

Where does the Chicago Greystone come from?

The limestone used to construct the facades of the Chicago Greystone and many other city buildings originates primarily from a single source—the quarries near Bedford, Indiana. This has been the consistent choice since shortly after the Chicago Fire.

Who designed the Greystones?

The Greystones, constructed in 1917-8, were the work of architect George H. Wells, commissioned by the Queensboro Corporation. These iconic buildings can be found on 80th Street, situated between 37th and [original information incomplete].

What is a Greystone Street?

What sets a Greystone Street apart is the striking sense of density, cohesiveness, and even grandeur it imparts. This is achieved through rows of two and three-story Greystones, which create a unique atmosphere that individual cottages or larger apartment blocks cannot match. For further insights, refer to Sharon Haar’s article "Greystone as Type" in The Chicago Greystone in Historic North Lawndale.

What is the shape of a greystone building?

What defines the shape of a greystone building is its strong connection to the city’s street grid, zoning regulations, and population trends. These factors have given rise to a distinctive long and narrow building form, where each unit extends from the front to the back of the structure. This design is well-suited to the typical lot size of 25 by 125 feet.

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