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Living Art on Chicago’s Famed Michigan Avenue

How does one live with art — or rather, live in art?

It was a question that guided a particular art collecting couple, who divide their time between the sun-kissed shores of Palm Beach and the wind-swept streets of Chicago. There are no universal guidelines, of course — no set of rules for guiding them on a path toward harmonious art-home coexistence. It became a matter of intuition and taste, and a matter of letting the art speak to them so that they, as owners and stewards, could display their art in a way that honors both the artist and his or her subject. They chose an unfinished, 4,000-square-foot penthouse on the 60th floor of the glorious Park Hyatt for their blank canvas. Renowned Chicago-based architect/interior designer Scott Himmel was promptly brought on board to envision the interiors as an homage to their life’s passion.


“The clients had a world-class art and sculpture collection, and in addition, they wanted a world-class furniture collection to go along with it,” recalls Himmel, who spent three years planning and designing the space in collaboration with the homeowners. “There were enormous floor-to-ceiling windows and 12-foot ceilings, so we took a museum-like approach while retaining a feeling of home.”

The result was a custom penthouse, every inch cultivated with the finest materials and perfectly positioned to take advantage of unobstructed views stretching from north, east and west. Notes Himmel: “From the flow of the plan to the quality of the materials and exceptional construction, it represents the highest level of detail and quality.”

Recently debuting on the market and represented by Chezi Rafaeli of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Chicago, the two-bedroom residence welcomes you into an entrance hall as you are lured inside by windows revealing wide swathes of the city and Lake Michigan. Tall openings to the living room match the height and scale of the living-room windows, giving it a monumental quality. The walls, paneled in dark wenge and white oak, were designed with built-in niches lined with sandblasted mirrors featuring underlighting and spotlights to highlight an art collection that includes a beautiful pair of Botero sculptures. Elegant slabs of unfilled Roman travertine line the floors and interior core walls, an inspiration taken from the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, originally designed by Louis Kahn. Millwork by Highland Park Millwork and Parenti & Raffaelli Ltd. reveal the exacting attention to detail permeating the residence.


Room by room, the homeowners’ eye for contemporary art, 20th-century French antiques and modern lines defines the warm, gallery-like home. Featuring direct access to the balcony, the sleek eat-in kitchen reveals stainless steel Boffi cabinetry and the most luxurious appliances of the day, including Gaggeneau, Miele and Sub-Zero. A hallway from the kitchen leads to the spacious formal dining room, bathed in natural light and floor-to-ceiling skyscraper views, with bronzed walls paneled in custom hand-stitched leather. The magnificent master suite is another showpiece, with a large dressing room and master bath custom finished with heated marble floors. A large terrace balcony —with no unit below it — impresses, thanks to the views and a gas barbecue, primed for summer entertaining. The artful design is further complemented by a Crestron “smart home” system for full-home automation.


“No detail has been overlooked,” says Rafaeli. “The ambiance created by the design, the iconic architecture and reputation of the building makes this residence an unparalleled real estate opportunity. It is one of the rarest penthouses to ever be on the market since the building was built.”

As part of the Park Hyatt, the future owner of this home will also have access to world-class amenities — a health club, spa, concierge, chic cocktail bar and restaurant. A prime Michigan Avenue address also puts the owner within walking distance of upscale boutique shops, the Art Institute of Chicago and Buckingham Fountain. It’s an inspiring setting for an equally inspiring residence — just as irreplaceable as the fine works within it.

By Alyson Pitarre

This article originally appeared in the fall 2016 issue of Homes & Estates.

800 North Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
$12,000,000 USD

Represented by: Chezi Rafaeli
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Chicago


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Living Art on Chicago’s Famed Michigan Avenue

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