NORTHFIELD HOUSE is a 1967 house that the influential Chicago architect Tony Grunsfeld designed for the real estate developer Julius Epstein in Northfield, Illinois. The original layout of the house is specific and efficient while the building technology was quite advanced for the time. The house that the owners took possession of in the winter of 2020 had been rigorously maintained over the years and was essentially in original condition. The cabinets throughout were pristine, the mechanical system functioned perfectly, and even the appliances in the kitchen appeared never to have been used. At the same time, the design standards of kitchens and bathrooms had evolved significantly and so it became clear that an intervention would be required. In renovating
their 1967 Tony Grunsfeld-designed house, the goal was to preserve as much of the original character of the house as possible while making the necessary updates to allow the house to support how they have become accustomed to living. Outside, the exterior and the landscape remained unchanged. Inside, however, the carpet and curtains in the bedrooms were removed. In place of the carpet, a finished polished concrete surface was poured. In place of the heavy drapes, blackout roller shades were added. Because of the relative seclusion and privacy of the property, shades were not added in the other public spaces. In the kitchen, although the existing appliances were pristine, the feared existed that their age might become a challenge, and so a set of Gaggenau appliances that fit the character of the house were selected. In the bathrooms, black marble was chosen that enhanced the contrast between these darker private interior spaces and the other luminous spaces throughout the house.
IMAGES BY RAFAEL GAMO