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Lincoln Square renovation, Chicago

Designed to maximize the live/work life of the artisan/craftsman owner, this house renovation combines a number of different traditions to make a unique series of spaces. The owner, an accomplished craftsman of shoji screens and Japanese tonsu chests, wanted a house that could be more flexible as both a home and showroom. Like many renovations, a careful analysis of the existing structure revealed a few curious surprises. The existing second floor was supported on a number of beams that radiated, pinwheel-like, from a hall closet.

By removing almost all of the interior walls of the old house, the space could than be opened up for larger gatherings. A series of shoji screens located along the position of the old interior walls allows each of the previously existing rooms to be reconstituted, or by sliding the screens back shifted to create a completely open space around the former closet. This closet became the center of the house, a place of honor for newly created objects, functioning like a paper lantern lit from a new skylight and glass floor above.

Designed with James Walker, David Leary and Katherine Iverson Builder: by Owner Structural Engineer: John Trankina Photography: Craig Klucina and James Walker