GPS Living Spring 2023 - Kohler Stores


T E X T PAUL HAGEN PHOTOGRAPHY RYAN M C DONALD I t is hard to imagine connecting with a designer more directly than meeting him as his work is being unveiled at a friend’s housewarming party. “We had a pleasant conversation, and they liked what we did,” remembers designer Dan Rak. “Our clients loved the architecture of their house but knew that the finishes were dated and that it required a good deal of work before it would be right for them. They asked what we would do with the house: where we would spend, where we thought we could salvage elements,” he explains. “Once we explained our thinking, they got on board and trusted us completely.” “Context is incredibly important in my work,” Rak explains. “My starting point is always the geography and the architecture.” And although this particular property is a single-family home among high-rises, Rak thinks it’s still a good architectural fit for Chi- cago’s culture-rich River North neighborhood. But he felt the interiors would need a degree of formal- ity to feel consistent with the area’s other high-end residences. “We set out to create a space that was impressive, urban, sophisticated,” Rak explains, “but also a comfortable space for the family to live.” Rak began in the kitchen with a sandy quartz- ite stone—against which elements such as Rohl faucets and a Kohler sink would present a stately shine. Thereafter, a central part of Rak’s task was to carry the energy of these refined colors through- out the home, while also experimenting with the balance of light and dark in each space. “We knew that we needed to exercise restraint in the selec- tions in order to achieve the tailored, sophisticated feel that the architecture required,” Rak explains. The home’s sophisticated palette ultimate-

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