From David Bowie and John Lennon to Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith, when rock stars collaborate, great things happen. For award-winning kitchen designer and builder Scott Dresner of Dresner Design (dresnerdesign.com), design is the same—in particular, a recent project he completed with interior designer Suzan Hadaway (suzanhadaway.com). The globe-trotting clients had just moved to Chicago from Hong Kong and enlisted Hadaway to add personality to their new cookie-cutter home. “Prior to us starting, the house was fine,” Hadaway says. “It had good bones but not a lot of character.”
The young family likes to entertain, so the space “needed to function for everyday life as well as provide a chic backdrop for dinner parties,” Hadaway says. Because the home’s architecture is more traditional, “I wanted to make sure the space didn’t feel stuffy, but fresh, fun and kid-friendly.” One of the first things you notice upon entering is an unexpected color palette with a pink raw silk sofa from Lee Jofa, paired with Oly Studio chairs, covered in a cognac velvet, and the couple’s unique collection of art and antiques. The bright kitchen leads to a vibrant family room with a turquoise velvet sofa from Interior Define, a custom cerused oak coffee table and black-and-white botanical print Roman shades with orange trim. Set against a backdrop of extensive millwork and coffered ceilings, the furnishings make a bold statement.
When it came to the kitchen and family room, the compartmentalized spaces needed to be reworked, and the outdated, beat-up Brazilian cherrywood floor desperately needed replacing. Dresner was brought in for the construction and kitchen design, the new Carlisle wide-plank floor and repairing the roof. He continued the theme of the barrel ceiling in the front hallway by adding arched openings leading into the kitchen, and got rid of the arched doorways in the back, opening up the space leading into the family room. The butler’s pantry next to the kitchen originally had a secondary oven. “It was really weird, so we turned it into a service area for coffee and toast,” he says.
As a serious home cook, the husband was very involved with the kitchen design, and Dresner pulled out all the stops. Aesthetically, the kitchen now packs a big punch with a custom matte stainless steel hood by Avenue Metal with polished belts and double rivets, Calacatta Suprema honed marble countertops and island—the stone on the island alone weighs 800 pounds and had to be craned into place—and a showstopping La Cornue range.
Features such as a sous vide drawer, an electrical outlet hidden in the island that can be pulled out and used anywhere in the kitchen, and customized Wenge wood drawer interiors that keep spices, knives and utensils organized and within easy reach make the space a favorite for several of the homeowners’ professional chef friends. Custom Italian cabinetry is by De Angelis, a high-end solid-wood cabinetry line Dresner works with exclusively. Hadaway consulted on the finishing touches such as the Katonah hardware, faucets, artichoke-green cabinetry in the butler’s pantry, backsplash tile from Artistic Tile and wallpaper in a nook that faces the oven wall.
Dresner is typically known for modern Italian streamlined kitchens with the latest technology and appliances, but in this case, he admits it wasn’t right for the space. “They gave me a pretty open book to do what I wanted,” he says. “Suzan was wonderful to work with, and she really warmed it up. It isn’t really modern or contemporary or industrial—it’s just unique and useful.”