J e a n Murphy
It's time to redefine the word And once within his doors, But the miraculous city views And his team rose to the
"mansion." even the biggest skeptic would and posh living arrangements challenge.
Traditionally known for their acknowledge that Ryan's home didn't come without some work. Jerry Hamen, president of
expansive lawns, architectural deserves the "mansion" designa- In 1996, Ryan moved into a Hamen Architects, Inc. of Lin-
detail, top-of-the-line finishes, tion. It is huge, covering 5,800 small condominium in his cur- coln Park, and his st& began
beautiful art and gorgeous h r - square feet, or three-quarters of rent building, but it wasn't until by breaking through walls to
niture, mansions are often se- the entire floor of a downtown 1999 that things got interesting. carefully measure and study
cluded behind walls and gates high-rise. That is when the large condo- every nook and cranny of the
on a large parcel of land. Custom millwork and faux minium, which occupied the en- building's core because, he says,
But Richard Ryan, a retired finishes abound within Ryan's tire east side of his floor, came on downtown high-rises are notori-
agriculture executive, broke that walls. The rooms are designed the market. Ryan decided to pur- ous for wasting space around el-
tradition and built his mansion to showcase the antiques and chase the adjoining unit, giving evators and mechanical systems.
overlooking Chicago's skyline. original artwork he has collect- him three-quarters of the floor. "We ended up using lots
Suspended high above the ed in his world travels. Incred- Ryan proceeded to hire an of this space to hide speakers,
bustling streets, near Chicago's ible furniture, both antiques army of talented people to meld recess the refrigerator and so
hmous Water Tower, Ryan en- and items custom-made for the the two condominiums, trans- forth," Hamen recalled.
joys an elegance and seclusion space, fill every room. No details forming his high-rise space into Once they were fully aware of
which Marshall Field himself have been overlooked. the home of his dreams. the spaces they had to work with,
would envy. The doormen be- And the view is indescribable. "The challenge was to make Hamen and his staff worked to
low and the long elevator ride More than 40 floors up, Ryan the structural elements of the find ways to make the space fit
are as effective a buffer from the has a bird's eye view of Lake building appear to be pluses in their plan.
world as any walls and wrought Michigan and much of the city the final product, not compro- THE P U U WlJ WALK
iron gates would be. of Chicago. mises," Ryan explained. through Richard Ryan's front
door you know that his team of
Arguably the longest living room designers, artists, architects and
in downtown Chicago, Richard construction workers succeeded
Ryan's "grand room", above, in creating a special place.
extends 75 feet with views of It begins with the elegantly-
downtown and the lake in three
different directions. appointed, but still cozy-feeling,
front hall. All the doors and mill-
Nationally-known decorative work here and throughout the
painter John Kraus of North condominium are faux painted
Carolina enhanced the built-in to look like exotic woods. The
wardrobe and dresser, left,
in Ryan's guest room using rich effect is breathtaking.
a technique called "graining" "These aren't expensive doors
to make a statement. but the way John Kraus painted
DREAM HOMES 17
Left, Ryan's gourmet kitchenhar
area gets its light from the floor-
to-ceiling windows in the adjoining
grand room. Massive sliding pocket
doors may be opened or shut,
depending upon the occasion.
Below, the corner library serves as
Ryan's retreat from the world. His
built-in desk is here, along with a
large entertainment center with
comfortable seating and his exten-
sive collection of books, shelved
between windows which overlook
Michigan Avenue and the lake.
them really makes them look "We also modulated the ceil- Dennen agreed to use a color to entertain large groups.
downtown," Ryan quipped. ing of the large room to make it palette of golden camel, persim- Those doors created lots of
Kraus is a nationally ac- seem higher and to conceal the mon and ivory that would give headaches for Barbara Rose and
claimed decorative painter from mechanicals like the sprinklers the home a continuous quality her team at S.N. Peck Builders,
Greensboro, North Carolina and heating pipes," Hamen said. which is harmonious from room Inc. of Chicago, the high-end
who has worked on historic res- "We created snug embrasures in to room. It is the details that custom residential remodeling
torations for the Smithsonian, hallways and doorways so that Dennen designed to add punch, firm that took on the project.
Appamatox and the Georgia when you enter the large rooms, including a limited use of red in "Floors in high-rises are al-
State Capitol, to name a few. they seem even larger." pillows and other small accents. most never level, for some rea-
"People in the late 18th centu- "My main concern in this Because the room is so long son, and it usually doesn't mat-
ry up until about 1850 preferred room was that there is a lot of and the ceiling could not be ter," Rose said. "But with the
painted wood over stained wood space here and I wanted to be raised, the ceiling was painted huge heavy pocket sliding doors
because they could exaggerate the sure it somehow felt personal and with a reflective sheen to make that the architect designed for
graining and give it a more theat- cozy," Ryan revealed. "Because of it appear higher; the oak floors Richard Ryan, they had to be
rical presence," Kraus explained. all the glass, I wanted to give the were stained a deep coffee color able to move quietly over a long
Kraus did so much work in whole condominium a little more to add to the depth of the room; expanse. So we had to build a
Ryan's condominium that he of a contemporary feel, while at and the walls were painted to whole new floor on top of the
spent eight months living there the same time making sure that look like a warm grass cloth existing floor EQ make i t lev-' "
while painting it. it would still feel comfortable if I counteracting the blue sky and AD JOINING THE GRI
S U ENFRY used traditional interiors." waters of Lake Michigan. m at
hn the southern end of
opens into the highlight of this As for the furnishings, most Large 15-foot-long wood and the condominium is a breathtak-
high-rise mansion, a 75-foot long were acquired just for this resi- glass sliding pocket doors sepa- ing master suite which has east-
"grand roomn which is visually dence, said James Dennen of rate the kitchen and wet bar areas ern and southern views of the
divided into three separate seat- McNutt and Dennen, Inc. Inte- from the grand room. A state- lake and city. It features a large
ing areas, one of which features a riors of Chicago. of-the-art kitchen with black dressing area with a beautifully
grand piano as the focal point. "Mr. Ryan had collected granite countertops, faux-paint- faux-painted vanity and a fabu-
"Richard wanted us to take sculpture and paintings through ed blond wood cabinets and top- lously unusual bath. Because of
full advantage of the magnificent his lifetime, especially early to of-the-line appliances allow Ryan mechanical structures inherent to
views and he wanted to open mid 20th century, and he has to cook for family and small the building, the architect could
up the condo so that he could traveled extensively throughout groups of friends, while provid- not take the master bath all the
entertain in grand fashion," Ha- Asia and had requested that the ing caterers everything they need way to the windows of the con-
men said. "We came back with space would reflect his travels."
a very dramatic design that took What resulted is a room where
some courage on his part, but he you can stand and see views in
loved it right away." three different directions at any
'The idea was to make the given time, thanks to the way
whole east side of the building the design team lined up the
one big room with pocket doors doors with the window
that would allow Richard to open
things up for a large group or close TO HOtD IfS OWN against
them down for a smaller one. the incredible views, Ryan and
For people distinguished
dominiurn, so he installed a lunet still enjoys cultivating plants
window allowing natural light to here. 'There is also a small galley nsecutive Year as
flow into the interior bathroom. kitchen off of this room, making OCK'S Paver o
At the opposite end of the it easy to repot and water plants
in this tiled room.
grand room is Ryan's library
which has northern and eastern Most of the original condo- 5O+pq&~&Uers By Aquascape
views. Window benches have minium area Ryan purchased
been built into the three windows more than a decade ago now
SpkCialist Unique Landscaping
Quality Grown Nursery Stock
to allow for comfortable gazing. houses the guest quarters consist- Rktaining Walls I @YearLandscape Warranty
Between the windows, floor- ing of two beautifid bedrooms Sidewalks 2-year Plant Warranty
to-ceiling bookcases have been and two baths, as well as the small Patios 10-YearHardscape Warranty
built. One interior wall is taken galley kitchenlpotting room that Ponds & Waterfalls Member ILCA
up by Ryan's huge built-in desk, guests can use for brewing coffee
Certified CAD Architects
while the other houses a large and minor cooking.
built-in entertainment center. This side of the condomin-
Incredible details are every- ium is as beautifilly finished
where you look in this room. as the other, with faux-grained
But the most impressive is the doors and beautifully furnished
painted stencil below the crown and decorated rooms.
molding at the ceiling line. The highlight of the guest
Kraus made it look as if the wall area, however, is Ryan's game
has been cut out in a design and room with its billiard and game
backlit when, in truth, it has all tables. The walls of this room
been accomplished with paint. are softened with a contempo-
"I actually used one of the rary touch - pale green ultra
old stencils that I had uncovered suede on the walls.
while doing restoration work "When I have a really large
in the Georgia State Capitol," party I will often cover the bil-
Kraus revealed. "So the beautill liard table and use this room for
stencil pattern in Richard Ryan's the buffet," Ryan said. "It is per-
study has its roots in Georgia." fect because it is right next to the
From the library one can turn smaU kitchen that I prefer cater-
west into a small, naturally-lit ers use because it is close to the
readinglmeeting room with a service elevator."
small table for two and an incred- "The investment of time and
ible view of the Old Water Tower, money I put into this place re-
Michigan Avenue, the Palmolive ally added up," he admirted.
Building and Oak Street Beach. "Now that it is finished and I
Ryan said this view was what am able to entertain and enjoy it
attracted him to his original myself, I find that it has all been
condominium years ago. He worth it." (
DREAM HOMES 19