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LIVING THE Powered By Docstoc

                  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
   THE   a
         L        NG
                 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

          SUMMER 2007
                                                                            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.
                                                                                   2003         2004.
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

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