San Francisco Heart, Chicago Jazz


When a San Francisco couple took possession of a pied-à-terre in Chicago to facilitate frequent visits to their family, they turned to Studio Gild to infuse the space with heart and soul.

Photo by Mike Schwartz Photography

Founded almost a half dozen years ago in Chicago, Studio Gild recently opened an office in Los Angeles. “All three of us cut our design chops in New York, but we felt a strong pull towards the west coast for our next chapter,” says Studio Gild principal Melissa Benham. Born and bred in California, Benham brought an innate understanding of the state’s version of modern, relaxed elegance to the table.

Roll & Hills Castle Chandelier in Bronze Metal with Cream Glass hangs over Holly Hunt’s Trice table in Walnut driftwood. The Minne chairs are by Piet Boon. Photo by Mike Schwartz Photography
Cassina’s P22 Lounge chair is paired with the Jev table, sourced through DWR. Photo by Mike Schwartz Photography

The 4,000 square foot condo featured sprawling interior spaces, extensive outdoor areas, including front and rear balconies and a graciously proportioned backyard. Little more than a simple white shell, Studio Gild would need to coax out its personality, creating a home that was at once practical, with durable materials and unfussy details, yet also sophisticated. “We settled on an approach of well-tailored spaces with clean lines, refined layers, and a cohesive, masculine palette,” says Benham. Against a high-contrast backdrop strong, well-orchestrated punches of black pop against muted greys and taupes inspired by suiting fabrics.” The dark color scheme and strong architectural shapes find a match in the Chicago cityscape.

The kitchen’s vibrant woven leather chairs are by Mark Albrecht. The light fixture is by Roll & Hill. Photo by Mike Schwartz Photography

“It can be a challenge to infuse warmth into a new construction home,” Benham explains. “The large scale of the rooms felt inhuman so we worked to define each space with a unique function to ensure every room would be used and enjoyed.” An aluminum and smoked gray glass room divider from Rimadesio delineates the living and dining spaces. “The shelves creates just enough separation between the two spaces to make them feel more intimate, while still maintaining a harmonious connection,” Benham explains. Layering in books and knick knacks add depth and dimension. So too does art, which Studio Gild was tasked with finding.

The portal table in blackened ash is from Apparatus Studio. Photo by Mike Schwartz Photography
Photo by Mike Schwartz Photography

“We wanted to imbue an honest reflection of our clients with authentic adornment to reveal aspects of their personal story.” That included reminders of an African Safari the couple had experienced which are woven in through colors, textures and patterns as well as mementos that peek out amongst the books. A large-scale “South Africa” photograph by Zack Seckler that dominates the master bedroom another reminder of the memorable trip.

Photo by Mike Schwartz Photography
Photo by Mike Schwartz Photography

“The client was absolutely thrilled with the final result,” Benham shares. “During our first post-install walkthrough, we came prepared to document our punch list, but instead we walked from room to room so they could tell us what they loved most in each space! They adored each thoughtful detail and felt like their new Chicago home reflected them perfectly.” Home is turns out, is where the heart is.

Photo by Mike Schwartz Photography