When Jolita Leonas-Arzbaecher was planning her new penthouse apartment in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, she gave her design team some very specific instructions.
“My home has to be as unique, dramatic and one of a kind as I am,” she told them. “Dramatic in the sense of being fascinating, unexpected and powerful.”
The grandiosity wasn’t lost on her. “How’s that for me boasting?” she joked recently.
All kidding aside, Ms. Leonas-Arzbaecher, 65, an agricultural landowner and philanthropist interested in integrative and preventive medicine, views her home as an extension of herself, and she wanted the 4,320-square-foot apartment to be something truly uncommon.
dSpace Studio, to turn it into the modernist home of her dreams.
“When you get in early, there’s opportunity,” Mr. Toukoumidis said. “We were brought in before the steel was erected and before the concrete floors were poured. So the opportunity was that we were able to redesign and reinvent this floor plan.”
For two years, he worked with the developer to customize the design of the unit before bringing in his own builder, Fraser Construction, to finish the job. And he spent hours talking with Ms. Leonas-Arzbaecher, teasing out the design details that would make her happy.
“For me, designing a home for our clients is all about this intimate process,” Mr. Toukoumidis said. “You have to understand the client’s lifestyle today, but even more important, help them think about how they’re going to live in the future.”
Project Interiors on Mr. Toukoumidis’s recommendation. Aimee Wertepny, the owner of Project, and Jennifer Kranitz, the lead designer on the project, were immediately taken with Ms. Leonas-Arzbaecher’s enthusiasm for daring design.