How Christopher Kent Stunningly Redesigned a Palmolive Building Pied-A-Terre

By Tate Gunnerson | December 23, 2019 | Home & Real Estate

Employing bold colors and a heady mix of furnishings from different eras, interior designer Christopher Kent transforms his parent’s luxurious Palmolive Building pied-a-terre.

An abstract piece by Costel Iarca stars in the gracious art deco-style living room.

For the Kent clan, family trumps all. So when Robert and Marguerite’s adult twins, Christopher and Lauren, relocated to Chicago, the southern Indiana-based couple took a greater interest in the city, ultimately buying a weekend place in the luxe art deco-era Palmolive Building. To put a more personal spin on it, they turned to Christopher, a successful interior designer, who had designed many of their previous homes in a range of styles from Colonial Americana to ultracontemporary. “He never stops studying, and he sees beauty in everything,” Marguerite says.

Christopher attributes that creative side to Marguerite, who, dressed in Valentino red tux pants, a Ralph Lauren navy nautical blazer and Burberry toile mules, looks just as stylish during our interview as her new home. And while he appreciated the unit’s art deco-inspired millwork and gracious room sizes, Christopher made several key modifications to enhance the space. A newly added pair of French doors, for example, flank the living room fireplace, which is now double-sided and outfitted with a Chinese purple marble mantel. Above it, a graphic and tactile mixed media piece by Costel Iarca creates a stunning focal point for a mix of French antiques alongside vintage and new pieces. “I’m inspired by European design,” he says. “I wanted this place to feel like it had been lived in.”

Custom berry-colored cabinets by Waterworks and pink Rosa Aurora marble countertops amp up the kitchen’s color.

The artwork is reflected in the wall of antiqued mirror in the adjacent open dining room, where an elegant brass palm fronds light fixture illuminates an antique table and chairs. The pink tones in the new striped chair upholstery offer a taste of what awaits in the kitchen, its custom cabinetry painted in a deep berry tone to complement the pink Rosa Aurora counters. “Christopher broadened our horizons,” Marguerite says.

Color is also a key ingredient in the bedroom-turned-den, an enveloping space furnished with a deep, plush sectional sofa covered in a celadon green chenille and velvet brocade draperies that closely match the walls. Surrounding the unit’s second Chinese purple marble fireplace mantel, undulating vertical millwork adds another layer. “I wanted to give some texture to an otherwise nondescript wall,” Kent says.

A pair of newly added French doors lead to an enveloping den, which is furnished with a roomy, plush sofa from Flexform; a custom ottoman covered in coyote fur; and the artworks “Tea Time” by Isaac Maimon (left) and “Seated Woman in Blue Hat” by Itzchak Tarkay.

Pattern likewise elevates the vibrant powder room, its walls covered in a paper with flowering palm fronds accented by a bright red-painted mirror. Underneath a wall-mounted, mirrored-front vanity appears to be floating, a design trick that Kent used in the other bathrooms as well.

Reflecting Marguerite’s penchant for color and Robert’s interest in antiques, the elegant yet eminently comfortable in-towner strikes all the right notes. “I feel like I’ve landed in Paris,” Marguerite says. “It was everything that I dreamed of. When I walk in that front door, I feel like I’m home.”