Christmastime means family time in designer Kim Scodro's pretty Chicago high-rise.


Shiny new toys and sticky-fingered grandchildren spill across the antique carpet in Kim and Bruce Scodro's living room—bringing chaos to a space Kim created to exude calm. And she wouldn't have it any other way. "Christmas is my happiest holiday," the Chicago designer says. "The whole family jams in here, and it's absolutely awesome. We are truly home for Christmas. We spend the day in our pajamas, the grandkids play, and it's an all-day eating fest. Life just doesn't get any better."

Warm memories fill every inch of this apartment in a venerable 1920s high-rise. The couple were drawn to the building's location in the heart of Chicago and to its prewar interior architecture with delights such as intricate plaster moldings.

Kim respected the integrity of the era's design, retaining the classic bones and separate rooms—no open floor plan here—as she renovated the spaces to suit her aesthetic and modern life. "It is a family home," she says. "You can really live in it. Nothing is too precious."

entry area with table and blue velvet chair
Credit: Werner Straube

It is, however, refined. Beauty reigns from the first step out of the elevator onto the Carrara marble floor in a vestibule wrapped with delicate hand-painted chinoiserie wallpaper and furnished with character-rich antiques. Soft blues and creams along with hints of saturated royal blue set a serene mood. "You immediately know what you're walking into," Kim says. "We wanted a very clean, soft space. I love a layered look, but I didn't want a ton of stuff around in my own home. This feels more comfortable."

french inspired fireplace in living room
Credit: Werner Straube

Ease and elegance converge in the living room, a large space that Kim delineated into two zones using furniture groupings: a convivial gathering area and an intimate spot to curl up and relax. Windows and French doors frame picturesque views of Lake Michigan, its soothing blues reflected in the floor-to-ceiling draperies. The soft palette jibes with soft fabrics, including luxurious velvets and matelassé on silk.

beige chaise lounge in living room
Credit: Werner Straube

Seating from Kravet and Nancy Corzine brings shapely silhouettes to the gathering area, where antiques—including a French fireplace surround and a Biedermeier chest—mingle with pretty wool draperies, brass lamps and sconces, and festive holiday greenery. In a more intimate corner of the room, a chaise invites quiet lounging.

The room, though, is much more than a pretty face. It's family central, especially during the holidays when cheery stockings hang from the fireplace mantel, wreaths dot the paned windows, and ribbons decorate the topiaries that rise from patinaed urns.

designer Kim Scodro outside
Credit: Werner Straube

"Christmas is a big deal at our house," Kim says. "We practically start at dawn." Bruce brings in bagfuls of bagels and cream cheese from a little shop that's open on Christmas morning, always a favorite of the couple's four children and now their three young grandkids.

After breakfast, it's time to tear into the wealth of pretty packages cloaking unknown delights. "Then we move on to coffee cake," Kim says with a laugh. "It's all about the carbs."

A charcuterie tray suffices for lunch, followed by a pasta dinner served buffet-style in the kitchen, one of the few spots where the renovation involved a floor plan change. To get space for plenty of creamy-white paneled cabinets, a big refrigerator, a handy center island, and a breakfast nook outfitted with a cozy banquette, Kim combined two of the apartment's original rooms into one.

french inspired kitchen with chandelier
Credit: Werner Straube

An antique chandelier over the stained-wood island complements classic white cabinetry and a traditional Rohl faucet.

breakfast nook with dark hardwood floors
Credit: Werner Straube

Kim was happy to find a spot in the corner of the kitchen for a banquette, which she loves for family meals. Midcentury-style chairs from Poly & Bark offer additional seating at the table from Noir.

glamorous dining room with a mirrored wall
Credit: Werner Straube

The high-function space makes it easy for Kim to prepare meals for relaxed family get-togethers or more formal affairs, when meals move to the glamorous dining room. Here, antique mirror panels on one wall visually expand the space and reflect the shimmer of a cascading crystal chandelier.

"Incorporating mirrors is like adding a window," Kim says. A dramatic contemporary work by Chicago artist Francine Turk juxtaposes the classic furniture pieces.

wood paneled den with beige sectional
Credit: Werner Straube

Wood paneling wraps the casual den in warmth. A sectional provides plenty of sprawl-out space, while a patterned rug and chair up the fun factor.

main bedroom with upholstered headboard and blue bedspread
Credit: Werner Straube

An upholstered headboard on the bed from Julia Gray sets a sophisticated tone. Gilt-accented nightstands and valanced draperies join the chic scene.

"This home is classic," Kim says. "I love its tradition and the traditions our family has created here. That makes it a magical place on Christmas Day and every day."

By Sally Finder Weepie and Hilary Rose


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