The River

Elgin, Illinois / United States of America

A couple of empty nesters were ready to open up their 60’s ranch.  The existing floorplan(1200sf) consisted of six rooms, plus a laundry/mudroom.  A central staircase was also a challenge and needed to remain.  Overall, the owners requested a more open feeling, natural light, a free plan, and enlarged mudroom.  Four south facing window bays were present, but blocked by interior walls.  Differing  floor levels also had to be addressed. 

A logistic 18” addition to the laundry room allowed for a bank of new storage.  Upon a quick peek in the attic & W-truss calculation, the move to take down interior walls was clear.  The design quickly transformed six rooms into one flexible space.  An encompassing kitchen island & eating area buffet solved the riddle of the central staircase.  Quickly thereafter, the concept of the river was born.  We decided to mimic the island height with a knee wall at the foyer.  The same granite would top this and connect the main spaces.  This concept was extended to the east wall; up & over the bedroom hallway opening.  It created a small trickle of a stream, waterfall, then back to the river, & finally the delta around the island.  

Architect of Record

Jereme Smith
DII Archtiecture
507 W. Marion St.
Prospect Heights, Illinois 60070
Phone: 773.209.1488

General Contractor

Henry Stefanski
Henry's Construction
5109 N LaCrosse Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60630
Phone: (773) 592-8149


David Price

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