By Domino Staff

Published on March 8, 2016

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Photography by NATHAN KIRKMAN AND ANNA KNOTT

CABINET COLOR Bright Yellow (2022-30) $6.99/pint sample, store.benjaminmoore.com

photographs by NATHAN KIRKMAN AND ANNA KNOTT 
text by CAROLINE BIGGS 
interior design by GRAHAM KOSTIC  AND FRAN TAGLIA

For their first Windy City home, Graham Kostic and Fran Taglia transformed an old factory loft into a bright, colorful space filled with meaningful memories.

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Photography by NATHAN KIRKMAN AND ANNA KNOTT

Kostic (left) and Taglia at home in West Town, Chicago.

REVIEW AND RECONDITION

Five years ago, upon moving back to Chicago from a tiny apartment in Boston’s South End, Graham Kostic and Fran Taglia searched for an abode with a little more room and character. After seeing a 3,000-square-foot residential space in a rumored soda factory-turned-auto garage in the quaint neighborhood of West Town, the couple knew immediately they’d found a home. “The layout offered both an open loft feel in the front and a sense of privacy because of the small jewel-box rooms in the back,” Kostic, co-founder and creative director of stylish digital magazine Glossed & Found, explains. “And we loved that juxtaposition.” As soon as they moved into the two-bedroom dwelling—which includes a massive multipurpose living area and kitchen, as well as a private courtyard and garden in front—Kostic and Taglia began an extensive eight-month renovation project. Structurally, they opened up the main room by knocking down the front wall and adding floor-to-ceiling steel doors to allow for more natural light. The kitchen and hallway were extended by converting the garage to a mudroom used for laundry and ample storage. All the exposed brick walls were painted a creamy white to soften the structure’s rough texture, and new hardwood floors were installed. The end result—a pad so spacious and perfect for entertaining that the pair opted to hold their fall 2013 wedding ceremony and after-party there before embarking on the process of decorating. “There was something about scuffing, scratching, and beating up our new wood floors on our wedding night that really broke in the house,” Taglia jokes.

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Photography by NATHAN KIRKMAN AND ANNA KNOTT

A geometrically tiled fireplace serves as a bold centerpiece for the open-layout living area.

SOFA Petrie Apartment in graphite by Crate & Barrel,  PILLOWS brown and white stripe by Crate & Barrel,

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Photography by NATHAN KIRKMAN AND ANNA KNOTT

The couple chose thick white floating shelves and cabinetry for the spacious kitchen, creating an airy showcase for their impressive collection of dishes and glassware.

“EVERYTHING HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BECOME A COLLECTION, SO YOU MUST HAVE DEDICATED SPACE FOR YOUR FAVORITES.”—GRAHAM KOSTIC

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Photography by NATHAN KIRKMAN AND ANNA KNOTT

WALLPAPER Brazilliance by Carleton Varney by the Yard$330/double roll, store.greenbriar.com PIGGY BANK Reality Bank in the Form of a Pig in matte white by Harry Allen $150 areaware.com

SETTING THE STAGE

Once their nuptial celebrations were over, Kostic and Taglia started the next phase of the process by adding rich bursts of wall color and furnishings to their newly renovated home. First, they painted the library in a statement teal hue to give the room a sophisticated and cool ambience. Next, oversized vintage pharmacy cabinets were coated in a bright yellow and installed in the mudroom as a lively linen closet. In the kitchen, an animated palm-tree-printed paper was applied around the dining areas to offset the otherwise neutral palette. Then, to add a small, cheerful pop of personality, the couple covered the inside of the kitchen cabinets in a lime green tint. “Chicago can be a miserable city in the wintertime,” Taglia explains. “We use color to brighten up unexpected areas.”

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Photography by NATHAN KIRKMAN AND ANNA KNOTT

Unexpected patterns—including Moroccan tile floors by Popham and a constellation-covered ceiling—add a sense of whimsy to the master bathroom.

SCONCE Satellite wall $135 schoolhouseelectric.com  SINK Pharmacy double vanity in white $4,145–$4,445 restorationhardware.com  MEDICINE CABINET Submarine inset $735–$995 restorationhardware.com   TILE Paccha zigzag field in kohl and milk by Popham Design $25.94–$25.95/square foot, annsacks.com

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Photography by NATHAN KIRKMAN AND ANNA KNOTT

The contrast of a dark claw-foot tub paired with a dreamy Fornasetti cloud-print wallpaper makes for a lavishly decorated guest bathroom.

WALLPAPER Nuvolette $2.20/sample, cole-and-son.com BATH TAPSclassic pillar in antique gold, lefroybrooks.com VALVE Godolphin thermostatic with riser, lefroybrooks.com TUB classic clawfoot with flat rim $2,673–$3,110.40 vintagetub.com

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Photography by NATHAN KIRKMAN AND ANNA KNOTT

A toolbox-turned-organizer by Best Made from Kostic’s parents keeps beloved objects orderly and intact.

CHEST 41D Gerstner $1,250 bestmadeco.com  STICKER Mickey Thumbs Up in leather $75 us.anyahindmarch.com

KOSTIC’S CHOICE CHICAGO SHOPS

WOOLLY MAMMOTH It’s genuinely a cabinet of curiosities. Our last purchase there: a taxidermy mount of a superhero beaver. 


RANDOLPH STREET MARKET This monthly antique market has seriously good vibes (live music and a superb Bloody Mary bar!). Amelia Jane Vintage’s booth is always a highlight. 


PROJECT ONWARD GALLERY This nonprofit studio space offers career development of artists with mental and physical disabilities. Want a unique piece or a glittered portrait? It’s an incredible place. 


MERCANTILE M This pint-sized storefront boutique has a small selection of well-priced and well-loved objects. From a kitschy outsider’s seashell art lamp to an oversized oil painting—I never walk out empty-handed. 


OPEN BOOKS This nonprofit used bookstore is a treasure trove of interesting books with good-looking spines—two key qualifiers for our color-coded library shelves!

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Photography by NATHAN KIRKMAN AND ANNA KNOTT

Graphic wallpaper, a rope chandelier, and a bright blue rug make the couple’s bedroom feel like a serene nautical retreat.RUG Distressed Arabesque in midnight by West Elm  BED Ferret in hand-rubbed black,noirfurniturela.com SCONCES Princeton Senior $209 each, schoolhouseelectric.com TABLE Novo folding in acrylic by CB2

CLOSING ACT

The final nesting stage, and perhaps the most notable, was the endeavor of organizing and arranging the considerable troves of personal treasures and collections, which include everything from quirky salt and pepper shakers to vintage vinyl records. “Everything has the potential to become a collection, so you must have dedicated space for your favorites,” Kostic says. “But it’s a great way to create meaningful scenes around your home.” After carefully curating and mandatory editing—per Taglia’s insistence—the couple were able to whittle down their vast assortment and forge small yet succinct vignettes throughout the spirited dwelling. “When you talk about style—that untaught, unadulterated fashion in which someone expresses themselves—that excites me,” Kostic adds. “Our home is so sickeningly stylish because we poured our hearts into every little detail.”

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The pair use their grapevine-enveloped courtyard for entertaining outdoors when Midwestern weather permits.

TILE Tulum $6.90/piece,cementtileshop.com  DINNER PLATES enamelware in blue/ white marble,crowcanyonhome.com