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Information for this article was provided by Tom Marquardt, principal and founder of marquardt+ in Chicago, IL and an Interior Design instructor at the Harrington College of Design, as featured within The Journal of Light Construction May 2011 issue.

This feature is continued from yesterday.

After the living areas were taken care of, Tom next looked to transform the bathroom and kitchen. He enlarged the bath by borrowing a foot from the hallway and three feet towards the front of the apartment. Replacing the front wall of the bathroom with textured translucent glass allowed it to receive natural light during the day, while at night its internal lights can provide accent lighting to the living areas outside. You can see the before and after picture above!

For the kitchen, Tom and his marquardt+ team truly started to get creative. “People always seem to end up in the kitchen, so even though this one was very small, it needed to be a comfortable place for guests to hang out and convenient for the cook. Since expanding it wasn’t an option, we decided to design it for multiple uses. The washer and dryer are beneath the wall counter, the island provides a place to fold clothes, and (as detailed yesterday) the guest bedroom can double as a seating area.”

From a stainless steel prep table island, to inexpensive brackets and standard wire shelving for dish storage, Tom controlled costs by creating functional and custom areas that often doubled in their use. “The drawers beneath the long counter are actually Herman Miller Meridian commercial file cabinets. We placed a plant box in the window sill to block the view of the roof next door while still letting in the daylight. Nothing is built in. The island is freestanding, and the shelves and cabinets are clipped in place. This makes it easy to pull things out and replace them, whether to reconfigure the kitchen for a rental or to stage it for a sale,” Tom said.

With the shotgun flat project complete, Tom Marquardt shares his insight: “What are the lessons from this project? One is that while people want big bedrooms, you can compensate with a bigger bath, a more inviting public area, and built-in storage — and by thinking more broadly about product options.

The larger lesson is that you can live well in a small space. Why build 3,000 square feet when you can build half that and live or work just as comfortably? Designing within a limited footprint takes imagination, but if you’re flexible in your approach it’s amazing what becomes possible.”

About Tom Marquardt and marquardt+
Tom Marquardt, principal and founder of marquardt+, initially established his practice in 1988 as Marquardt Design Collaboratives with three studios located in Chicago, Milwaukee, and London. Skilled designers and architects led each studio utilizing interdisciplinary design methods to create innovative solutions. Tom Marquardt and Vince Gammino led the Chicago studio, Greg Martin headed the Milwaukee studio, and Andrea Brown maintained the London studio. MDC successfully completed projects in the US, Europe, Egypt and Dubai, and now continues its interdisplinary design tradition as marquardt+ through experience and confidence which translates into comprehensive, yet decisive creativity.

Tom is the definition of interdisciplinary design with a triple major in Graphic, Industrial and Interior Design. He not only brings his vision of cross discipline design to a project, but the objectivity of a seasoned business owner.

In addition to running a business, Tom also teaches at the Harrington College of Design. He was recently asked to create the first Branded Environments course in the nation. He also presents at conferences, educational institutions and professional organizations.

Photos by Michelle Litvin Photography  and Jaysen Goranson Photography

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Information for this article was provided by Tom Marquardt, principal and founder of marquardt+ in Chicago, IL and an Interior Design instructor at the Harrington College of Design, as featured within The Journal of Light Construction May 2011 issue.

Built around the start of the 20th century, a shotgun flat combines European urban architecture with commercial space at ground level and living accommodations above. Chicago has thousands of shotgun flats, all with the trademark long and narrow layout: when Tom Marquardt bought one, he and his marquardt+ team looked beyond the architectural limitations to create a truly unique and personalized space.

“When I bought an early 20th century commercial three-flat in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, the goal was to put our architectural design studio, marquardt+,  on the ground floor, rent out the second-floor apartment and live on the third floor. Such live/work arrangements have been attracting quite a bit of interest in urban areas like ours, so I was excited to have the chance to adapt this building to modern standards,” said Tom.

The main challenge of the space was the narrow construct: the 900 square foot third floor is 51 feet long and just 19.5 feet wide. To open up the space and increase light in the front of the building, Tom removed door archways, knocked down walls, added mirrors, installed larger windows and kept to a light paint color scheme that ranged from light grey and silver to beige.

Living room before and after:

“The back of the apartment posed more of a challenge. Much of our business is for commercial clients — showrooms, retail spaces, offices, and restaurants — and some of the lessons learned on those projects came in handy here. For instance, there was no practical way to enlarge either of the small bedrooms, which were bounded by two exterior walls, the stair- well, and the narrow hallway. We compensated by opening these two rooms up to the adjacent spaces. We also added two sliding MDF doors on a 30-foot length of galvanized barn-door hardware, so that each space can be closed off for privacy or opened up for elbow room,” Tom shared.

An example of this can be seen below: a small rear bedroom close to the kitchen was opened up to become a spacious space for guests to sit in, complete with built-in storage units underneath the beds. And to keep things interesting for the cook, the bedroom/guest area also has a flatscreen TV that is viewable from the kitchen!

See more of Tom’s Shotgun flat tomorrow!

Photos by Michelle Litvin Photography  and Jaysen Goranson Photography

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