We have been working, quietly, hopefully, since September on a truly amazing new project.
The story goes like this…
In 1920, the automobile had just been introduced, and buying a car was an incredible luxury.
The experience of shopping for a car was the ultimate lavish experience – you were to be transported into a whole new world of beauty and wealth as you entered into a “showroom”.
In Chicago, on North Broadway, at the end of Lake Shore Drive, Automobile Row was built.
To show off it’s glorious new autos, Chrysler designed an amazing French and Italian Gothic architectural palace, composed of two massive ballrooms, carved columns and columnettes, curved wrought iron staircases, fountains, crested fireplaces, juliet balconies and more.
It’s like a mini French Chateau.
Smack dab in the middle of a beautiful, leafy, tree filled residential neighborhood.
In Chicago all I could compare this to is The Drake Hotel’s Gold Coast Room.
Then, the stock market crashed, 1929. The Great Depression lasted ten long years, and buying a car fell by the wayside.
Here’s a sneak peek of the original terrazzo floors we’ve been restoring – they were covered in commercial carpet, layers and layers of glue. It took two weeks just to remove the glue – talk about a human mouse trap – our shoes are still sticky.
After Chrysler closed the dealership, this beautiful building then became a furniture store, an antique store complete with a full size carousel, an art gallery.
The carved limestone and terracotta facade is incredible.
I could sit and stare at all these beautiful almost 100 year old “Putti Head” faces, Egg and Dart and Bead and Reel carvings for hours.
And, I have.
The exterior is – literally – wait for it – rose quartz – the official Pantone color of 2016.
So, here’s what happened next.
The neighborhood alderman is a genius.
As the building sat, vacant, with many national retail chains wanting to turn it into the next Walgreens or CVS, the alderman thought about how to properly bring this original 1920s Chicago gem back to life.
And, through a stroke of pure luck, he thought of us.
Lil’ old A Perfect Event.
He called, he asked us to meet him and help him with a new neighborhood project.
That’s all we knew.
No other info.
We were intrigued.
We looked at our calendar, and thought – ugggh – do we really have time to drive ALL to the end of Lake Shore Drive to help an alderman with a pet project, not even inside our Lakeview community?
But, to know me, is to know how much I love projects.
So, we pulled up, we walked in, and we fell in love.
Our jaws dropped, even with commercial carpeting and old furniture scattered all about, blck drapes in windows.
All we saw – in our heads – was this.
The beauty we could create in this building.
The architecture and grand details that we could restore, step by step, to bring this landmark back to life.
In the 70s, the building became a bank – and in fact the vaults are still intact.
We’ll be finishing up restoration this month – and then – watch out – we’re launching this gorgeous space to share with community, Chicago, and celebrations to infinity.
Photos – Roots of Life Photography
Florals – A Perfect Event