THEIR HOME HAD TO BE FASHION FORWARD. BUT ABOVE ALL ELSE, IT NEEDED A KILLER CLOSET. | Kanebridge News
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THEIR HOME HAD TO BE FASHION FORWARD. BUT ABOVE ALL ELSE, IT NEEDED A KILLER CLOSET.

Ralph Lauren meets Tom Ford inside this sleek and sophisticated Chicago house, which cost $1.8 million to build

By NANCY KEATES
Wed, Jan 24, 2024 12:28pmGrey Clock 4 min

If Kelli and Fei Wang’s house had a soul, it would be the walk-in closet.

The house, in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village neighborhood, is designed around the couple’s love for fashion and includes a 300-square-foot custom closet, with charcoal-suede wall covering and cerused-oak shelves, amplified by a vanity within a 40 x 60 inch mirror. There is a separate accessories side room, modelled after a showroom, where Kelli’s collection of designer bags and shoes sit on shelves and where she hangs out on a silver love seat.

In the couple’s previous home in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, they had to change out their wardrobes every season, hauling clothes from their apartment to their storage unit in the building’s basement, because there wasn’t room for it all upstairs.

“I wanted to never do a closet swap again,” says Kelli, 42, dressed in a floaty, cream-colored shirt dress from Sandro Paris and light pink Manolo Blahnik pumps. “The closet was the first thing I thought about for the house.”

The Wangs bought their Ukrainian Village property for $511,000 in 2016 and tore down the existing 2,500-square-foot, three-bedroom, old brick home on it. The new house, finished in 2021, is 5,000 square feet, has three bedrooms and cost $1.8 million, with about $100,000 of millwork, carpet and furnishings going into the primary closet alone.

To design the house, the couple hired Dan Mazzarini, the principal of New York-based BHDM Design, who was a director of store design at Ralph Lauren for six years and also worked on Michael Kors, Calvin Klein and Kate Spade retail spaces.

Mazzarini knew Kelli from college, and understood the couple’s love for fashion: they’d shopped together many times in New York, where Fei had a special affinity for the Ralph Lauren store on Madison Avenue.

“I wanted to live in the Ralph Lauren store,” says Fei, 46, dressed in a custom-made Pini Parma shirt and a Boggi sweater. “It makes you feel elegant, elevated, and classy.”

As a guide for the house’s overall aesthetic, they decided on “Ralph Lauren meets Tom Ford, a mixture of buttoned up and timeless sophistication and sexy, modern, crisp elegance,” says Mazzarini. That meant a lot of black, white and charcoal.

That mixture can be seen throughout the house. In the living room, open from the kitchen on the main floor, a Ralph Lauren influence can be seen in the classic white sofa, while the angles of the coffee table and the chairs are more Tom Ford, says Mazzarini.

Tom Ford comes out in the kitchen, where the black granite counters, black-matte open shelves and stainless-steel appliances have a “refined industrialism,” says Mazzarini. The dining room has a crafty Ralph Lauren chandelier and white leather chairs.

On the second floor, Fei’s office is “menswear-oriented” It has a modern, crisp, geometric style, with a glass coffee table, an oversize black linen sofa, and dark grey flannel curtains, like a suit, says Mazzarini. The red fox fur and brown velvet pillows, the rosewood desk and the nubby rug add more classic textures.

The primary suite, with its bathroom and the centerpiece closet, takes up the entire third floor. It is designed in part after the Bulgari Hotel Milano, where the couple stayed on one of their first trips to Italy. The furnishings include grey-velvet drapes, an ebony headboard, a leather bench and a large brown-velvet armchair.

When designing the closet, Mazzarini says he asked the couple how many suits, shoes, bags and accessories they had—and that number kept growing as the home-building process progressed, going from around 50 to more than 100 pairs of shoes for each. While the overarching goal was beauty and style, it also had to be comfortable—and to reflect what Mazzarini calls the couple’s “Midwestern warmth and hospitality.”

Fei was born in Shanghai and grew up in Chicago, where his father was getting a Ph.D. in chemistry. Living on a teacher assistant’s budget didn’t leave much for buying designer clothes, but Fei says he “always had an eye for fashion—it was innate.” He says his parents, who grew up when many Chinese people wore blue worker’s suits, weren’t interested in subsidizing his passion, so he started working in a clothing store when he was 14 years old. The first suit he bought himself was from Banana Republic.

He graduated from Illinois State University in 1999 and then from the University of Chicago with an M.B.A. in 2004. He went to work in asset management at Morgan Stanley, then to J.P. Morgan Asset Management and UBS before landing again at Morgan Stanley in 2021, where he is now a senior vice president in family wealth management.

Kelli also remembers a passion for fashion from a young age. Growing up in Piqua, Ohio, north of Dayton, she couldn’t afford to buy designer clothes, so she mixed and matched, she says. She graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and went to work at J.P. Morgan Asset Management before moving on to Merrill Lynch and Centric Wealth Management in 2018, where she is currently director of financial planning.

Fashion is central to the couple’s relationship. When they first met in 2008, when they were both working in J.P. Morgan’s wealth management unit in Chicago, each noticed the other’s clothes. “She was chic and classy,” says Fei. “I pay attention to style.” Kelli remembers the first time she saw her now-husband walk by in a suit. “He looked the Wall Street-financier part,” she says.

After their wedding in Lake Como, Italy, the couple honeymooned at JK Place (now called The Place), in Florence, a hotel that also influenced the design of their home. They started traveling to Italy and France every year because they love traveling and shopping together, and they both appreciate the goal of having the best experience possible, whether it is food, art, clothing or design. “The downside of that is there’s no voice of reason,” jokes Fei.

The Wangs say they have passed their fashion appreciation on to their 2½-year-old daughter, Gemma, who loves to hang out in the accessory room of the closet, where she tries on her mum’s shoes. In Gemma’s own bedroom, a shelf is filled with miniature designer bags: Gucci, Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton. “She has a better sense of style than both of us,” says Kelli.



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Tonino Lamborghini recently revealed a new luxury project comprising 241 units in Ras Al Khaimah, developed in partnership with Arista Developments.

Tue, May 21, 2024 2 min

Named the Tonino Lamborghini Residences, this project promises a fresh take on luxury living with its iconic design, cutting-edge amenities, and stunning sea views.

Set on Al Marjan Island, the development is adding 241 high-end units to the area’s real estate offerings, all reflecting the sleek, Italian elegance associated with the Lamborghini name.

These residences are designed to impress, featuring modern architecture that harmonizes with the scenic surroundings and interiors marked by meticulous craftsmanship and top-quality finishes.

Living in this one of the project’s units means access to a range of upscale amenities: a state-of-the-art fitness center, multiple swimming pools, beautifully landscaped gardens, and dedicated areas for children’s play. The complex also offers a business center with a conference room, an outdoor BBQ area, and a chic café, catering to all aspects of high-end living.

Arch. Abdulla Al Abdouli, Chief Executive Officer, Marjan, expressed excitement about the introduction of Tonino Lamborghini Residences to Al Marjan Island, noting the project’s blend of sustainable construction and smart home technologies. This integration, he mentioned, guarantees a luxurious lifestyle equipped with the finest modern amenities, reflecting the exquisite Italian craftsmanship. He is confident that this new venture with Arista Developments will significantly boost the allure of Al Marjan Island as a top lifestyle destination in Ras Al Khaimah for both investors and residents.

Tonino Lamborghini, President of the Tonino Lamborghini brand, said: “We are delighted to be among the pioneers in this remarkable new destination in one of the seven emirates of the UAE. Our heartfelt gratitude and recognition go to H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, for his visionary leadership and foresight, and for embracing innovative strategies to revitalize a region full of potential.”

Mr. Arthur Chu, Chairman of Arista Developments, highlighted the project’s ambition to capture the essence of the Tonino Lamborghini brand in every aspect of its design. He described the development of a prestigious residential tower on Al Marjan Island that will reflect the lifestyle and beauty synonymous with Lamborghini. From the sharp, well-defined lines of the exterior to the elegantly designed interior common areas, every detail is crafted to showcase the brand’s distinctive elegance and sophistication. Chu emphasized that the interior designs, personally crafted by Tonino Lamborghini, aim to fully immerse residents in the Italian brand’s luxurious identity.

The variety in housing options is vast, ranging from one and two-bedroom apartments to duplexes, sea view villas, signature villas, and exclusive penthouses.

The collaboration between Tonino Lamborghini and Arista Developments blends iconic Italian style with expert real estate craftsmanship. This venture marks Lamborghini’s first introduction to Ras Al Khaimah and represents a commitment to setting new standards in luxury and modern living.

 

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