The Work

Fine architecture starts with a conversation
Every project starts with a conversation and understanding how people envision living in their homes. The best way to find out what clients want and what they need is to talk to them.

A House Transformed

This vibrant family of four felt constrained in the confines of their nearly 4,000 square-foot, 1970’s contemporary-style home. What started out as a remodel of the original kitchen and a new deck in the back, blossomed as they discussed their love of cooking, dancing, entertaining, and dabbling in a number of other endeavors. The kitchen was relatively small and closed off, as were the typical rooms for dining and entertaining. There was an unventilated powder room right next to the eating area. To create a larger, more open space, we removed a wall between the dining room and the kitchen. We created a double-island, angled to provide flow throughout the kitchen and connecting rooms. And, we transformed the overall look in the back of the home by integrating a curvilinear-designed addition in the back of the house. The addition enhances the house’s connection to the beautiful yard, and gives the family ample room to entertain and pursue their many hobbies. The clients loved the overall impact of the remodel: What appears as a typical home that fits the neighborhood from the front, is an expansive architectural, multi-faceted showpiece in the back, replete with the many details built into the addition that make their lives easier. We created a dedicated dog shower, to avoid having the dog traipse dirt throughout the house every time he came in from the yard. For the clients’ many projects, we included storage areas blended into the wall space under the windows, designed to look like shelves, without anyone ever knowing they were there. And, to fulfill their needs as they aged, we created many accommodations including an office convertible to an accessible bedroom and bathroom, a custom cabinet for storing heavy, difficult to carry cookware, and even an area for a future elevator. “When we hired Chris Turley , we wanted to redo the kitchen and build out into the backyard to incorporate some more space,” says homeowner Maggie McCarthy. “We thought it was relatively straightforward. And then, Chris said, ‘Well let me ask you some questions about how you use the space.’ His questions got us to think differently about the space. That’s what set him apart from the other architects. He took the time to get to know us. His insights and experience brought out the best in our ideas and turned this into our dream home.”

Special Home Designed For Special Needs

Two north shore parents could find no peace, until they found a place for their autistic son to live safely and independently. They realized the only way they could ever feel completely comfortable, was if they had it built specifically with their son Tommy in mind. Turley Architects helped make a newly purchased private home autism friendly in 2014 that Tommy could call his own. And, it did not disappoint. Ed and Mimi Fiorentino purchased a 50-year-old, contemporary, single-family 3,185-square-foot ranch home, with four bedrooms and three bathrooms, situated on a three-quarters of an acre lot in Deerfield. While suitable for people without any disabilities, the home was not suitable for an adult with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). “Ever since our son was young and in a residential setting for his autism, we dreamt that he would have his own group home and it would have an enriching environment where he could live safely and comfortably. And, you know what? Chris Turley helped us achieve that dream.” Adults with ASD often have difficulty processing even moderate levels of light, noise, color, smells and textures without experiencing sensory overload and distress. For example, many see colors with greater intensity than neural-typical peers. Sounds associated with heating systems, domestic appliances, and ventilation fans can also cause distress. That distress manifests into intense emotional or physical reactions, that are behaviorally inappropriate at the very least and can become physically violent at its worse. Because Tommy had a variety of behavioral problems, we used architecture to reduce potential triggers as opposed to forcing Tommy to contort his life to the home’s limitations. Optimal design helps avoid later problems that may necessitate a subsequent move. We gutted everything down to the studs in many areas and created a floor plan that helped ensure safety, convenience and independence. Everything was built to minimize unnecessary sensory stimulation. There were rigorous decisions about glare, patterns, shadows, and light control. We doubled-up drywall to reduce sound and installed room-darkening curtains to protect against light sensitivity. We built-in safety systems and construction to protect residents and staff and many other systems to reduce wear and tear on the building that often accompanies intellectually or developmentally individuals. We also created a quiet room to let Tommy and other residents decompress, as well as a place for staff to retreat to if they ever felt unsafe. The most amazing part is that after we were all done the house looked like a suburban home, which is exactly what we wanted. We wanted it to be warm and inviting, not institutional. “Tommy loves this home and It’s changed his life,: says Tommy’s mother Mimi F.

Condo Transforms Dreary To Cheery

A veteran real-estate agent on the North Shore, got a great deal on a 1700-square-foot condominium in Evanston. The place had not been updated in decades. It was dark and dreary, with small rooms and old electrical wiring that needed to be addressed. She knew it would take some creativity to make this her ideal home. The kitchen and master bathroom were windowless and dark. The bathroom walls smelled of mildew from poor ventilation and years of neglect. We had to carefully consider every material, color, and the overall structure of the renovation to enhance the available space. The mechanical system was archaic of such a size and configuration it could not be simply replaced with a new contemporary unit. We used innovative designs to alter the entire layout of the condo and create a modern, sun-filled home. We did all this after successfully challenging the building manager’s initial rejection of our proposal, without having to make a single change to the new design. We moved the laundry room, which was just off the kitchen and knocked down walls to create a single, bigger, open space between the kitchen, living room and dining area. The windows in the living room now stream light across the dining room and into the kitchen, and reflect off of the bright, neutral-toned walls, making it a welcoming space for entertaining. We removed doors separating an office, with its large picture windows, from the master bedroom, so the light in the office could extend into the bedroom. We also remodeled the office to serve a dual purpose as a second bedroom, when the client’s grandchildren came to visit. By pursuing radical ideas in pursuit of the necessary design elements, we recreated a neglected 1970s condominium into a cheerful and warm contemporary home that left our client in disbelief stating, “I cannot believe I get to live here.” In the end even the building manager was impressed by the design and supported the change we created.