When it comes to luxury homes, Chicago is one of the few major cities that consistently showcases incredible interior design. We sat down with Chicago realtor, Nadine Ferrata, to hear her top tips for decorating, hottest restaurants in South Loop, and Chicago’s real estate.
What’s the best part about living in South Loop?
Honestly, the proximity to parks and downtown.
What’s your favorite restaurant and/or coffee shop in the area?
How would you describe your interior design style?
I’m pretty transparent. I try to be very transitional and not super contemporary. I’m appealing to the majority of the buyers that are coming down there. I go for a very clean look that can also be transitioned so that it appeals to a lot of people. That’s my goal in a very livable sense. It’s clean lines, a soft palate, and as far as color and concern, I create very livable spaces that will stand. My goal is that they never really look dated.
What’s typically your process for staging a listing?
If I stage a listing, it obviously depends on the size of the property. Sometimes I use an outside stage or when I have a big place, we sometimes will augment with our inventory. I work with the owners very closely to make sure that it’s what I’m expecting as far as the overall appeal. Staging could cost anywhere from $500 by just taking what the owners have and making it better to $5,000 by augmenting it.
What are some of your favorite decorating tips?
I think the tip is to start by asking questions like how are we using the space? And how will an individual be looked up? It’s important to keep that in mind with whatever you’re picking out. You need to determine how you’re going to live in this space, what’s going to go in there and what the individual sees themselves doing in the room. Once that’s determined, we kind of work backwards from that.
Do you have a typical buyer in mind when designing a space?
Usually the typical buyer is a parent. We do a lot of townhomes and townhome rehabs. We’ll do condos as well, but we do a lot of townhomes, particularly in the South Loop. We’re going to be doing a lot of townhome rehabs because those units are 20 to 25 years old now. I just finished one at 319 E 18th St. and then I’m probably going to do another one very soon for another buyer of mine. I determine what needs work and bring it up to standards.
How would you describe the homes in Chicago compared to other major cities?
I think the benefit of the South Loop in particular is that the townhome market has really good spaces. They’re wider than a lot of other places. They have a kind of classic look so they’re not going to get dated. You can certainly update interior finishes, but the exterior of every building is very classical. Again, they stand the test of time and appeal to a majority of buyers.