Upscale living in the Windy City

Jim Denos, owner of the extraordinary Chicago showroom and design consultancy shares his vision for the epitome of upscale living.

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois - Jim Denos has furniture, design, and retail in his blood, joining his father’s kitchen and bath re-modeling company straight out of college.  Following a brand recommendation, Jim has been presenting, designing and retailing Clive Christian Furniture Co. product to his notable clients for over 25 years.

As well as being the owner, principal sales and design director at Clive Christian Furniture Co. in SoHo, NYC - Jim opened his revolutionary showroom experience The Clive Christian Furniture Co. lifestyle apartment in his hometown of Chicago in 2017.

We asked Jim to share his vision of upscale living Chicago style.

WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE THIS LOCATION?

Chicago’s River North neighborhood is the city’s most vibrant area for retail, dining and nightlife. It’s also the go-to district for those who appreciate fine art and design. Back in 2013, I purchased a building in the area with the vision of launching an uber-luxury boutique Design Centre. My vision was to provide the cities Interior Design community and the public with a ’turn-key’ opportunity to shop in one building where there is nothing but the finest. We trade as the Chicago Luxury Furniture Centre.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO LAUNCH A ‘LIFESTYLE APARTMENT’ RATHER THAN A ‘TYPICAL’ FURNITURE SHOWROOM?

We carry the products of many fine brands - Dorya, Christopher Guy, Baccarat to name but a few and I felt that if I created an uber-luxury lifestyle experience that presented all the brands and products I carry in an actual living environment, the client looking for a luxury lifestyle could easily imagine how their home could be transformed.

The apartment is situated across the fifth floor and covers 6,000-square-foot making it one of the most well-appointed penthouses in America and presents our clients with the epitome of upscale living.

WHAT SETS THE CHICAGO SHOWROOM AND SERVICES ASIDE FROM OTHERS?

It’s certainly not your everyday Showroom. The apartment is designed to be fully livable and boasts thirteen exquisitely finished rooms complimented by Crestron Home Automation, the very finest draperies and carpets including Pierre Frey, elaborate ornamental plaster ceilings, handcrafted Walnut flooring, Rohl Home luxury plumbing fixtures, Dorya fine furnishings and Baccarat Luxury Lighting and glassware - this a truly unique showroom experience where we offer people a place to visit that allows them to experience the very best of the best.

Clive Christian Furniture Co. is very present throughout. Wood brings a warmth to a room, be it classic or modern and the apartment features over 2.5 million dollars of British handcrafted cabinetry. We combined contemporary and classical design with Metro Deco and Alpha Deco elements for an opulent, all-encompassing living experience that’s lavish on every level and the individual rooms are connected using the infamous hand-crafted paneling that aids flow as well as adding warmth and grandeur.

What I love most about working with Clive Christian Furniture is that it is timeless - even when we are doing contemporary schemes and spaces. The craftsmanship that we apply to our products gives you a sense there is nothing ‘trendy’ about what we do - it lasts. 

Today’s trends tend to be very clean lined and not very fussy, however there is a large group of clientele that still enjoys elaborate and so called ‘traditional’ furnishings, whether we are talking about kitchens, living rooms, bathrooms or closets, It’s the quality of design, materials and manufacture that give it staying power.

YOU HAVE A LARGE AMOUNT OF PERSONALISATION IN THE SHOWROOM – IS THIS SOMETHING THAT APPEALS TO YOUR CUSTOMER?

Yes. The apartment features many unique elements, but most notable is the level of personalised marquetry detailing. People enjoy personalising their home to reflect who they are and what they enjoy in life, so I’ve demonstrated what we can achieve using my personal touches across the apartment.

The Sommeliers’ Tasting Room features a playful cabinetry feel; with contrasting panels of Cool Walnut set within Black Walnut framework the space feels unique. From the bespoke wine display furniture, to the vibrant marquetry vineyard murals; this interior really pushes the boundaries of cabinetry customisation.

The impressive pair of marquetry murals represents a scene from a Californian winery, complete with indigenous bluebirds darting among the grape and vine. The bluebirds are represented in a heavily figured, custom-tinted Birds Eye Maple – the depth of which creates a fantastic feeling of rich plumage. The leaves have been matched in a herringbone fashion to create vein detailing, while an exotic figured bloodwood highlights the plump, sun-ripened grapes.

The Study and Library both contain exquisite bespoke marquetry.  Inspired by the detailing on a passed-down pocket watch – a family heirloom belonging to my grandfather. The monogram sits within an oval of Burr Walnut and is represented in three contrasting veneers: Movingui, Sycamore, and Oak. I’d lost, mislaid had this watch stolen on numerous occasions, yet luckily it kept being returned to me - so I thought it deserved being immortalised as a piece of art, something I can pass down to my own children.

The family monograms that appear throughout the apartment are perfect examples of the highly personalised, best-in-class style we offer our distinguished clientele.

Jim Denos

The marital monogram in the library, which is also set into a Burr Walnut panel, consists of a central ‘family’ initial cut from Lemon Satin Wood, entwined with the ‘fore’ characters which are crafted from Birds Eye Maple.

Fitted with the sharp lines of Metro Deco inlay cabinetry, the master suites have a more contemporary feel than the rest of the space. Cool walnut fronts are detailed with a contrasting maple banding, a material which is picked up in yet another exquisite monogrammed insignia.

WHAT SHOULD A CUSTOMER EXPECT FROM A CONSULTATION?

My favorite part of the job is meeting some of the most interesting people in the world and being such an important part of transforming their home - after all your home is a direct representation of who you are.  

Our consultations are not about the style of cabinets or furnishings they are going to use, it is about recreating the bones of their space and making the best it can be. 

We deliver a one-in-a-million design scheme, tailored to each individual’s tastes and space, only then do we begin to insert the finest cabinetry and furnishings we have to offer.

It’s a highly personalized, best-in-class style service that we have the privilege to offer our distinguished clientele.

We aim to deliver one-in-a-million design schemes that are tailored to each individual’s tastes and space.

Jim Denos

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE PROJECT?

I can’t pick just one. All the people and projects we work on are exciting and equally fulfilling.  

We collaborate with some of the finest designers in the country. Our celebrity clientele as well as our professional clientele allows us to do some really phenomenal projects, but due to privacy issues I cannot elaborate!

Most of my clients are wildly successful and I am inspired by how they handle their success and the people that work for them. In turn, I am very proud of the people I work with, both here in the states and across the pond in England. Everybody involved cares a great deal about our clients and are driven to provide perfection at every stage.

DOWNTIME?

This is going to sound ironic, but outside of work I really enjoy real estate. I’ve always got a side project going on - buying apartments and rehabbing them or building a spec home from the ground up. Somehow, it’s very therapeutic for me to create something on my own.

SHOW US ‘YOUR’ CITY?

If I’d only got 24hrs to spend in Chicago I’d take an architectural boat tour down the river – we are the home of the skyscraper and famous for our architecture so the boats trip is a must. The restaurants on Randolph Street are some the best in the country and as for shopping, Oak Street and Michigan Avenue have the best of the best - unless you’re looking to renovate your home – then you come to me.

The Clive Christian Lifestyle Apartment is open Monday – Saturday with Sunday and evenings by appointment. 

The Chicago Luxury Furniture Centre, 371 W Ontario St, Chicago IL 60654, Tel: 312 755 1075 
chicago@clivechristianfurniture.com

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