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Love in Danish: A Chef Couple’s Warm Scandinavian Apartment Above Their Michelin-Starred Restaurant

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Love in Danish: A Chef Couple’s Warm Scandinavian Apartment Above Their Michelin-Starred Restaurant

November 15, 2019

Over the past decade or so of Remodelista, we’ve featured a ceramicist’s own home above her shop in Hudson, a rentable guest quarters above a hardware store in Marseilles, and a thoughtful space above Marche St. George in Vancouver. But we’ve yet to feature a flat above a Michelin-starred restaurant. Until now.

It all started a few weeks back, when an email from Anna Posey landed in our inbox. The name might ring a bell. Anna, a pastry chef, and her husband, chef David Posey, own the acclaimed Elske in Chicago, a restaurant on the first floor of a 100-year-old meatpacking factory that, since it opened in 2016, was named #2 Best New Restaurant in America 2017 by Bon Appétit and has continually collected Michelin stars. Anna and David run it, together. The name Elske means “love” in Danish (the couple got engaged in Copenhagen); and, according to the restaurant’s website, the Scandi-inspired interiors by Erin Boone of Boone Interiors “create the impression that you’re eating in a supremely tasteful Scandinavian friend’s weekend home.” (It helps that the chefs serve their dishes to guests themselves.)

Wrote Anna in her email: “After opening Elske, we’ve been quietly renovating the third floor to create a home for ourselves above the restaurant.” Taking cues from the restaurant below, they enlisted Erin Boone again who, Anna wrote, “helped us create such a warm, bright living space, sometimes we think it’s too cozy (it makes it hard to want to leave)!”

A few photos at the bottom of the email revealed a lofty, open space, redone in the couple’s trademark Scandinavian-inspired, dark and refined but inviting style—a supremely tasteful friend’s home indeed. Join us for a look at their (second) labor of love.

Photography by Carolina Mariana Rodríguez.

anna and david&#8\2\17;s layered, textural open living space, a few flights 9
Above: Anna and David’s layered, textural open living space, a few flights above the restaurant.

The couple bought the whole building shortly before opening Elske. “It’s way bigger than what we were originally looking for, but the building was perfect in so many ways. We couldn’t pass it up,” Anna says. “The first floor is Elske, the second floor became the private dining space, and the third we pretty quickly decided would become an apartment. The restaurant was most important to us and so it took all of our time and energy for the six months. Once Elske was up and running, we worked on the private dining space. And then we finally got to work on our home.” Previously, they lived in a condo in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. “We definitely joked that we could rent it out if it became too much living above the restaurant. Now that we do live above it, we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

But first, it took some serious work. The building dates to the early 1900s and was transformed into a restaurant in the early 2000s. “When we bought it, it was a nightclub that we’re pretty sure was a front for something,” Anna says. Upstairs, “the only rooms were two enormous bathrooms (one had five urinals in it) and one small office. We turned the two large bathrooms and office into a master bedroom, guest bedroom, master bathroom, and guest bathroom. We also added a walk-in pantry. The rest of the loft, including the kitchen and living area, we left very open.”

the couple opted for an all white backdrop for their warmly neutral furnishings 10
Above: The couple opted for an all-white backdrop for their warmly neutral furnishings. “When we were designing Elske, we went back and forth with painting the brick white,” Anna says. “In the end, we left the natural color of the brick. For the apartment, we definitely wanted to paint the brick white. It makes the space so peaceful and bright. It’s a nice contrast from the restaurant.”

The living area is grounded by layered rugs. “The larger area rug is two rugs we bought for cheap online that we sewed together,” Anna says. The smaller grey-blue rug is from Nanimarquina. The side chair is the Muuto Oslo Lounge Chair and the light is the Grässhoppa Floor Lamp by Gubi.

in a corner of the open living area is a vintage flat file, a \$50 craigslist f 11
Above: In a corner of the open living area is a vintage flat file, a $50 Craigslist find, now a mini studio for Anna, who is also an artist (she has an BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and hand-drew the wallpaper in Elske’s restrooms). “I use it for all my art supplies, papers, and notebooks. Zak Rose built a beautiful oak top to bring it all together.”
supplies in anna&#8\2\17;s studio. (you can follow one of her projects, for 12
Above: Supplies in Anna’s studio. (You can follow one of her projects, For the Love of Type, on Instagram.)
beside the front door is &#8\2\20;a vintage wood piece that david found in  13
Above: Beside the front door is “a vintage wood piece that David found in Andersonville, a neighborhood in Chicago known for great antiques,” Anna says. Swung outwards, it delineates an entryway.
a must have for a pair of professional chefs: a utilitarian chef&#8\2\17;s  14
Above: A must-have for a pair of professional chefs: a utilitarian chef’s kitchen. The centerpiece is a pale blue Lacanche range; a wood-topped island and two faucets, both by Dornbracht, allow for ease of cooking and entertaining.
the counter extends into an eating and mingling space topped with gray green so 15
Above: The counter extends into an eating and mingling space topped with gray-green soapstone.
the whole of the apartment is airy and simple, with white painted timber ceilin 16
Above: The whole of the apartment is airy and simple, with white-painted timber ceilings and white oak floors with a pale limed finish. The woven chair in the corner of the living room is the Tito Agnoli P3 Lounge Chair.
a dark credenza and hide in a nook off of the main living area. 17
Above: A dark credenza and hide in a nook off of the main living area.
a bedroom features exposed brick walls, painted white, and layered linen beddin 18
Above: A bedroom features exposed-brick walls, painted white, and layered linen bedding.
boone outfitted the bathrooms with mirrored cabinets and pale grey lavender ton 19
Above: Boone outfitted the bathrooms with mirrored cabinets and pale grey-lavender tones.
a glimpse of the gravel patio outside elske. &#8\2\20;it seats \24 in the w 20
Above: A glimpse of the gravel patio outside Elske. “It seats 24 in the warm months, with full menus available. It’s also home to most of the herbs and flowers we use in the restaurant. In the winter, we pack up the tables and chairs, but the benches and fireplace are a warm place for glogg, snacks, and desserts.”

For more on the restaurant, head to Elske. And take a look at these living areas above shops and restaurants:

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