MCA-One Room, Seven Fundamentals-1

There are Seven Fundamentals that make up The Art of Space. All work together and support one another to create balance and harmony. Let’s look at each of the fundamentals and how they worked in this two-bedroom condo in The Loop, Chicago’s vibrant downtown hub.


The Legacy at Millennium Park is a great place to live, entertain friends, enjoy the city’s amenities, and recharge your batteries after a hectic week. The objective was to make the small space live large, while taking every advantage of the stunning city views.


The owners wanted a lot from their combined living and dining space. They wanted to entertain friends, gather, dine in, work from home, host houseguests, watch movies and rejuvenate. First, we worked two dimensionally to create a layout that used every square foot of space. We carefully integrated the functions we wanted while looking for opportunities to get double duty everywhere we could.

Scale & Proportion

Designing for small spaces requires special attention to the interior design fundamentals scale and proportion. Interesting trim details on the key walls help to ground and define living and dining areas. Mirror integrated into key locations helped to magnify the feeling of space, while capturing the spectacular views for a second time. Each furniture piece was carefully chosen to fit the space while allowing maximum comfort and flexibility.


Although the views were stunning and the windows were ample, the space felt dark and needed more light. In addition to the mirror behind the sofa that flooded the room with natural light, two pairs of table lamps, and an arc lamp were integrated in the living area to add more light. A ceiling mount fixture over the table added light in the dining/work-from-home area. We chose an interesting character fixture that not only added light, but interest as well.


A warm neutral grey as the general wall color worked perfectly to keep things light while adding a bit of warmth. Lighter color tones help to keep spaces feeling larger and more spacious. Paint colors used here are Sherwin Williams’ Amazing Gray for the general wall area, and Sherwin Williams’ Intellectual Gray for the trim.

Pattern & Texture

Natural textures were used throughout the home. Two large, burl wood coffee tables, a pair of unfinished wood character chairs, a metal and glass curator’s cabinet, and lamp tables with natural linen lamp shades were all used together in the living space to add dimension and interest to the overall composition.

Significant & Relevant Ornamentation

This final layer can, and often is, the very thing that pulls a space into perfect harmony. Interesting collectibles and found objects are choreographed in this space in just the right places and in just the right amounts. They actually enhance the overall experience of the space by delighting the senses.

While each of the Seven Fundamentals makes its own contribution, it’s important to trust them. Stick with the plan. You’ll learn to “work” them all together. And you’ll be surprised how well it all comes together in the end.

Mary Cook & Josh Kassing

Written By

Mary Cook & Josh Kassing

Founder and President of Mary Cook Associates (MCA)