North Side Moderne
Steve Somogyi and Filip Malyszko’s favorite approach to a residential design project is to go into a client’s basement, attic or garage and dig through storage boxes for art, decorative elements or personal artifacts. The founders of the Chicago-based Steve + Filip Design are known for creating personalized, modern interiors, balancing such things as Grandma’s heirloom area rug with sleek leather seating.
We like the friction between old and funky and newer pieces. That’s our ethos.
Swedish Lake Cottage
“We like to gather what makes people tick,” Malyszko said. “It’s not just about filling a place with new furnishings. We like the friction between old and funky and newer pieces. That’s our ethos.”
Known for residential and commercial projects in the city and suburbs of Chicago, as well as second-home projects in Michigan’s Harbor Country, the pair had parallel upbringings in the city’s northern suburbs before meeting in a perspective and rendering class at a design college.
Somogyi, who had a previous career in real estate, launched his own design firm in 2008 soon after finishing school. Malyszko joined another residential design firm after school, before joining Somogyi in 2010. Now married, the couple bought a building in the city’s Ukrainian Village, working (along with three employees) out of the first floor and living above.
Mike Schwartz / Lake Shore Drive Co-Op
“When we started out, we were doing small renovations and reimagining existing spaces,” Malyszko said. “But we had a hunger to grow. We began working with developers on spec homes, then the buyers would hire us to do their interiors. Today, we do work with a lot of young families, creating homes that are pulled together, controlling the chaos of everyday living.”
The firm’s growth in residential design, Malyszko says, is largely through referrals and from the press, including local coverage, as well as having projects published in national magazines, such as Country Living and Better Homes & Gardens.
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Jeremy Witteveen / West Loop Penthouse
Within the firm, the two collaborate but take on slightly different roles. “Steve often takes on the broader concepts of the project,” Malyszko said. “He usually handles the construction aspect of things, while I tend to focus on design details and furnishings.”
For a recent project—the transformation of an industrial auto garage into a home—Somogyi collaborated with the architect to infuse the space with light and make it livable, while Malyszko “added layers,” coordinating furnishings and finishes.
The husband was of Persian heritage, and he had a beautiful rug collection. We pulled the desaturated color palette from the rugs and used them in several rooms.
Jeremy Witteveen & Tina Serafini / Logan Square Vintage
Though they’re deeply involved in all their projects, two recent residential design projects float to the fore as favorites.
“We redid a vintage greystone in Logan Square for a family who had lived there for decades,” Malyszko recalled. “The husband was of Persian heritage, and he had a beautiful rug collection. We pulled the desaturated color palette from the rugs and used them in several rooms. We also added back traditional millwork to the interior.”
For another favorite Steve + Filip project—a new build in Lincoln Park—the designers created a detailed, sophisticated setting with a neutral color palette.
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Lincoln Park Residence
“We love to work with color,” Malyszko noted, “but this client hates color. We went with black, white, silver and grey, with wood accents. Art, accessories and interesting textures kept the look warm and inviting. We designed the stationery for the guest room, picked the china and coordinated the flowers that are delivered weekly.”
Even before the pandemic hit, Steve + Filip had started working on weekend homes to elevate residential design (and, thus, quarantine quarters) for Chicagoans in southwestern Michigan’s Harbor Country. They also bought a second home there, not far from Lake Michigan, opting to live with the abode’s existing blush pink plumbing fixtures, which gave rise to the home’s nickname “Flamingo Ranch.”
Washington Court Residence
They’re also coexisting with the current world situation, dividing their time between Chicago and Michigan. The pair consider themselves lucky to be busy with numerous large-scale residential projects that are on the boards or under construction and are grateful to clients who believe in their approach.
“What do people want these days?” Malyszko philosophically asked. “They are really paying attention to their living quarters since so many of us are working and learning remotely. They want functionality and comfort.” And, along with some heirlooms from the attic for design, Somogyi and Malyszko plan to give their residential clients just that.