In Our Living Room Home Tours: Ted and Sharon Burdett


In this installment of In our LivingRoom home tours we were thrilled to visit Ted and Sharon Burdett of Strand Design and their inspiring studio condo at the iconic Marina City. This dynamic duo designed, renovated, and built custom cabinetry and furniture to maximize space, create efficiency, and live in a modern and serene home. We hope you enjoy this tour, and if you wish you could live there you are in luck as LivingRoom Realty will be listing this beautiful condo soon!

LivingRoom: Tell us about your property?

T & S: Our condo is located on the 47th floor of the east tower in Marina City, facing northwest. It's a 500 sq ft. studio —with a 150 sq ft patio —which is really one of the most defining characteristics of Marina City. When we purchased this unit, it had been a rental for over thirty years. It hadn't been given any TLC for a very, very long time, and we had to gut it entirely. Nothing was salvageable. We treated the space as a testing ground for our design ideas, and have actually built and rebuilt many of the pieces that are now part of the apartment..

LivingRoom: What were the deciding factors when choosing your area and picking your property?

T & S: We've always believed in the philosophy of location, location, location. As two very busy people who were running a business together, we didn't need an enormous amount of space, since most of our waking hours were spent outside of the home. We just wanted something that would help make life easier, and bring a lot of enjoyment to us every day. Marina City is located in the center of the city, right on the Chicago River.  We've enjoyed the incredible views, daily walks on the riverwalk, the ease of being able to walk everywhere to get everything we need, and the access to transportation. We knew that these things would make things easier on us, and they certainly have.

LivingRoom: What’s your favorite thing about your property?

T & S: You really just can't even believe how awesome the balconies are. It feels like you are inside of your own private opera-box with the ultimate view of the city. I've also been able to walk to work every day for the last five years.

LivingRoom: What would you tell someone who is embarking on the buying process?

T & S: Be honest with yourself. What are the things you can compromise on, and what are the things you cannot? We were able to compromise on space, but not everyone may be able to do that. We knew that convenience, access, and the daily enjoyment of the city were the most important things for us at the time.

LivingRoom: Tell us about yourself?

Ted: Professor of Design Entrepreneurship at UIC, co-owner of Strand Design, Fourneau, and Ironwood Cookware

Sharon: Co-founder Strand Design, and Fourneau, currently working at a health-tech startup

LivingRoom: Tell us about any improvements you made or plan to make and why?

T & S: Well, we had to change almost everything in this apartment, so I'll focus on the things that we think make the biggest difference.

  • Installing a glass door. The windows are so beautiful and give you that seamless curtain of glass, but the standard doors are solid. We installed a glass door and it was huge improvement. The whole space is filled with light, it also allows light to travel down the hallway.

  • Installing a murphy bed. This is a real gamechanger, and allows you to actually have a living room. 

  • Making the closet into a desking area. We wanted to have multiple "zones" in the space, and the hallway closet is really huge considering the size of the space. We modified the wall, removed the door, and installed lighting so that it could become a "mini-office."

  • Using an under-counter refrigerator. A full-size refrigerator just looks absurd in these units. With an under-counter fridge, you get more counter space, and better sight lines.

LivingRoom: Can you tell us about that process?

T & S: As two designers who had a practice of building furniture together, this space was a mini-laboratory. In much of our work at Strand Design, we focused on utilizing urban lumber, and we continued to do so in our apartment. Almost all of the wood that you see in the space is salvaged ash from the Chicago urban forest.

LivingRoom: Well thank you so much for sharing your beautiful home with us!

If you want to see some before pictures check them out here.