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Inside the Pink Palace of the Edgewater Beach Apartments

Roaring 20s grandeur meets contemporary simplicity at the north-side co-op.

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Deliciously pink, with cakelike adornments, the confection that is the Edgewater Beach Apartments seems as if it could've been Wes Anderson's inspiration for The Grand Budapest Hotel. (For the record, the director took his cues from the Czech Republic's Grandhotel Pupp.) Built in the late 1920s, EBA was part of the Edgewater Beach Hotel, a north-side resort frequented by stars like Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, and Charlie Chaplin. The hotel was demolished in 1967, but the apartment building dodged the wrecking ball and is now a housing co-op.

The Pink Palace was a perfect fit for Tish Kling, who moved in a year ago. "My goal was to find a place where I could be debt-free," she says. "Because it's a co-op, it's not as expensive as condos for the same square footage."

The communal spaces maintain the splendor of the Roaring 20s: a grandiose art deco lobby has high ceilings, a chandelier, and ornate woodwork; the gardens have bushes sculpted into hearts and birds; and decorative trellises accent the walls surrounding an indoor pool. Pink-striped wallpaper and mauve carpeting make the hallways pop.

After such a retro visual feast, it's a surprise to see Kling's apartment is rather contemporary. Her home is open and airy, with windows overlooking trees and the lake. She's chosen simply designed furniture around which she displays few objects. "I work at a really chaotic job, and I like to come home to a place that's really peaceful and serene," says Kling, a nurse practitioner at Cook County Hospital. "I don't own a television. I just want to shut off the rest of the world and have a pretty spot to regroup.

"Even though I like minimalist decor, I was fascinated by some of the details I saw in this building," she says. Kling kept just a few of her unit's original features, including a metal door frame, brass doorknobs, and a brass keyhole. "Everyone who lives here really wants to preserve the historic nature of this building," she says, "and I really appreciate that."

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