The color panels give the fireplace wall in this Bucktown house a warm, distinctive character. It didn’t start out this way.

When the house on Wolcott Avenue was built in 1992, the panels were bare birch wood, part of the architects’ use of straightforward, non-precious finishes for a new house in a changing neighborhood. Around a decade later, a round of rehab covered the birch in white paint, part of an updating to make the house feel more grown-up, like the neighborhood. (See more photos below.)

Another decade passed, and new owners Gale and Gordon Meyer craved color. Their update took the fireplace panel back to birch and added shades of blue on others. This iteration looks sharp and continues the original architects’ emphasis on the rectilinear geometry imposed throughout the house by the use of another non-precious material, concrete block, for the walls.

The third time’s a charm in this house, first designed by edgy architecture firm Brininstool + Lynch, reworked in the early 2000s by interior designer and architect Patrizio Fradiani of Studio F and redone once again for the Meyers by Michael Syrjanen Design. All three are Chicago firms.

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