abc7 – Chicago

West Loop gets a new cocktail bar: The Darling

CS Magazine – The Darling

CS Magazine January 2019

Capital One – Night with your friends.

abc7 – Chicago

West Loop gets a new cocktail bar: The Darling

Eater – Chicago

Inside the Darling, West Loop’s Charming Two-Floor Performance Den

CS Magazine January 2019

Capital One – Night with your friends.

Chicago Tribune

Sneak peek at The Darling, the cool-whimsical bar transforming the former Won Fun space


Best New Bars in Chicago

Chicago Tribune

The Darling bringing cocktails, Vaudeville-style acts to West Loop

How To Increase Occupancy Rate in Old Office Buildings

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For owners and managers of old office buildings, it’s becoming increasingly hard to keep occupancy rates and property values high. In the age of creative Google-style offices and cool co-working spaces like WeWork, outdated buildings retain little appeal, dredging up images of an office life from bygone eras.

Luckily, there’s a solution to this problem and is one that doesn’t just help the commercial property but also its tenants; a win-win situation.

The idea is simple: Revitalize the building’s common areas by turning them into modern, amenities-driven spaces that improve the work experience and answer a variety of functional needs. Places that even the most demanding Millennial will approve.

It’s the kind of “space activation through design” that d+k love doing.

Interior Design, Architecture Design


Revamping an Old Commercial Property Through Its Common Areas

Jason Simon from Colliers International and Adam Firsel from Core Acquisitions came to d+k facing such a challenge with the Chatham Centre (1901 N Roselle Road in Schaumburg, IL). Their goal was to create value by increasing the building’s occupancy rate from 70% to 90% or more. The Centre, however, was far from the true Class A office building they were envisioning.

The common areas hadn’t been changed since their construction nearly 30 years ago. The lobby, in particular, felt cold and lacked energy. Jason and Adam wanted something appealing and functional that would bring people together to create a sense of community in the building.

Melissa Lockwood, d+k Director and manager of this project, immediately saw there was a lot of potential to create a more experiential space.



From a Static Lobby To a Dynamic, Multi-Functional Space

Taking a cue from their hospitality design experience, the firm developed a concept that included a variety of different seating options and multi-purpose gathering hubs. “Think of inspiring places that function as fun break rooms, meeting pods, and alternative work stations…all within one lively space that you can truly enjoy.” Melissa explains. “You can go to the common area to read a book, have lunch, and even work or meet with clients and coworkers.” It gives people a chance to rejuvenate and re-focus, breaking the monotony of working at their desks.


For employers, this brings many benefits. It makes for happier employees, which translates into increased productivity and higher talent retention rate. An amenities-driven workplace also makes a company more attractive, giving employers a leg up when it comes to hiring top professionals.

d+k were able to create a design that included pre-existing elements, like the finishes for flooring and walls. The old lobby plants, which were too overwhelming, were eliminated and replaced with others that would feel more organic to the space. Melissa’s favorite part of the project was actually figuring out how to preserve the large planter boxes while having them contribute to the flow of the environment, instead of disrupting it. This was done by adding built-in reading nooks and meeting places within the planters.



The design accomplished its goal. It increased the value of the old office building and helped increase its occupancy rate to the targeted 90%.

Adam says he now understands how common areas with amenities can shift the entire dynamic of an office building…and the economic impact that comes with it. “I learned how to take an existing cold space and activate it through design.”




Join our team! – d+k is Hiring

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d+k is currently hiring and looking for passionate Architects and Interior Designers to join our collaborative team. d+k is a full service boutique design firm that specializes in hospitality, corporate, retail, medical and high end residential design with Architects, Interior Designers and Project Managers on staff. d+k is passionate about developing responsible solutions from concept through completion. One of our core beliefs is that we strengthen our team by focusing on imparting knowledge during all phases of our projects. For full description of the open positions, please click on the links below.

Open positions:

If you are interested please feel free to submit your resume & portfolio to Human Resources Manager at with the appropriate position title in the subject line.


Simple Mills – A Clean Design for a Chicago Clean Food Company

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As an entrepreneur you always dream about your business growing and becoming something so big that you get to share it with the world. That is what happened with our client Katlin Smith, founder of Simple Mills. Simple Mills is a Chicago based, #1 clean food company in the United States that Katlin, herself, started in her own kitchen at home. As her business grew, she grew out of that tiny kitchen and this is where the d+k and Simple Mills relationship began in 2017.

Chicago Interior Design

Simple Mills found a 10,000 square foot space in downtown Chicago that was raw and had the character they were looking for. What drew them to this space was the location, square footage, natural light and of course the exposed brick and timber throughout. They wanted a space that not only met their want for their employees and a test kitchen, but a space where they could grow as a community. The bright and sunny space makes the environment happy and exciting to work at Simple Mills. Their show stopper in this design is their beautiful demo kitchen. The natural light that pours into the space is a perfect spot for them to create content. They knew they wanted a beautiful space that all their employees could enjoy, and they could utilize for their social media and website content.

Chicago design, Interior Design, Kitchen Design,

d+k listened to what Kaitlin and her staff wanted out of their space and our design team had fun integrating Simples Mills branding and bright colors. Simple Mills loved the elements that d+k recommend including adding pops of yellow throughout their space on the light fixtures and the funky wall paper.

Corporate office, meeting space, exposed brick, pops of color

Our overall experience with Simple Mills was great. They are a great company to work with. They had the pleasure of working with Ted, one of our lead project Architects who has been with d+k for over 14 years. Simple Mills enjoyed how thorough Ted was and how well we explained things that weren’t common sense to them. At d+k, we pride ourselves with making sure our clients are well informed throughout the process by sharing our knowledge and setting realistic expectations relating to their project and their vision.

corporate office space, sketch work , interior design, architecture


Please check out their feature below on the Today Show.  Congratulations to Katlin and her team for this great feature, and for all their success to date!

Who is d+k? – Chicago based Architecture & Interiors Firm

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"d+k is a collaborative environment, in which our architects and interior designers work together with our clients to create an immersive design experience. our team handles all aspects of projects, from branding and concepts all the way to finishes and installations. we believe in working closely with our clients to create a bespoke finished product that elevates their brand, their business, their home, and their value. "

− d+k