Tongue-in-cheek style meets taxidermy in this fashionable fishbowl apartment.
Graham Kostic has got game, literally. Inside a Mies van der Rohe–designed steel-frame building, his 14th-floor, Lakeview apartment houses a veritable zoo of wild animals—from a trio of antlers and horns on one wall, to a nearly life-size ceramic fawn from Marshalls at the foot of his bed, and a sprawling cow hide rug in the living room, stamped with stripes to look like zebra skin. And you can’t help but notice the taxidermy African springbok antelope, with a shiny, orange lacquered Chanel pendant hanging from the animal’s outstretched neck, which hangs adjacent to the entrance.
At first glance, the carefully calculated, 550-square-foot space, with its jaw-dropping fishbowl view of Lincoln Park and the city’s skyline, looks more like a magazine spread than a 25-year-old bachelor’s first pad. But considering Kostic’s job—fashion associate for Modern Luxury publications—his refined taste and strong point of view make sense.
That said, while a not-a-hair-out-of-place sensibility is present in the overall design, it’s the quirks and contradictions that give his home’s pretty face a distinct personality: Two bell-shaped glass jars showcase a porcelain squirrel figurine and a dried, lacquered alligator head—not exactly the precious objects you’d expect to find in these Victorian-style display cases. And although accents like a chaise lounge and an impressively stocked drink tray reflect Kostic’s aspiration to create a “1950s gentleman’s club-style” living room, the stack of Yves Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton books piled under the table behind his chocolate brown sofa strike a different chord.
“I like putting old things in a modern way,” Kostic says. “That juxtaposition really makes it work.”
The inside of Kostic’s closet doubles as a private gallery, showcasing an eclectic art collection that includes a macramé yarn cat image from Village Discount, a nude illustration from eBay and a painting of Bill Cosby by local artist Derek Erdman. “I would like to wallpaper [the back wall], so it’s like straight out of The Royal Tenenbaums,” he says.
Ephemeral displays of knickknacks pop up like temporary art exhibitions around the apartment on occasion. This month’s exhibit, dubbed The Life Aquatic—a collection of rubber sea creatures from Toys “R” Us—holds court in the bathtub.
Rather than organizing his coffee table books on a traditional bookshelf, Kostic displays them in unpredictable spots, like under his living room table.
“I like thinking of this taxidermy antelope as a trophy of art,” Kostic says. “Also, adding a sense of humor to it and giving it a little personality is nice.”
One of his most prized possessions, these horns poking out from the corner of Kostic’s living room came from his brother-in-law’s fraternity house.
Kostic fills a beaker from his uncle’s old chemistry set with food coloring–dyed water for decoration on his dining room bar tray-table.