Kristen, Maureen and Jen + Henry the Pug
Lakeview — Chicago, Illinois
1,500 square feet
Years lived in:
2 — rented
Living with roommates can be the best way to get the most apartment for your buck, especially in a city like Chicago. Sometimes it can also mean working with conflicting aesthetics in one space. Luckily Kristen, Maureen, and Jen share similar design sensibilities that come together nicely in their Lakeview apartment.
The obvious highlight in the living room is the brick fireplace. What's particularly cool about this fireplace is that it sits next to a window. On the afternoon I visited, light spilled in from that window, framing the fireplace in a beautiful way.
Brightly upholstered and painted chairs act as a festive centerpiece to the dining room. This room is also in middle of the apartment so it actually seems like the centerpiece of the whole space.
Kristen and her roommates have let their individuality shine in their own bedrooms. Kristen's room has a small desk in one corner that is framed by red chalkboard paint on the walls. Maureen's bedroom leans more to the crafty side with wall decals and white furniture. (Jen's bedroom was off limits on the day I visited.)
It's comforting to see that three women can share a space and, without investing much in furniture or accessories, give it a polished look.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Random. Traditional on the rocks with a splash of modern and a pinch of vintage.
Handmade and DIY anything. Humor. Patterns. Bright colors. Chicago-related artwork.
The exposed brick fireplace, large living room and insanely well-designed closets - (sometimes hard to find in Chicago!) We love having two full bathrooms. We also love having the room for a private courtyard/basketball court/hammock area outside. Oh, and the ample (FREE) parking too! (These last few things are all rarities.)
Our biggest challenge is renting. There's reluctance when it comes to remodeling, painting or making major changes because we'll most likely have to change it back before moving out. Luckily, the three of us like a lot of the same things and for the most part, have similar design tastes. There are still minor discrepancies. That happens when you mix so many different possessions and styles. However, there's a lot of beauty in bringing everything together.
What Friends Say:
You'll have to ask them! Our place is often used as a hotel. We love that. There is plenty of space for our visitors to sleep and park; the latter of those two being appreciated the most, I think! Also, people love to leave messages and notes on our giant chalkboard wall in the kitchen. We keep the doodles up for a while as nice reminders of fun times with family and friends.
The kitchen cabinets. Landlord wouldn't appreciate if we painted...but they're pretty ugly.
Kristen - The hand painted birch tree trunks in my bedroom. Took a lot longer to finish than I thought but that's why I can appreciate it the most!
To be honest, there is nothing very expensive in our apartment. This question was hard. There is A LOT of DIY going on up in here. Maureen's mom is responsible for reupholstering almost every chair we have. Kristen - I've splurged on my letters the most, probably, but I hate to admit that Henry, our pug is probably the most "expensive" thing around us!
Living with roommates is a good way to get more for your money in the city of Chicago. It's even better when you all contribute towards designing a comfortable and attractive environment. Each of us surrounds our personal spaces with the things we love and that make us happy.
Merchandise Mart showrooms, Design Within Reach, flea markets, garage sales, antique shops
Resources of Note:
Thanks, Kristen, Maureen and Jen!
Images: Jason Loper
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- Urban Outfitters
- A lot of Craigslisting and flea marketing
- Maureen's super talented and resourceful mother
- DIY projects and artwork
- Magnetic & chalkboard paint.