Alecia & Jon's Luminous Simplicity

House Tour

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Name: Alecia & Jon Zasiebida
Location: Near North Side; Chicago, Illinois
Size: 900 square feet
Years lived in: 2.5 years; rented

The first thing you see when you enter Alecia and Jon's apartment is sky. High ceilings and a wall of windows flood the space with openness, peace, and possibility. And the simple beauty that infuses their home only begins there.

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Alecia is a graphic designer with a love of simple, minimal style. The apartment that she shares with her husband Jon is pretty and pared down, but it's far from stark or dull. Instead, the easy, clean-lined furnishings allow the breathtaking view, their beloved art–mostly from local artists–and subtle dashes of color to take center stage.

The apartment has a basic black and white palette that is both classic and graphic. Black-and-white art, patterned pillows, and a striking kilim add contrast and complement the apartment's grayscale finishes: concrete pillars, black-framed windows, black kitchen cabinets with a milky granite top, and the all-white walls. Plants, books, gold accents, and the stunning hints of color introduced by their dining furniture fill the apartment with life and vibrancy. The happy colors on their IKEA hacked bench are enough to make anyone smile, and it's proof that the smallest touches really can make a large impact. All these elements come together to form a calm, restful space that showcases elegance, playfulness, and a couple who is clearly appreciative of the basic needs of a beautiful life.

Because of Jon's job, the two will soon be moving to Amsterdam, so this tour is a farewell of sorts to the home that Alecia says has been her pet project for several years now. (In fact, if you're interested in any of their furnishings and you're in the Chicago area, they're looking to sell everything and make a fresh start. You can email Alecia.) I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what they do in their new home. Amsterdam house tour, here we come!

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Bold, graphic, with hints of color.

Inspiration: I wander around Pinterest constantly. My home interior inspiration board has more than its fair share of pins – 2,200 to be exact! I also love looking at home interior blogs (sfgirlbybay, domaine home, coco lapine design) and shelter magazines (lonny, dwell, living etc).

Favorite Element: My view and windows!

Biggest Challenge: Our storage space. Even though we have a big open layout, which is great for parties and entertaining, we don’t have a lot of storage to tuck away those non-pretty items we don’t want out and about.

What Friends Say: Amazing view! In fact, I think that is what Carolyn said the minute she walked in when she came to take pictures of our place. :)

Biggest Embarrassment: My dying plants. I keep thinking I can nurse my fig leaf tree back to health, but it continues to deteriorate. I’ve also neglected to decorate my bedroom. After 2 ½ years of living here it was sadly the last thing on my to-do list.

Proudest DIY: Hands down our IKEA bench hack. We took planks and painted each a different color, and then glued them to the top of our ikea bench. People always ask where they can buy the bench, and I laugh because it was the easiest/cheapest DIY but seems to make the biggest impression on people.

Biggest Indulgence: In terms of our biggest purchase would be our Room and Board couch. I was looking for a specific color, comfortable, and something that was easy to clean since I can be prone to spills. :) The couch we found happened to meet all the requirements, but we did pay a pretty penny for it.

Best Advice: Don’t ever feel like you need to decorate your entire space all at once. Allow yourself the time to collect things over the years. This will help create a space that not only feels true to who you are, but will hopefully tell a meaningful story. I think creating a home is a process, and shouldn’t be done in a day, month, or year. Decorating is much more than filling a room with pretty things — I believe it is more about discovery and exploration. If your home is a reflection of yourself, then you’re doing it right.

Dream Sources: Design Within Reach, estate sales, eBay, Schoolhouse Electric, dwell, abc carpet + home

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Resources of Note:

LIVING ROOM

  • Room & Board couch
  • Julia Kostreva print above couch
  • Sharon Montrose monkey print above fig leaf
  • West Elm coffee table
  • West Elm rug
  • IKEA TV stand
  • Eames replica rocker via Overstock
  • Couch pillows: mix of cb2 and IKEA

DINING ROOM & KITCHEN

  • Crate & Barrel kitchen table
  • Chairs dipped in paint from West Elm & IKEA
  • Vintage bar cart
  • Debbie Carlos ice cream print
  • West Elm labeled kitchen containers
  • Bar stools via Overstock
  • Diptyque candle
  • Wood platter: West Elm
  • IKEA bench hack

ENTRY BOOKSHELF

  • Etsy print
  • cb2 candle holders
  • West Elm agate bookend
  • Crate & Barrel vase
  • Container Store storage boxes
  • Inflated Deflated Etsy print
  • West Elm rocking bird

BATHROOM

  • West Elm rug
  • West Elm shower curtain
  • Random vase
  • West Elm bathroom towel

BEDROOM

  • Crate & Barrel bed
  • West Elm bedding
  • IKEA dresser
  • IKEA desk
  • IKEA lamp
  • Vintage trunk side table
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Thanks, Alecia & Jon!

• HOUSE TOUR ARCHIVE: Check out past house tours here.
• Interested in sharing your home with Apartment Therapy? Contact the editors through our House Tour Submission Form.
• Are you a designer/architect/decorator interested in sharing a residential project with Apartment Therapy readers? Contact the editors through our Professional Submission Form.

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(Image credits: Carolyn Purnell)

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Main, Style, Apartment, Chicago, Simple Chic, Tours

Carolyn is a freelance writer and photographer, as well as a lover of all things colorful and quirky. She grew up in Texas and settled in Chicago by way of L.A., England and Paris. Currently, she is a professor at Illinois Institute of Technology.

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