Name: Amy Haiar & Todd Donahue
Location: Avondale/Logan Square, Chicago, Illinois
Size: 2,400 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year; Owned
What happens when two creative directors have carte blanche to design a new home from the ground up? In the case of husband-and-wife duo Todd and Amy, colorful, interesting, and beautiful things happen.
Amy and Todd purchased their newly-constructed Smart Tech home a little over a year ago. The home is sustainably designed and SM Energy Star rated — and another benefit of purchasing new was that Amy and Todd had the chance to design their interior from the ground up.
And design they have! Modern and vintage pieces are offset by a sunny palette of yellows, whites, and oranges; artwork and unique finds are showcased in ways that allow individual pieces to shine, while the space as a whole still feels open and balanced. As I walked through their house for the first time, I found myself thinking, "I want to live in a place like this when I grow up," which may or may not be weird considering the whole 'I'm in my 30s' rigamarole, but there it is. I crushed out on their house like a 10-year-old, ok maybe it's more like a 6-year-old at a Justin Beiber concert. But there was so much to love: Clean-lined symmetry, sunshine that goes on forever, dip-dyed pine cones, and a wall of gig posters? Crush city. In the words of the Beibs, "As hard as I've tried, I don't know how not to be adorable". I think Amy and Todd could say the same for their house, but they probably won't... ever.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Graphical. We love a well-balanced mix of bold color, pattern, texture and type. We try to balance that with warmer, modern elements that have structure and simplicity.
Inspiration: Since we’re both creative directors, we’re influenced by all kinds of design – typography, architecture, industrial design, fashion, and primarily graphic design.
Favorite Element: The yellow vintage fireplace. It was something that sat under a tarp in my grandparent’s barn in Michigan for years. I loved the color and would always look at it and hope someday I’d have a space for it. When I got my first place, I crammed it into my Volkswagen Beetle and hauled it to Chicago. It’s been with me ever since.
Biggest Challenge: Trying to keep it simple. We are always finding new ideas, artwork and pieces for the house, but in order to keep our simple aesthetic, we try to keep an editing eye and not over-clutter.
What Friends Say: That it feels like “us.”
Biggest Embarrassment: The basement. It’s the one part of the house that we’ve just put off tackling. It’s basically like an empty roller rink – we’ll get around to it eventually.
Proudest DIY: The stone accent wall. We took on the task with no tiling experience. It took a lot of patience, but the transformation was really dramatic. We laid out every tile on the basement floor and then one by one, brought them up and put the wall together. We love the asymmetry of the TV and shelves and the stone provided another natural element – it really added warmth to the room and has become the focal point of the main level.
Biggest Indulgence: The red-orange vintage stools. We had purchased two different sets of bar stools previously, but nothing we tried felt right until we found these.
Best Advice: Photoshop everything! We always take a picture and do a quick Photoshop mock-up for any big decisions – lighting, wall colors, pictures, wallpaper, shelving. We’ve done everything from mood boards for the kids’ rooms to spacing out the plants in the yard. It’s fun to see the “after” before you make the commitment, and make sure you have the right balance of color and scale. It also helps prevent any expensive regrets.
Dream Sources: Design blogs, Pinterest, Dwell, and Houzz. Chicago offers many great lighting, furniture and modern home décor stores to explore.
Resources of Note:
PAINT & COLORS
- Entry: Benjamin Moore Collingwood
- Interior Door Color: Behr Totally Black
- Living room: Escapade Gold, Sherwin-Williams
- Kitchen: Sherwin-Williams Escapade Gold, Benjamin Moore Collingwood, Behr Volcanic Blast
- Upstairs hallway: Benjamin Moore Collingwood
- Master bedroom: Behr Squirrel
- Boy's bedroom: Benjamin Moore Rocky Coast, Behr Windjammer
- Girl's bedroom: Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist, Behr Hot Lips, Glidden Bahama
- Basement: Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist
- Yard: Garage color: Whale Gray; Door color: Behr Premium Plus Flat Lemon Zest; Fence stain: Behr Premium Semi-Transparent Chestnut Stain
- Tile, Happy Floors, Fusion Pearl, Porcelain
- 1960’s Danish enamel fireplace: vintage
- Pull-out couch by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
- Concrete coffee table, ottoman, throw pillows: CB2
- Print on window wall: The Decoder Ring
- All other prints: ISO50
- Chevron chair by Urban Outfitters
- Table Art: "I Am Home", Haymaker Chicago
- Stone accent wall: DIY,
- Navajo stacked sideboard by Crate & Barrel
- Arco lamp: vintage
- Area Rug: IKEA
- Dining set and runner by CB2
- Custom-made benches
- Prints by ISO50
- Italian orange tweed barstool: vintage
- Wooden stumps: DIY
- Pendant light, Restoration Hardware
- Gradient pine cones, DIY
- Wallpaper: David Hicks, Hexagon Black & Gold
- Tile Accent Wall, Happy Floors Setai Vertiver Porcelain
- Keep Calm Print by World Market
- Chuck Close Self-Portrait Print by Walker Art Center
- Italian Orange Tweed Barstools: Vintage
- Terrariums by Sprout Home
- Print by Galerie F
- Island Counter, Silver Pearl Leather Finish Granite
- Back Splash, Neostile Grafite Porcelain
UPSTAIRS STAIRWELL AND HALLWAY
- “I have always known it was you” print by Row Boat Press
- “& then I woke up” by Ugmonk
- All other prints from Galerie F: Galerie F
- Neon Chevron Pillow by EarthCadets
- Plant by Sprout Home
- Black Door Paint Color: Behr Totally Black
- Hanging staircase pendant: Ten Tales Suspension Lamp by Lightology
- 1960’s Danish enamel fireplace: vintage
- Fur throw by Restoration Hardware
- Headboard, Custom-made by Todd
- French Pillow by Restoration Hardware
- Camera: Vintage
- Deer head: White Faux Taxidermy (WFT)
- Stool by World Market
- Lamps by West Elm
- Pendant Chandelier by West Elm
- Wall mounted fireplace by Chiasso
- End Tables by World Market
- White Leather Bench, custom made
- Metal Boxes by Jayson Home Chicago
- Branch Jewelry Holder by Urban Outfitters
- Paint Color: Behr Squirrel
- Wallpaper: Sherwin-Williams
- Driftwood, found
- Photography: taken by Todd
- Lighting by West Elm
- Shower Surround, Happy Floors Fusion, Musk
- Floor: Happy Floors Natif Curry Porcelain
- Recycled Skateboard Stool by Deckstool
- “Keep it Down” Print byLand of Nod
- Lego Letter Print by LetterPopArt
- Star Wars Prints by WordPlayPrints
- Chicago El Signs by Citizen Shay: http://citizenshay.com/
- Furniture and lighting by IKEA
- Vinyl figures by Rotofugi
- Cat Mustache Print by Urban Outfitters
- Balloon Animal Statue (Painted) by Chiasso
- Neon Yellow Flowers by BerryIsland
- Neon Ampersand Print by ShopAmpersand
- Modern Chevron Bird Silhouette by Tessyla
- “Oh Hi” print by 2142Stuart
- Albert the French Bulldog Pillow by Urban Outfitters
- Pink Cuckoo Clock by Art Effect Chicago
- Fabric for throw & curtain by the Needle Shop Chicago, DIY
- Love You Night Light by Owly Shadow Puppets
- Furniture by IKEA
- T&A Signage Letters, Vintage
- Barstools by CB2
- Furniture: Room Essentials
- Bird Feeder: CB2, hung by orange bungee chord
Thanks, Amy & Todd!
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(Image credits: Julia Brenner)