Anne and Rich's Colorful Urban Cottage

House Tour

Name: Anne Leuck Feldhaus and Rich Feldhaus + Canines: Izzy & Alice
Location: Chicago, Avondale Neighborhood
Size: 1350 square feet
Years lived in: 3.5

Stepping into Anne and Rich's house is like walking into a colorful folk art gallery with a cool cottage vibe. Nestled just steps away from the expressway in the Avondale neighborhood, it's easy to leave urban life at the doorstep of this couple's home.

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Anne, an artist who frequently travels the art show circuit, and Rich, a product manager and musician, use their home to showcase the art they have collected over the years. Every wall and surface is adorned with the work of fellow folk artists - along with some of Anne's own work. The couple's love of animals is also evident in the art, with many pieces featuring dogs or cats. Anne is a big proponent of animal adoption, a theme that is very prevalent in her paintings. Alice and Izzie, the couple's adopted dogs, have the run of the house.

Anne and Rich transformed a traditional 1895 farmhouse into an urban cottage. The vibrant blues and greens on the walls are coolly contrasted with the white trim and kitchen cabinets. The furniture, which is mostly repurposed vintage with a few new pieces thrown in, is mostly white as well. The result is a comfortable space that feels far removed from the urban landscape outside. Being inside the house is like being transported to a seaside cottage/art gallery.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My/Our style: Sort of urban cottage meets folk art gallery.

Inspiration: : Visiting other artist's homes in my 20's (when we lived in apartments void of color) I realized all I had to do was surround myself with colors and art that I loved, and it would make a home. I'm still inspired by visiting other people's living spaces, home design books, magazines and blogs. As an artist on the art fair circuit I am constantly acquiring new treasures, fortunately, it's often in trade for my own work.

Favorite Element: We love the open floor plan, high ceilings and mouldings of this old home...it feels like there is room to breathe compared with our last house which was a boxy little 1960's raised ranch.

Biggest Challenge: The open floor plan! Our front room is literally a 'waiting room'. When we first moved in that was going to be my painting studio so we made the middle room the living room. Ideally it would be a dining/reading room but that would involve an adjustable height table. I'm on the hunt...a dining room is in our future!

What Friends Say: "It's like walking into one of your paintings", cheerful, inviting.

Biggest Embarrassment: We haven't had time to do much decorating upstairs, the walls are still the same 'masking tape yellow' as when we moved in with the exception of the laundry room, which I painted with stripes.

Proudest DIY: Painting the wood cabinets in the kitchen white, it completely brightened and transformed the space. It seemed like a bold thing to do at the time.

Biggest Indulgence: Replacing the light fixtures and having our kitchen island area wired for pendant lights. It was a big expense but worth every penny.

Best advice: Paint will give you the biggest transformation for the least amount of money, this goes for wall color, wood furniture, and kitchen cabinets!

Dream source: A beach cottage by the sea or an old farm house with a wrap around porch and white picket fence.

Had forever: Our coffee table, I acquired it in college as a hand me down from my brother's (now) wife. About 10 years ago I created a tile mosaic on the laminate surface, it's among the sturdiest pieces of furniture we own and one of my favorites.

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Resources: Furniture: Notable pieces in the front room Mission Rocker from Kane County Flea Market, oak buffet inherited from our old neighbor Wally. Armoire in living room from Roy's Furniture, sofa from Retrospect, white kitchen buffet from Ikea. Miscellaneous other pieces from yards sales, Craig's List, Goodwill, family heirlooms and hand-me-downs.

Lighting fixtures from Pottery Barn.

Paint: Benjamin Moore in front room: Tequila Lime, kitchen & living room: Peacock Blue.

Artwork: Among several of my own paintings and sculpture, my collection also includes works by: Erica Jane Huntzinger, Kim Frieders, Laura Nugent, Rachel Weaver-Rivera, Lois Keller, Chris Roberts Antieau, Susan Hinckley, Helen LaCelle, Anthony Pack, Richard Smith, Kass Copeland, Marvin Hill, Terrell Powell, Cher Shaffer, Jeff Condon, Nancy Gardener, Deb Leair, Andrew Hersey, Daphne Covington, Kerry Rolewicz, Lizzie Oz, Cathi Bouzide, Michael Bailey, Luther Jr., Brian Jensen, Dolan Geiman, Mark Orr, and Carl Leuck.

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(Thanks, Anne and Rich!)

Images: Jason Loper

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