Arthur & Kristin's Sunny Vintage Loft

House Tour

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Name: Arthur Garcia-Clemente & Kristin Over
Location: Printer's Row, Chicago, Illinois
Size: 1,200 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years; Rented

When two interior designers move in together for the first time, to a loft space with only a few walls and even fewer enclosed rooms, the chances for design conflict run high. But in the case of Arthur Garcia-Clemente and Kristin Over, moving into this early 19th century historic warehouse in Chicago’s Printer’s Row offered the chance to do things that few other spaces would allow.

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They designed it from floor to ceiling as a tactile and visual experience that unfolds as you explore it. By creating dramatic feelings of enclosure and openness; playing with bright windows and dark corners; and layering with personal and meaningful treasures, they've created an wonderfully adventurous home.

From the moment you walk in the front door, you feel that every space strikes a balance between being its own entity, and being a part of the other areas that surround it. The apartment is in fact a single large room with an enclosed bathroom at the center, but it feels like it's made up of dozens of smaller rooms. The entry, itself a part of the adjacent den, flows straight into a butterfly-filled hallway, which then becomes an aedicule shaded by a dried tree. Behind the tree is an open bookcase and behind that is a library. The library opens on one side to the living room, which itself is part of the dining room and kitchen. The kitchen shares a partial wall with the den, closing the circle back where you started.

This fine balance between enclosed and connected spaces is almost entirely created through the skillful arrangement of furniture, art and lighting. Their collection grew organically out of the couple’s slow search and discovery of storied objects and artifacts. The blue velvet sofa was found at an estate sale, the nine Brno chairs at a bank auction, the mid-century hutch from Craigslist, and the architect’s sconces in a Salvation Army basement. To that Arthur and Kristin added pieces from their travels, their own paintings and artwork, lots of plants, and a few DIY projects. The effect is a space with an easy and relaxed feeling, the kind of place you want to wake up in on a lazy Sunday morning. No conflict here.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I love things that have a history to them, that are solid and worn and comfortable to use. If everything is too perfect, I worry about messing it up. (KO)

Inspiration: Eclectic European stately homes have always attracted me for their balance between exuberance and organization, especially Sir John Soane’s museum. It’s a crazy arrangement of objects, they’re everywhere! Yet you have a sense that everything is ordered and in its place. (AGC)

Favorite Element: I love how the living room morphs into our own personal yoga studio. We move the coffee table and the whole area opens up. (KO)

Proudest DIY: The closet in the den! It was actually the first DIY project that we did together. We had nowhere in the apartment to do any carpentry, so we took all the materials to the train station parking lot across the street where we stained the wood, spray-painted the pipes, and drilled all the holes. (AGC)

Biggest Challenge: The closet in the den!!! With the closet three-quarters built, he was so fed up that he was ready to toss everything out the 9th floor window! But I wasn’t ready to let him give up so easily, especially when it already looked as good as it did. It was a challenge, but we rallied and finished it in no time. (KO)

What Friends Say: It feels different every time we’re over here!” We love to play with lighting, especially for dinner parties, and everything is on a dimmer. I mean everything. If Arthur had it his way, the refrigerator light would be on a dimmer. (KO)

Biggest Embarrassment: The brown wall in the bathroom — how we missed painting that one wall I will never know. (AGC)

Biggest Indulgence: The mid-century hutch bar. I bought that thing when I was living alone and going through a big mid-century craze. I couldn’t really afford it at the time, but I negotiated the price down, and it finally came home with me. Of all the things I bought during that time, I sold most to my roommate before moving in with Kristin. This is the one piece I kept. (AGC)

Best Advice: Make every inch of every space have a purpose. If it doesn’t have a purpose, you won’t use it and it just becomes dead space. A library has places to sit, places to store books, places to play music. Even the walls have a purpose, whether as a place for art that you want to see often, or just as a blank wall that allows your eye to rest. (KO)

Dream Sources: A shopping spree at the flea markets of Paris.

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Resources of Note:

PAINT & COLORS

  • All paints are Benjamin Moore
  • All carpet tile is Flor

ENTRY

  • Entry Table: CB2
  • Bench: HBF end of season sale

DEN

  • Highboy: Childhood hand-me-down
  • Desk: Craigslist
  • Bookcases: Estate Sale
  • Closet: DIY
  • Lounge Chair: IKEA
  • Carpet Tile: Flor
  • Space-aged Desk Lamp: The Brown Elephant Andersonville
  • Clay Lamps: Salvation Army
  • Architect’s Sconces: Salvation Army

LIVING/DINING ROOM

  • Blue Velvet Sofa: Estate Sale
  • Low Credenza: Craigslist
  • Arc Lamp: Craigslist
  • Dining Table: IKEA
  • Brno Chairs: Bank Auction
  • Bookshelf: Estate Sale
KITCHEN

  • Bookcase: IKEA
  • Record Player: Estate Sale
  • Wall-hung modular bookcase: Estate Sale
BEDROOM

  • Bed Frame: Z Gallerie
  • Highboy and Credenza Set: Estate Sale
  • Antique gold-plated Chinese fans – Salvation Army

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Thanks, Arthur & Kristin!

(Images: Arthur Garica-Clemente)

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