Name: Bethany Petryszak Mudd and Michael Mudd
Location: Andersonville; Chicago, Illinois
Size: 1,800 square feet
Years lived in: Less than a year; owned
“It almost feels… a little surreal.” That’s how user experience designer and painter Bethany describes living in the macked-out condo she shares with husband Michael, an IT consultant, along with their two dogs and two cats. “I can’t believe that we live in a place this nice.”
After Bethany commuted from Ohio to the Windy City every week for a year, the couple pulled up stakes after they found this Chicago home in the Andersonville neighborhood—a new-construction condo with great bones, elegant architectural details, top-of-the-line finishes, and new car smell. Given its pristine condition, the place didn’t need any work—an entirely new concept for this couple whose former house in Columbus was a 3000-square-foot DIY rehab. All Bethany and Michael had to do was move in and make the place their own.
They did just that with some of Michael’s style, but mostly Bethany’s. “I like to think that it’s a little put together and a little surprising at the same time.” In their home, modern pieces mix with eclectic, vintage furnishings. Cat-proof terrariums and Seussian flowers grace the living and dining rooms. And every wall is adorned with paintings by Bethany and her mother, a West Virginian artist.
Both mom and daughter seem to share an artistic bent toward the provocative. The compelling paintings range from her mother’s classic still life of pears emerging from the darkness to her modernistic foreboding beach scene and Bethany’s children-of-the-corn self-portrait to her dying flower series. While all of the paintings are meaningful, some, like Bethany’s vacation paintings, mean more than others. “They represent a place in time and reflect my life like a diary.”
A prolific painter when work and life allow, Bethany knows it’s just a matter of time before her 1800-square-foot home will run out of space to hold all her paintings. Instead of giving her paintings away, as she has in the past, Bethany wants to show her work at galleries to move forward as an artist. She similarly describes the process of painting: “At some point you have to make the leap in order to create the vision… and there’s some magic in making the leap.”
And for these Ohio transplants, making the leap to Chicago has brought some magic to their lives in unexpected ways. When Bethany’s not painting, she and Michael are walking the dogs, tending their vegetable garden on the rooftop deck, or hanging out with each other on their personal deck. “We find ourselves spending more time outside,” says Bethany. “We really love the urban environment where you can walk around the neighborhood. And the whole maintenance thing gives us a lot more time together.”
While Michael likes to joke that their new place reflects, “that I’m married,” he also concedes, “It’s been fun exploring a new city together. And it’s starting to feel like home.”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Comfortable with a little funk
Inspiration: Mid-century modern meets European gallery
Favorite Element: The artwork. There are pieces from vacations, my mother and friends. It makes the condo feel like home.
Biggest Challenge: Finding elements that we both agree on. Michael and I have very different styles and it is rare for us both to say, “Yes, this is the one!”
What Friends Say: The artwork and the millwork throughout the unit makes the biggest impression. Everyone seems to love the skeleton painting in particular.
Biggest Embarrassment: I spent months painting a retro shelving unit kelly green with the purpose of turning it into an oversized sideboard in the dining room. Once it was painted and we carried the exceptionally heavy butcher-block countertops up, I realized that it just didn’t work in the space.
Proudest DIY: The same green beast that is my biggest embarrassment. While it didn’t work for the dining room, I am still proud that we committed and tried. I also love the workspace in the studio. I combined two dressers from IKEA and added an extendable top. It may not be glamorous, but it works beautifully.
Biggest Indulgence: The majority of our furniture is from consignment, thrift or outlet stores — so we haven’t had a major splurge yet. However, I do hope to buy a fiberglass Eames Eiffel Chair for the dining room.
Best Advice: Buy things that make you happy. If they are well crafted with good bones, you will find a way to make it work.
Dream Sources: White Attic, All Modern, a consignment store in an area filled with interesting people
Resources of Note:
- Couch – West Elm
- Plant Stand – Fresco Furnishings (Columbus, OH)
- Rocking Chair – Fresco Furnishings (Columbus, OH)
- Red Leather Chair – Nieman Bates (Columbus, OH)
- Dining Table – Room Service (Chicago, IL)
- Buffet Set and Hutch – Brownstone Antiques (Chicago, IL)
- Dining Chairs – Crate and Barrel Outlet
- Bedroom Set – Experienced Possessions (Columbus, OH)
- Cedar Chest – Fresco Furnishings (Columbus, OH)
- Couch – Ubberhaus (Columbus, OH)
- Workspace – Ikea
Thanks, Bethany and Michael!
(Words: Judy Bruce; Images: Heather Blaha)
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(Image credits: Heather Blaha)