Name: Clare Britt
Location: Logan Square; Chicago, IL
Size: 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: 4 months; rented
This photographer and art collector moved into her current two bedroom place (part of a six unit brick building from 1912) just a few months ago. What Clare first saw was the space and layout potential for showcasing her growing and beloved art collection — always a challenge in her previous apartment. Now that she has twice as much square footage, the new challenge is simply to not overwhelm her walls, and to consistently rotate, clean, and store her pieces properly.
With furniture, rugs, and artwork from modern day adventures and past family lives, everything in Clare's home has true meaning to her. We asked about a few favorite stand-out pieces (but ask her about any others and she's thrilled to share):
In the entry is a Haitian voodoo flag called Loup Garou (a mythical creature that turns into a werewolf and drinks your blood at night), to scare off intruders.
SALT on top of the dining room built-in hutch consists of letters used to make a sculpture by artist Barbara Kruger. They were leftover pieces that were going to be thrown away after installation. Clare often changes the featured word, as she has about twelve letters total.
The green painting over the mantle and the blue painting over the chaise (both in the living room) are works by local artist Steven Husby.
Hanging over the bed is a treasured painting with three zebras running in the distance. Her grandparents got it at a garage sale in the 1970's, and it is a work that has been in her "visual experience" her entire life, holding endless family memories.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Collector, mid-century, vintage, unique one-of-a-kind finds from artisans and travel adventures.
Inspiration: Travel — I always purchase a house furnishing when I travel domestically or abroad. Nature, fine art, and my family history.
Favorite Element: My Great Grandmother's arm chairs. I had them reupholstered a couple of years ago and it gave them a new life. Also, the quilt my mother made for my bed.
Biggest Challenge: Keeping my artwork clean and well cared for. I have more art stored in my flat file and I find it a challenge to showcase it all at once. I rotate art around in my house, depending on the season and my mood.
What Friends Say: You are sure to find special little details in unexpected places. This place is fun, eclectic, and original.
Biggest Embarrassment: My mud room — it is full of junk.
Proudest DIY: I have it on my To Do list: I just bought a Harvey Probber dining table and chairs. The chairs need to have the cane replaced and the seat cushions recovered. I am working with an artist on a custom seat cushion design, and I need to take a wood working class on how to cane. I hope to refurbish the table and chairs over the winter.
Biggest Indulgence: My rug collection. I acquired two rugs on my trip to the Middle East in Sharjah, UAE. I picked up a saddle blanket in Montana that I use as a rug in my kitchen, and I just purchased my newest — a Texas Mohair rug hand woven in Oaxaca from my trip to Austin. I have also inherited a couple of family rugs.
Best Advice: Be patient. If there is something you want, keep your eyes out and let it come to you. I got my flat file, office desk, couch, bedroom set, dining room buffet, and two armchairs for free. Surround yourself with beauty. Invest in one-of-a-kind objects. When you travel and see something you want, buy it; it will be gone when you go back.
Dream Sources: My family (the way they style their homes has always inspired me), any beach view, art museum and gallery tours, Orland Park antique district, junk stores in rural America, my grandmother's attic, Parisian flea markets
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(Image credits: Clare Britt)