Name: Dave Albin
Location: Logan Square — Chicago, Illinois
Size: just under 5,000 square feet — 4 floors, but only 2 bedroom & 3 baths
Years lived in: 15 — own
Dave basically lives in the urban home of my dreams. Having turned a vintage two-flat into a single dwelling, Dave tricked out his home with every bell and whistle imaginable. I'm not going to lie — during my tour of his place I often considered how to stow myself away so that I could live in Dave's dream home too.
Over the past 15 years, Dave has applied to his home all of the tricks he's picked up as a contractor. He has turned a former two flat into a four level single family home complete with a third floor master suite that includes a fireman's pole as a quick exit back down to the second floor office. Yes, Dave is basically just like Batman — he slides down a fireman's pole to his office every day. See, I told you it's a dream home!
When I say that Dave has applied his "contractor magic" to this home, I mean it! In addition to the fireman's pole, every room in the house has its own distinct character. The rooms on the first floor — the entry way, living room, and dining room — are all very colorful and a bit over the top. I was immediately drawn in by the pink books in the white brick built-in surrounding the fireplace. And of course the amazing wallpaper in the formal dining room is drool-worthy!
The second floor is clearly where Dave does most of his living. The rooms on this level — a TV room, additional living room, and a guest bedroom — are all more subtle and subdued. That's not to say there aren't some dramatic touches. There are the piano workings above the headboard in the guest room and the pink painted trophies in the TV room, to name just two.
Dave's master suite is spread out on the entire third floor and includes, tucked away in the corner, a fireman's pole for easy access back down to the second floor. With skylights in both the bedroom and the large master bath, the third floor feels less like a former attic and more like living on a cloud.
With all of the amazing details Dave has given his home I almost overlooked the amount of beautiful original art that lines the walls. Every room is filled with art that Dave has lovingly collected over the years. The back stairs that Dave insists he's embarrassed about not finishing are lined with a lot of this artwork. I daresay the back stairwells are among my favorite parts of the house — finished or not.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Comfortable and eclectic
Inspiration: Art, junk I see in the alley, colors of nature
Biggest Challenge: Turning a 2-flat into a single family home without it seeming like it
What Friends Say: "Each room is like a separate scene in a play" is a compliment I remember. But my all time favorite compliment was from a friend of a friend who came over for the first time and walked in and said, "Are you f***ing kidding me?"
Biggest Embarrassment: That I still haven't done anything with the rear stairway
Proudest DIY: LOL — the entire place was a DIY project, and continues to be
Biggest Indulgence: Artwork
Best Advice: From my grandmother on the topic of careers — "Find something you like to do and you'll never have to work another day in your life."
Art and furniture in this home are the ultimate eclectic mix — the majority are finds from alleys to auction houses, second-hand stores to SoHo galleries.
Images: Jason Loper
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