Location: Lakeview — Chicago, Illinois
Size: 900 square feet
Years lived in: 4 — rented
For the uninitiated, you should know — Dave has been around since the old school Apartment Therapy days. The Dave house tours started off in 2006, when he was living in Andersonville. We did another tour when he made the move in 2008 to Lakeview. And while Dave is still in the same apartment, as an interior designer and very committed shopper, he has transformed the space so much that we went back for this tour - the Lakeview Redux.
And Dave, being an old timer with the tours, pretty much wrote this one himself in his emails to us - so if you'll excuse the slightly "off model from the usual format" tour today, we'll turn the mic over to Dave himself for his thoughts on the history of his ever evolving home at this point in time:
When I first moved into the flat, I was transitioning from an enormous and drafty place in Andersonville with reasonably psycho landlords. I had anticipated that it would only be a temporary stopping point on the way to something grander and better...I honestly would have been shocked to know that four years later I would be happily living there.
I wanted to do something fun, up to the minute in Chicago style and went all out embracing the industrial chic look that was catching on. 1920's utility lockers with bronze handles, lots of lead paint, and enough metal to put dents in the floor? Check. Perfectly upholstered in goat hair mid century chair? Check. Awesome 1940's pharmacy lamp? Yes, found that as well. Rich wash of 'vibrant neutrals' mixed with sleek pieces from Holly Hunt to prove that I had pocket cash? Check and check.
Then, a year later, I got a Restoration Catalogue and realized that my living room looked like it had been furnished from page 63 with help from the front window at Scout.
That furniture went the way of Craigslist. I stirred up my brain, decided that what I really wanted was some color in my life. I generally always go for murky browns, neutral dark toned paints, and a bit of reddish 'Catholic' brown. Probably my least favorite color was blue...and for some reason I decided that my living room was yearning for floor to ceiling blue curtains. Electric blue, the stuff of polyester band uniform nightmares.
And....it was chic. Perhaps a little girly, perhaps a little too 'done'. And completely not a reflection of me. Tate from Strange Closets did an article about the flat and it was met with approval...and a lot of private notes from friends telling me that they never would have expected it from me.
So, once again I racked my brain to come up with a current look that was also unique and undeniably 'Dave'.
I think it all came together well. A $400 cat proof Craigslist sofa, a cow hide as a rug, two levels of coffee table glass to hold assorted books and magazines as well as takeout containers, player piano wallpaper, a 60 year old industrial range to whip up pancakes for 40, and a pair of bedroom TVs for commodious rainy days in bed. I finally got a vitrine cabinet big enough to hold my random collections of prosthetic glass eyes, pharmacy bottles, marine life, and bad figurines.
My desk is a glorious Gio Ponti piece (when furniture is pedigreed or ghastly costly it magically gets referred to as a 'piece' and not a 'desk') that is always piled with the real life 'extra' that it does not have drawers to contain. The kitchen sacrificed form for function when I ripped out the newly installed base cabinets and decided that the stove was more important than sundry things like a dishwasher or...drawers. The walk in closet is perfectly fitted with custom racks yet still looks like a miniature nightmare of what I had in Andersonville. Oh...and sometimes I think that the art procreates. Every year sees new pieces walk in the door that seem more and more fabulous and literally start to stack up around the perimeter of the rooms.
Not to mention that I figured out how to inject my pop of color; one overpriced throw pillow and one ghastly -fabulous bright blue patent leather chair. Perhaps a little over the top...but so am I. I have room in my heart to love all kinds of stuff and enough personal energy to realize it in my place and to keep it safe from the vigors of three neurotic black cats.
Apartment Therapy empowers people to take control over their space and see that existence in a rented space does not have to mean you live like a transient. Bravo to that sentiment...my first studio in Chicago was a testament to what creative thinking and a dash of paint and DIY can do to a space. I am lucky enough to have some extra cash to drop on furniture but I also think that my place is a testament to savvy shopping and a little DIY. The player piano wallpaper cost me literally $12 to do (the cost of the paste) and is easily stripped off when I leave the flat for greener pastures. The couch cost less than the throw pillow, the silver leafed cabinet $300, and the coffee table $50 all on Craigslist. The bookshelves in the bedroom are an awesome IKEA hack. They literally sell the shelves as Hyllis at IKEA for $15 each. I combined two shelves in height by quite a few in width and modified one shelf at the end with a pair of tin snips to make them go wall to wall. Total cost for the entire wall was around $150!
Now I really feel like the space is perfect, reflects me well, functions beautifully for my lifestyle...and is a pleasure to come home to at night. Lots of little details come together to make it awesome 'just for me'. The oval Model T mirror in the foyer is at the perfect height and angle for me to check my hair on the way out. The cats are happy with the litter box that is hidden inside of a kitchen cabinets; they pop in an out of a perfectly size cat hole in the side of the cabinet and seem content to not kick litter all over the floor. The parking passes are secreted in a tiny pop out drawer in the end table that always amazes first time guests.
Although… I am already itching to start something new. I have been shopping for over a year for a fabric to do my desk chair in and I saw a vintage light that would be perfect for the back hall. I guess my life borders between hobby and sick obsession… but the fun really is in the tinkering.
Images: Evan Thomas
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