Name: Scott Duff, comic/radio host; Jerre Dye, playwright/opera librettist/actor/director, and dog Emmett
Location: West Edgewater — Chicago, Illinois
Size: 1,350 square feet
Years lived in: 8 months; Owned
Scott and Jerre’s Chicago loft is just…WOW! It is more dramatic and inspiring than any home you’ve probably seen in a while. The soaring vaulted ceiling, crisp white floors, salvaged iconic furniture, and memorable artifacts are arranged and displayed for maximum theatrical impact by two of Chicago’s talented and thoughtful creative people. When your inspiration includes “negative space, Bauhaus, Fellini, The South and Big Sur," you know you’re in for a wild ride!
Scott and Jerre have deep roots in the theater community, but their involvement extends far beyond acting on the stage. Scott does everything from stand-up to radio. You can hear his show, Out Chicago, every Sunday from 11am-1pm (CST) on WCPT, where he co-hosts Chicago’s only local and live talk show for the LGBT community. He describes the show “like having Sunday brunch with a couple of your gay best friends, without the debate over who picks up the check.”
Jerre is an immensely talented playwright, opera librettist, actor, and director, and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Bryan Family Foundation Award for Dramatic Literature from the prestigious Fellowship of Southern Writers. He was born and raised in Mississippi, and has lived across the US, from New York to LA, and now Chicago, but maintains a strong Southern voice, no doubt nourished during his years as Artistic Director for Voices of the South Theatre Company in Memphis. He is also the driving creative force behind his and Scott’s home.
It took some time to find the perfect place–three years of searching—but the moment they walked through the door, they knew it was perfect for them. They had been searching for a place with character, something unique and dramatic, and a place where they could entertain more, be it large cocktail parties, or just having close friends and relatives stay with them. The loft is part of a complex that was at one point a machine shop, at another time a greeting card factory, and at some point even connected to the Manhattan Project. A brick wall surrounds the grounds, and when you pass the gated entrance you find yourself in a charming courtyard, where all the units open on to. Each loft has a small front porch area that can be used for grilling and lounging.
Nothing can prepare you, however, for what lies behind the front door. The brick wall to your right tells you right away that you’re in an industrial space, but the white floors, vaulted ceiling, Barcelona Daybed, Eames Lounge Chair, and assorted artwork all speak to a modern sensibility.
There are so many beautiful details that are to die for: next to the Eames Lounge is a petrified wood sculpture with orchids growing from it, and a skull bust adjacent; a vintage dresser has a dreamy blue piece of artwork above it, and a disco ball on top of it; leather-wrapped Cassina Cab chairs surround the dining table; the black fireplace has a modern mantel of light-colored wood.
The kitchen island was custom-made for them at Good Deal Garage from reclaimed wood and a giant piece of clean white marble on top—it stores pots and pans on the kitchen side and cookbooks on the dining room side. The metal and wood shelves are from Etsy, and the grey metallic tile backsplash goes perfectly with the typical kitchen metal finishes on the fridge and stove. Recessed downlights light the work surface, while two gorgeous swing arm Mantis sconces provide general ambient light.
That art collection is in full regalia in the master bedroom, located just behind the kitchen. This room feels like an oasis to Scott and Jerre, a place where they immediately feel relaxed and at peace as soon as they enter it. On the shelf above the bed are large-scale vintage trunks; the workbench under the window is also from Good Deal Garage, and the lamp next to it is actually a modified Red Lobster lamp, that was remade at Haymaker Chicago.
Next to the master bathroom is a narrow set of stairs going up to the loft that Scott and Jerre filled with more of their art collection. A heartwarming painting of Jerre’s late brother hangs in the hallway in blue; it was commissioned by the couple after purchasing a similar piece by the same artist of Koko Tayler in orange, which hangs in the loft. Skylights bring natural light up there, and provide a perfect place for relaxing, watching TV, or writing in the small nook.
If you are ever lucky enough to receive an invitation to visit Scott and Jerre’s home–take it! You’ll be floored with the natural beauty of the loft; you’ll fawn over all the little details, you’ll find yourself engrossed in the stories of their art collection, but most importantly, you’ll have a chance to hang out with two of the most interesting, passionate, and fun-loving individuals you’ll ever meet. The whole world might be a stage, but in the company of Scott and Jerre, you’ll have the best seats.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Modern Eclectic
Inspiration: Patina, negative space, light, family heirlooms, junk stores, amazing food, art made by self-taught artists, The South, California (especially Big Sur), Bauhaus, film, “camp,” pottery, blooming things, and any object that might hold a narrative (beautiful objects that have lost their use).
Favorite Element: The high ceilings in our place create drama and ample real estate for plenty of art. We’re loving the overall scale of the space. The building has had quite a life. It was once a machine shop and later a greeting card factory. When we looked for a place we really wanted a home that blended clean, modern lines with unique, vintage, architectural elements. It took awhile, but thanks to a very patient real estate agent (thank you, Scott F) we found precisely what we were looking for. We’re also a stone’s throw from the METRA train. Hearing the faint sound of the train as it rumbles past is good for the soul.
Biggest Challenge: Keeping our white painted floors clean. We were well warned and did plenty of research—on Apartment Therapy, no less. So, we knew what we were in for with regards to general upkeep. In the end, it’s only proving to be a mild pain in the ass. The look is totally worth the trouble. A Shark Steam Mop is now our new best friend.
What Friends Say: People say our place is “playful”, “dramatic”, “homey”, “surprising”, “gay”, “unique”, “sophisticated”, “sexy”, and “maybe a little strange”. Also, “Your place just feels so much like you guys.” We get that a lot too. We like that.
Biggest Embarrassment: Dog hair. Oh well.
Proudest DIY: The overall decorating of the place. As artists and first-time homeowners, we were just so damn excited about all the possibilities. For us, the prospect of shaping and reshaping space is truly one of life’s greatest pleasures. I know that sounds awfully grand, but shouldn’t life be grand when at all possible?
Biggest Indulgence: Really good candles and interesting lighting. Why not be well lit in your own home. Also, thanks to Patrick Clayberg Interiors we were able to achieve all of our renovations prior to moving in. What an indulgence. Not living inside a construction zone was absolutely the way to go.
Best Advice: 1. Resign yourself to never be done decorating. Live with it. Let it keep evolving. Relish impermanence. 2. As you're making choices, keep an eye out for contrast—scale, color, or texture. And mix it up. 3. If you’re indecisive, just make one big, bold choice that you’re forced to respond to. The rest will follow. 4. Edit. The more you edit, the bolder you can be. 5. Lastly, get creative with storage. Invest in furniture that holds crap. That way, you can hide things and rotate new art, objects and imagery into the space to suit your current mood.
Dream Sources: The side of the road. Junk Stores (the messier the better)
Chicago Stores- Alapash, Architectural Artifact, Asrai Garden, Roost, Scout, Good Deal Garage, Foursided, Broadway Antique Market, Edgewater Antique Mall, Mercantile M.
Online- ETSY, Dot and Bo, Schoolhouse Electric
PAINT & COLORS
- Everywhere - Benjamin Moore Marshmallow Museum white
- White cotton tie-on curtains - World Market
- Second-hand Barcelona Day Bed - Knoll
- Second-hand Eames Lounger - Herman Miller
- White pan lights - School House Electric
- Second hand Cassina Cab chairs
- Chord pendant light - CB2
- 42inch paper lantern - Paper Lantern Store (online)
- Custom, reclaimed, wood island - Good Deal Garage
- Ceiling-mounted, exposed, metal shelving - Dendro Co
- Modified Mantis wall sconces - CB2
- Lighted mirror - ATG Stores
- Hoop ceiling light- Dot & Bo
- Picture bars - Crate and Barrel
- Wall Sconce - Shōji | Daikon - Daikonic
- Wall Sconce - Stilk light - Daikonic
- Figure studies - Artist: Justin Brown Durand
- Select framing - Foursided
- White chest and shelves - IKEA
- White desk- World Market
- Koko Taylor Painting - artist: David Holt of Project Onward
- Reclaimed table lamp - Roost
- Vintage down sofa - Room Service
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