Mike & Kate's Collection of Colors and Textures in Chicago

Mike & Kate's Collection of Colors and Textures in Chicago

Brittany Purlee
Jan 17, 2016
(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

Name: Kate Levinson and Mike Muschong and Snacks the cat
Location: West Town — Chicago, Illinois
Size: 1,200 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years; Rented

White walls and floors set the scene for Mike and Kate's vibrant, patterned, curious, and classy home. Kate is no stranger to the interest of personalized space—her mother, Stephanie Wohlner, is a successful interior designer, and Kate is a location scout extraordinaire. She and Mike have created a fascinating space full of DIY innovations, heirlooms, high-end fixtures, and treasured thrift store finds.

(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

It takes a well-trained eye to compose a space teeming with curios. The eclectic patterns, materials, plants, bric-a-brac, books, mismatched dishes, and furniture styles somehow equal a sum of visual harmony where you might expect to be overwhelmed. Items like bits of coral add a sense of enchantment to keepsakes and photos. Mike cultivates an environment of care, warmth, and welcome, while Kate brings vibrancy, spark, and fun.

In the dining room, Mike painted and assembled dresser drawers to create their floor-to-ceiling bookshelf installation. Filled to the brim with mementos and books collected over the years, it reflects their love for life and each other. Each element of the home is so carefully appreciated that a visitor can't help but feel welcomed by the comfort and love they share with each other (and with Snacks, of course).

(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: (Kate) I love collected things with lots of colors and textures. Thanks to my handy husband, I can bring home things that are broken or out of style, and he will fix them up as directed.

Inspiration: I draw inspiration from a lot of places. I am a location scout, so I see people's houses ALL THE TIME.

Also, my mom is Stephanie Wohlner, one of Chicago’s top interior designers, so I have been keyed into interiors my whole life.

I briefly shared office space with Dean Renaud of South Social and Home and drew a lot of inspiration from how she mixed and matched and thrifted the most unsuspecting and fabulous things. See Dean's House Tour here.

My work with CB2 and Crate & Barrel keep me at the forefront of what is current, and I do a lot of work with Jayson Home which led me to the finer pieces in my apartment like the light fixtures and my sofa.

My husband is a great inspiration to me. His green thumb and the love he shares with the lives around him (plants and cats included) make a warm, beautiful, comforting place to call home.

Favorite Element: The white floors

Biggest Challenge: I’m out of room! I love everything that I have and I have no more room for new finds without getting rid of something.

Biggest Embarrassment: My biggest embarrassment is also my biggest joy… my cat… he bites people.

Proudest DIY: The drawer shelves! Mike took dresser drawers, painted them white, and then made a built-in bookshelf out of them. Once stocked with my color-coded novels and trinkets, it’s the home to our hearts and our history.

Biggest Indulgence: Light fixtures for sure. I feel like everything in the whole house can be under $100/item, but when you pair it with a $2000 chandelier, it elevates the entire room.

Best Advice: Keep your eyes peeled. You might just find eight perfect Mid-century modern dining chairs with bright blue upholstery for $80 in the back of a junk truck at the swap-o-rama on the South Side.

Resources

(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

PAINT & COLORS

  • Living room: Benjamin Moore Intense White
  • Dining room: Benjamin Moore Intense White
  • Kitchen: Benjamin Moore Intense White
  • Bedrooms: Benjamin Moore Collingwood
  • Bathroom: I can't remember. Mike picked it all out.
  • Trim and floors: white high-gloss latex paint
(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

ENTRY

  • Mirrored pedestal: bought for $5 with a crack in it at an estate sale
  • Glass head: given to me by a friend who moved away
  • Bird hat on glass head: handmade by Kate
  • Planet poster: Maxwell Street Market
(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

LIVING ROOM

  • Chandelier: Jayson Home
  • Sofa: Jayson Home
  • Coffee table: hand-me-down from my Nana
  • Chairs: recovered as a birthday present from my mama—they were originally my late aunt’s, and I’ve had them for about 10 years.
  • Wildebeest hide rug: Grayslake Flea Market
  • Saarinen table: Scout Home
  • Plants: mainly cuttings from my grandma, made lush and alive by my husband
  • Coral Native American painting: my friend Hilary’s late mother’s work—I’m holding onto it for her daughter who travels…. I’ve been holding onto it for about eight years.
  • Lamps: scavenged from my mom’s basement… those are never making it to her clients' houses.
  • Installation on the window wall: Abigail Ancer—it includes found skull, Craigslist antlers, gun from Mike’s late uncle’s trailer, turkey feathers, and other collected bits.
  • Blue ship painting: $20 from the Maxwell Street Flea Market—I rode it home on my bike
(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

DINING ROOM

  • Table: $200 at the Grayslake Flea Market
  • Chairs : $80 for all at Swap-O-Rama on the South Side
  • Credenza: Craigslist
  • Photo: People Vs. Places by Stephanie Bassos and Tim Burkhart
  • Teal painting: street artist named Ben—I shipped it to myself from New Orleans when I was in college.
(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

KITCHEN

  • Big cabinet: IKEA
  • Bird shelf: found in the back of a metal recycler’s truck—I chased him down and gave him $5.
  • Stools: Overstock.com
  • Pig head photo: Gretchen Drew
  • Magnetic spice jars: Gneiss Spice
(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

BEDROOM

  • Bed: $5 Goodwill find, painted white by Mike
  • Chair: Savers
  • Dresser: Scout Home
  • Mirrored tray: estate sale
  • Rug: late aunt
  • Brass side table: $10 at Goodwill
  • Hanging light: $30 at Randolph Street Flea Market

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Thanks, Mike & Kate!

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