Kevin & Dop's Playful Uptown Loft

House Tour

Name: Kevin Byrne and Dop Troutman
Location: Chicago (Uptown)
Size: 884 square feet (1 bedroom loft in former department store; built in 1915 converted in 2003)
Years lived in: 1

Kevin shared his first place with us way back in May '06; it was a condo renovation with a major bathroom overhaul, tons of DIY with bright, simple design choices. Since then he has moved with his partner, Dop, into a loft conversion in Uptown. And while he brought some ideas from his Lakeview home, this space indicates a fresh start loaded with creativity, color, and of course more doing-it-themselves:

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With a wall of windows letting in tons of light and an Uptown view, Kevin and Dop have made their loft both clean/streamlined as well as playful/visual; not always an easy overlap. With both mental and physical room for a trapeze (Kevin has trained in circus arts) and large-scale paintings, this loft feels nothing like "too much." One of our favorite elements is the bicycle pulley system above the front door, more proof that this loft's ceiling height is used in the most perfect ways to suit Kevin and Dop's needs.

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AT Survey:

Our style: D: Low, clean lines. Uncluttered. Simple with accents of bold colors. K: All that, plus personal and playful.

Inspiration: K: I like the industrial loft feeling of some repurposed spaces but wanted to soften the look for the design of the building and our personal style.

Favorite Element: K: My last place had zero view; I looked right into the wall of the adjacent building. I love the light, airiness, and view provided by the large East-facing windows.

Biggest Challenge: D: The biggest challenge was creating separate rooms that still complimented each other without looking thematic.

What Friends Say: D: They love it; words we most often hear when friends walk in are “fun”, “creative” and “clever”.

Biggest Embarrassment: D: Originally our bed was a five foot lofted bed that we thought was ideal for the place. Then we realized it overwhelmed the space and ended up sawing three and a half feet of leg off of it. K: We were trying for extra storage but it didn’t turn out quite as we planned. Oops!

Proudest DIY: K: I think I’m most proud of designing and installing the bathroom vanity. Oh- and building the headboard. It really helped to solve the layout issue of the bedroom.

Biggest Indulgence: K: We tend to be pretty frugal; hanging the trapeze was definitely a splurge. I’ve trained in circus arts and wanted a place to practice a bit. It’s definitely a conversation piece.

Best advice: K: I have to remind myself that it’s okay for our place to be a work in progress. My advice would be to tackle projects one at a time… from paint and furniture to accessories and fixtures. Case in point: the Poang chair in the living room and the bathroom light fixture; they’re next on my list.

Dream source: K: Modernica. D: Design Within Reach.

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Resources: Ikea (couch, dining table/chairs, bedding, living room chair, dressers, and entryway locker); Custom Wood Products (bathroom vanity and mirror frame), Family Dollar (rugs), moving sales (television stand, lamps, mirror, shelves, and kitchen table/stools), Home Depot (plants/pots); thrift store (kitchen sign and fork), Chicago Flyhouse (trapeze installation), collegebedlofts.com (bed), mattshallenberger.com (bedroom photos), testtubesonline.com (test tubes), Amazon (bike hoist), orkposters.com (Chicago poster), made by Kevin, the homeowner (headboard, coffee table, metal sculptures, pillows, paintings, and marquee photos).

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(Thanks, Kevin and Dop!)

Images: Evan Thomas

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