Johanna & Derek's Airy Live/Work Studio

House Tour

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Name: Johanna Lowe, food and prop stylist, and Derek Richmond, food photographer; together, they are the co-founders of Richmond Lowe Studio.
Location: Logan Square; Chicago, Illinois
Size: 3,000 square feet, with an additional 2,000 square feet of outdoor space
Years lived in: 7 months; Rented

Could there be a more perfect pairing than a food and prop stylist and a food photographer? After moving into this breathtaking and loftlike space housed in a former warehouse in Logan Square, Johanna and Derek began Richmond Lowe Studio as a photography production and rental studio with a food focus, making this place the beautiful hub of their home and work lives.

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As a food and prop stylist who is originally from England, Johanna skillfully infuses the industrial space with a sense of home. Metal and wood elements mingle with cozy cupboards and inherited furniture to create a place that feels highly functional but also unmistakably warm. Some of my favorite pieces are the antique and thrift store finds, including beautiful dishes, tins, wood crates, and kitchen-related curios. In addition to her work as a stylist and the studio, Johanna has also used her expertise to found Martyn George, an online shop filled with "curated culinary objects," a fantastic collection for those that love everything hearth-related.

Richmond Lowe Studio is one of those transformative spaces that makes you feel like you have traveled somewhere completely different than where you've just been. It is as though it exists out of time and, to a certain extent, out of Chicago, with its huge and well-manicured outdoor spaces, all contained within thick brick walls, that still create the impression of airy openness. Walking through the front entryway and into the arched main studio area immediately brings a sense of calm and purpose. It's easy to see why Johanna, Derek, and many others are able to do such excellent creative work here.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: An eclectic mix of functional design and a time-loved aesthetic.

Inspiration: Life, form and function.

Favorite Element: The radiant floor heat, bow truss ceilings, and 14 foot perimeter privacy wall.

Biggest Challenge: Changing a light fixture that's 21 feet up in the air!

What Friends Say: Wow! Can I stay here?

Biggest Embarrassment: They're all in boxes in the garage.

Proudest DIY: Changing a light fixture that's 21 feet up in the air.

Biggest Indulgence: Restoration Hardware bed linens.

Best Advice: Buy a tall ladder.

Dream Sources: 1st Dibs and the next estate sale

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Resources of Note:

PAINT & COLORS

  • All white landlord paint

ENTRY

  • Copper pot as doorstop: Chicago estate sale
  • KITCHEN

  • Long table: French School Laboratory Table from Michigan Antique Dealer
  • Assorted chairs: Random acquisitions from Michigan, Texas, Arkansas and alleyways
  • Bent metal chandelier: close out business 10 years ago in Chicago (I forget the shop)
  • Union Jack teapot: Etsy
  • Countertop chairs: Milwaukee antique mall
  • Large table in front of sink: Lazy Dog Antiques Chicago
  • Large cupboard by second refrigerator: Michigan antique mall
  • Assorted china pieces: Every and any antique mall, thrift store, estate sale and some from my home in England
  • Assorted copper cookware pieces: Private purchase from chef relocating from Chicago to Italy
  • Assorted tin containers: All thrifted randomly
  • Vintage scale: private sale from Craigslist in Indiana
  • Woven fruit and vegetable basket: Crate and Barrel
  • Vintage seltzer sprayers: Texas antique malls
  • Chilled Apple Juice sign: Barn sale in Michigan
  • Assorted vintage forks: My home in England
  • STUDIO

  • Metal shelf organizers: Costco
  • Small metal cart: Ikea
  • White cupboard with slate top: Randolph St. Antique Market
  • Black s-curve chair: Private sale in NYC
  • Metal bowl lamp: Michigan auction
  • OFFICE

  • Metal-top desk: Crate and Barrel
  • White chairs: Michigan antique mall
  • Metal chairs with fleece: Private sale in NYC
  • Assorted prints: Hatch prints from Nashville
  • Black, white and red shelves: Ikea
  • Small side table: Inherited
  • Wooden cupboard: Inherited
  • Large abstract painting: Phil Burk Original, Detroit
  • Small sofa: From our landlord
  • Patterned pillow: Etsy
  • Patterned throw blanket: Michigan antique mall


  • BEDROOM
  • Bed: Craigslist
  • Bed linens: Restoration Hardware
  • Mirrors at head of bed: Private sale from Chicago Craigslist
  • Table at foot of bed: Swap with prop stylist
  • Side lamps: The Painted Lady Chicago
  • Side tables: Michigan antique mall
  • Desk: Michigan antique mall, repainted by me
  • Desk chair: Alleyway
  • Stamp holder: Yard sale
  • Wooden cupboard: Private sale from Chicago chef relocating to Italy
  • Wooden table in window area: Inherited
  • Rocking chair: Inherited
  • Small wooden chair: Yard sale
  • Circular pink pillow: Skokie estate sale
  • BATHROOM

  • Small wooden chest: Street peddler came to my shop on Grand ave
  • Assorted mirrors: Random yard sales, estate sales
  • Earthenware jug + pitcher: pitcher from Jayson Home, jug vintage from Michigan antique mall
  • Apothecary jar: England
  • Assorted flower prints: Estate sale in Skokie
  • FRONT OUTDOOR AREA

  • The Golden Fleece pub sign: Antique store in Texarkana, Texas
  • Front patio furniture: Zinc-top table from Michigan antique store. Concrete Stools from Kennicotts. White Round Table from Michigan thrift store.
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    Thanks, Johanna and Derek!

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    (Image credits: Alexis Buryk)

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    Alexis is a writer and photographer of weddings, events, portraits and interiors. She adores floor plans, functional aesthetics, and homes ranging from cozy to colossal.

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