Josh & Emily's Project-Friendly Apartment

House Tour

Name: Emily H. Martin and Joshua Wentz
Location: Ravenswood, Chicago, Illinois
Size: 1,450 square feet
Years lived in: 4

Josh and Emily haven't been spending a lot of time in their home lately. Having just opened a retail location of their design business, they spend most hours of the day at the store. When they are at home, Josh and Emily are often busy working on side projects. That's why they have devoted their home as a project-friendly space that is functional yet remains stylish.

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Off to the side of the living room is the couple's main work area. Under a wall of previous design jobs and favorite works from other designers sits their desk - two hollow core doors atop IKEA sawhorses. A nearby chalkboard wall helps keep them on task.

Josh's music room is where he spends time working on his record label and podcasts. Lined in DIY felt soundproofing, his room is a veritable library of music and recording equipment.

For two people who have their hands in so many projects, it's important that they have spaces at home to work on them. It's also important they have a little space to unwind. For Emily and Josh this is their TV room. This is also the room where they display their vinyl toy and art collection.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My/Our style: Eclectic. We've never had a vision that encompasses the entire apartment. We try to bridge the gap between comfortable and project-friendly by mixing Emily's family furniture with modern additions.

Inspiration: Being happy, comfortable, and low maintenance. We both work hard at the OrangeBeautiful shop; at the end of the day it's nice to have an apartment that can look lived-in without looking messy.

Favorite Element: Definitely the chalkboard wall in our home office. We organize our personal projects, grocery lists, and upcoming events there. If we make notes on a pad or in a notebook, they almost always get lost in the shuffle.

Biggest Challenge: Straightening up. We have a lot of space, but we also love stuff: books, magazines, toys, games, and music. The stacks can get pretty high if we aren't vigilant.

Biggest Embarrassment: In our office space we attempted to put up a long picture ledge. Unfortunately the wall is old plaster that had bowed away from the lathe, and in trying to hang the shelf we put two dime-sized holes in the wall that we have never bothered to fill.

Biggest Indulgence: We've dedicated one of the three bedrooms to Joshua's recording studio/record label office. It's the only part of the apartment that is built around a specific purpose (and the only room our cats aren't allowed in). One of the benefits of having a larger space is keeping all of the guitars, keyboards and instrument cables out of the way.

Best advice: Make your apartment a place you want to come home to. For us this means attempting to keep it clean and clutter-free; nothing's worse than coming home to dirty dishes and laundry that needs to be put away.

Had forever: Our living room rug has been in Emily's family for quite a while. (Interesting Fact: Imelda Marcos had this very same rug!) We used it as the inspiration for the Flor tile in the office half of the space.

Dream source: Aside from really wanting an Eames recliner and ottoman, we don't have any brands or designers that we're fixated on. If we could have local furniture designers create custom pieces for our entire apartment, we would.

Reality source: Predictably, IKEA is a huge resource for us. We love using the "Trones" shoe organizers as office cubbies or to store our umbrellas, hats, and gloves by the front door. Their sawhorse-style table legs hold up the hollow core doors for our work desks.

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Resources: IKEA, etsy, FLOR

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(Thanks, Emily and Josh!)

Images: Jason Loper

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