Name: Katie (artist/blogger) & Toby (music producer/motion graphics designer)
Location: Edgewater; Chicago, Illinois
Size: 1,200 square feet
Years lived in: 12 years; rented
Katie and Toby's home was one of the first Chicago tours featured on Apartment Therapy — back in 2006! Eight years later, their place has evolved beautifully with minor updates, lots of rearranging, and some lovely changes that the years have brought, making them happy to continue calling this large rental unit (a 3 bedroom unit in a 3-flat, built around the turn of the century) their home.
The large dining room used to predominantly serve as an artist studio for Katie. Now, she still works there when needed, but the space also hosts large dinners and houses a beautiful collection of books, art, music, and crafting projects. This apartment before & after doesn't reflect a major renovation or a ton of new stuff acquired since we first got a glimpse in 2006. Rather, it's an example of how a home can change and adapt over the years, while remaining anchored by a few treasured things: a family dinette set, personal paintings, and red conga drums...
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Eclectic/Mid-century modern/Scandinavian.
Inspiration: Scandinavian design is a big influence. I am also inspired by the simple living philosophy of Terrance Conran and Jane Cumberbatch.
Favorite Element: We love our back deck, especially in the summer.
Biggest Challenge: Controlling the clutter. Living in a large apartment, it’s easy to let it fill up. This year we’re making a concerted effort to get rid of stuff we don’t use and don’t need. We don’t want to be controlled by our possessions.
Toby is the primary cook and his biggest challenge is dealing with a small refrigerator and not enough counter space.
We also wish we got a lot more natural light.
What Friends Say: Your home is very cozy, welcoming and cool.
Biggest Embarrassment: Not having a good spot for our cats' litter boxes. Right now they are located in the dining room, which doubles as Katie’s studio. The arrangement is fine most of the time, except when we have a dinner party and one of our cats decides to use them and not cover it up. Charming. It’s a good thing they’re cute!
Proudest DIY: The cushion covers Katie made for the rocking chair.
Biggest Indulgence: Our two biggest indulgences are food and kitchen equipment.
Best Advice: Take your time to decorate your home. Let it evolve organically and over time. Toby’s advice is to not be afraid of incorporating items that you like just because it’s not the “in thing” or the “flavor of the month”. Let your home reflect YOUR personality.
Dream Sources: Mjolk, 1stdibs, and an all-expenses paid trip to Scandinavia to buy vintage mid-century furniture.
Resources of Note:
- Antique telephone table – inherited from old roommates
- Crock – Sandwich Illinois Flea Market
- Basket – Crate & Barrel
- JaGoFF for Mayor poster - designed by Toby for his band
- Residents Poster by Dan Grzeca
- Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams sofa – Jayson Home and Garden
- Pillows – West Elm, Marimekko, DIY by Katie and friends
- Coffee Table – IKEA
- Ottoman – Room + Board Outlet
- Sideboard – Edgewater Antique Mall
- Side table is an old drum case from Toby’s childhood. He used to play drums in a fife and drum corps.
- Rocking chair – chair frame from eBay, Katie made the cushion covers.
- Yellow light – eBay
- Norm 69 light – Fab.com
- Silver lamp – Crate & Barrel
- TV Cabinet – IKEA
- Harri Koskinen Block Lamp – FinnStyle
- Blue painting by Katie
- Parisian painting – Arc Thrift Store
- Photograph – 20x200
- Geometric print – Edgewater Antique Mall
- Guatemalan wall hanging – Toby purchased in Ann Arbor
- Table – IKEA
- Flowers – Foxglovestudio.com
- Eames chairs – purchased from a friend
- Dining chairs - Flatout Design
- Cherner counter stool – scored for a steal in a vintage store in Milwaukee.
- George Nelson Bubble lamp
- Bookcases – IKEA
- Art – mixture of art by Katie, gifts from friends, art trades and garage sale finds.
- Mid-century cabinet – Craigslist
- Black locker cabinet – Ikea
- Cabinets, countertop and bookcase - IKEA
- Small table – Katie’s parent’s first table after they married
- Blue diner chairs – From Blake’s Diner in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Picked them up when they closed. RIP pancakes as big as your head.
- Cheese Print by Mike Geno
- Sheets – West Elm and Target
- Side tables – IKEA
- Hanging light – IKEA
- Floor light – CB2
- Brasilia dresser – Edgewater Antique Mall
- Curtains – IKEA
- Red painting by Katie
- Michael McGuire photograph - Las Manos Gallery
- Marci Washington Print
- Bedding – Target, IKEA blanket, and Nicole Miller Coverlet (Bed Bath and Beyond)
- Dressers – Craigslist
- Paintings by Katie
- Chicago neighborhoods poster- Oak Posters
- Liquor Cabinet (built-in)
- Vintage scotch calendar girl – Broadway Antique Market
- Glasses – mix of vintage, CB2 and Crate & Barrel
Thanks, Katie & Toby!
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(Image credits: Heather Blaha)