Melissa's Vintage Chicago Comfort

Melissa's Vintage Chicago Comfort

Jason Loper
Apr 12, 2010

Name: Melissa Banks
Location: West Rogers Park, Chicago
Size: 1,174 square feet
Years lived in: 1¼ years

When I walked into Melissa's home I immediately felt at ease, almost like walking into my grandmother's house. But Melissa's no grandmother. She's a young jewelry designer who gives a nod to the past, citing her own mother and grandmother as influences. And as the skull and crossbones doormat suggests, she has a sense of humor about it, too.

With an appreciation for vintage, the majority of Melissa's furniture is from flea markets and antique shops. Perhaps that is what lends such a comfortable vibe to the home - all the old furniture and knick-knacks feel familiar. And the old family photos, which are scattered around Melissa's home, add a personal touch.

The bold dining room beckons from the end of a hallway. When I first saw it I think I actually squealed a little. The deep red velvet chairs set against the black and white wallpaper make a powerful statement. And the dramatic décor in the room make it a great space for entertaining. I imagine myself sitting in one of those chairs, sipping a whiskey, enjoying after dinner conversation.

There's little wonder why Melissa has created such a comforting home space. As a jewelry artist who works from home, she spends practically all of her time in her condo. And in a space this stylish and comfortable, I'd want to spend all my time there too.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My/Our style: Vintage/antique mix of early-mid century and anything else that catches my eye

Inspiration: My mom and grandma

Favorite Element: My new barkcloth shower curtain or my turquoise chair (living room)

Biggest Challenge: Keeping everything organized and clean, since I also work at home

What Friends Say: I'm insane. (Regarding my attention to detail - mostly related to my artwork, but that spills out into everything else)

Biggest Embarrassment: My office!

Proudest DIY: Besides my artwork, I am also amazed I even have the time or skills to sew curtains, etc. And I painted about half the rooms in my condo. My brother-in-law did the rest.

Biggest Indulgence: I HAD to spend the money on a good king-sized bed when I moved in. No substitute for a good night's sleep.

Best advice: Buy vintage. It has way more charm and in most cases it's made better!

Dream source: I wish I had the time to visit all the great estate sales around Chicago, or around the country, but I never make it out.

Resources: Chicago area antique stores and markets. My favorite in Chicago is Edgewater Antique Mall. Others include Broadway Antique Market, Night and Day Vintage, and Good Old Days. Chicago area - Volo Antique Mall is amazing! And I try to make it out to the Grayslake Antique Market (2nd Sunday of every month), which I have been going to with my mom since I was little. My mom loves the Elkhorn Flea, but I've yet to go...

(Thanks, Melissa!)

Images: Jason Loper

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