400 Square Feet Is Just the Right Amount of Space in This Cute Chicago Condo

published Aug 8, 2019
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Name: Benjamin Valle
Location: Buena Park/Uptown neighborhood — Chicago, Illinois
Type of home: Condo
Size: 400 square feet
Years lived in: 2 months, owned

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I work in communications for a small non-profit in Chicago and also freelance as a musician. I am a recent transplant to Chicago, but enjoying the city life! Previously I was living in the northern Illinois suburbs where I flipped a 1950s bungalow and discovered my love for DIY projects.

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room is the living room/dining room/kitchen. It is a collection of everything I love, particularly the musical instruments. The piano was a recent project that I took on in deciding to paint it. I found it on Craigslist a couple years ago and didn’t realize until I brought it home and had it tuned that there were piles of dog food inside and a couple pieces stuck in between the strings. After giving it some new life with a fresh coat of paint, I’d say it has come along way! Despite the main room being such a small space, I have an extra wide patio door/window that lets in a lot of natural light to open up the space.

If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? I would add one more foot of space to the length of the dining/kitchen area. The small bump out wall that my dining table is set against is so close to the kitchen counter that I have to move the dining chair out of the way every time I need to open the dishwasher.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Eclectic minimalism.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I recently purchased a couple of plants from The Sill. When my realtor was staging to sell my home in the suburbs, she noticed a large lack of plants in the space and has encouraged me since to add a few to my new space.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Don’t be afraid to break the rules. Creating a home is about creating a space that you can go to everyday to relax and recharge. If there is a design element that you love and want to add but might go “against the grain,” go for it. At the end of the day, it’s your space and needs to work for you, not for anyone else.

This submission has been edited for length and clarity.

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