Amy’s Vintage Jewel Tone Apartment

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Julia Brenner)

Name: Amy Desmond of Victory Market Vintage & Handmade
Location: Andersonville, Chicago, Illinois
Size: 700 square feet
Years lived in: 4

There are charming apartments and then there’s Amy’s apartment, which is so charming it should come in locket form. Amy’s above-shop apartment overlooks the always-hopping shops and restaurants of Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood, and beyond the storefront exterior is a wonderfully vintage, light-filled space where Amy has combined a love of history, nature, and style to create a treasure of a home.

(Image credit: Julia Brenner)

Chicago is filled with unique vintage apartments, but not many are quite as vintage as Amy’s, which houses a 1950’s refrigerator (complete with built-in egg cups, I might add) that “works like a dream”, as well as the unit’s original stove and kitchen sink. Amy was offered the chance to swap out her vintage fixtures for new appliances, but she declined the offer, preferring to keep the history alive in her space. I think it’s the abundance of genuine character, combined with Amy’s skillful use of color, nature, and vintage decor that make her home feel so cozy yet so evocative. Annie Hall meets Dragnet (that pay phone and the tiny gun!) meets your smart, creative friend. In other words, about as naturally cool as you can get. PS: If you’re wondering about the “jungle” plants in Amy’s kitchen, read the full story in her questionnaire.

(Image credit: Julia Brenner)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Boho-chic

Inspiration: I am often inspired by nature and the colors of a changing day. I make a conscious effort to bring the outdoors inside. When I was a young girl, I dreamed of living in a tree house ala Swiss Family Robinson, swinging from room to room and sleeping in a hammock made of twisted vines. Then I remembered I live in the city. Duh. So, I do the best I can. Whenever I go on a trip, I collect little bits from nature. I have a rock from every place I’ve ever been and a birch branch from the Knobs up in the U.P. of Michigan. Most of the art is nature themed and either found at thrift shops, resale shops, or gifted to me. Amazingly, many of nature’s boldest colors can also be found in all things reminiscent of the late 60’s and early 70’s- another source of my inspiration.

Favorite Element: My kitchen. The stove is original and works like a dream. The sink is also original and in great shape. The refrigerator from 1955 runs like it’s new. I spend a lot of my time in the kitchen trying new recipes or dancing the night away. In the day, the light in the kitchen is amazing!

Biggest Challenge: Those plants hanging on the wall in my kitchen, but I will say – I’ve grown to love them. Here’s their story: When I moved in four years ago, I sublet from a guy who had lived here for 6 or 7 years…with the plants. The apartment was passed down to him from one of his friends who had lived here… with the plants. The apartment was passed onto that person from another friend who installed the planter box on the kitchen wall. So, the plants have lived here longer than any one person! Although some may be thinking, ‘Ugh. What’s the deal with the plants? Just take them down!’ I feel like it would be bad karma to remove the jungle that guards over the apartment. Since I don’t have any outdoor space of my own, when combined with the natural light of the insanely enormous skylight, the plants make me feel like I’m outside, and I think the Robinsons would agree.

What Friends Say: I have an eye for matching patterns and textiles. I collect vintage fabric and enjoy them for their history and bold color choices. Friends tell me it’s cozy and welcoming, which they say matches my personality. I see the space is an extension of myself.

Biggest Embarrassment: My kitchen floor. It’s covered in peel-n-stick from last century, when they still made things to last. Occasionally, one will pop up and I will replace it in an extremely professional way- by painting the cheapest peel-n-stick tile I can find some heinous shade of grayish black, then laying it down unevenly.

Proudest DIY: Physical object: String art above couch. It was quick to make, budget friendly (under $10), and makes a big impact. Space wise: Organizing my pantry so it is functional and pleasing to the eye.

Biggest Indulgence: Books. I know they are free to borrow at the public library, but there’s just something comforting about being surrounded by them.

Best Advice: If you like it, buy it. I’ve read that so many times in my life and they’re right! When I was younger, I’d steal my mom’s copies of Country Living magazine and month after month someone was giving that advice, “If you like it, buy it.” or “Only buy what you truly love.” Don’t worry if you don’t think it will match what you already have, because chances are it will. Most of us are drawn to certain colors, prints, and textures. If you keep gathering items you are drawn to, you unknowingly are collecting a harmonious palette.

Dream Sources:

  • King of the Forest Furniture in Drummond, MI (headboards & outdoor seating)
  • Haymaker Shop, 5507 N. Clark St., Chicago (art, chairs, desks)
  • Viva Terra (everything)

  • (Image credit: Julia Brenner)

    Resources of Note:

    PAINT & COLORS: (I don’t remember and all I saved were tupperwares filled with paint) Sorry!


    • Sun hat: Macy’s
    • Vintage umbrella: Elkhorn Antiques Market in Elkhorn Wisconsin
    • Mounted flower holder: Through the Looking Glass, Blue Island (now closed)
    • Chair & Blanket were both thrifted items.


    • Couch: traded many a couch to end up with that one! Marshall Fields
    • Blanket on couch & suzani pillow covers: Ginger Blossom, 3016 Rte 173, Richmond, IL 60071 (815) 678-4015
    • String art on walls: a Sunday afternoon project by me
    • TV stand & glass display case: Nadeau, 4433 N Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, IL 60640
    • Record player/iPod recorder: Pottery Barn
    • Bark cloth curtains: Kane County Flea Market


    • Table & Chairs: Salvation Army
    • Tablecloth: Target
    • Orange utensil holder (above stove): Anthropologie
    • Ombre spoons: Etsy shop, oMEandoMY
    • 4 framed Vintage Reprints of Victory Posters: gift from my mom
    • Curtain above window: Ginger Blossom
    • All other curtains: handmade by me
    • “Adventure” Map: Etsy shop, Walsh Walsh & Son


    • Antique Japanese screen: Timeless Treasures Antiques (now closed)
    • Tufted headboard: One Kings Lane
    • Purple zigzag pillows: TJ Maxx
    • Suzani pillow covers: Ginger Blossom
    • Bed Linens: TJ Maxx/Marshall’s
    • Vanity: Family heirloom
    • Orange lamp: thrifted item
    • Teal bubble lamp: Elkhorn Antiques Market in Elkhorn, Wisconsin


    • Bookshelves: Nadeau
    • Needlepoints: Thrifted from various resale shops & garage sales
    • Clothing rack: Urban Outfitters


    (Image credit: Julia Brenner)

    Thanks, AMY!

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