Ashlee’s Happy & Bright Chicago Apartment

published Dec 22, 2015
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Name: Ashlee
Location: Roscoe Village — Chicago, Illinois

I want to submit my apartment because I’m freaking obsessed with it. It’s a 2-bed unit in an old turn-of-the-century smokehouse in Roscoe Village. My landlord lives in the front unit and is the former drummer for 90’s power pop band, Material Issue, and he’s always plodding around doing cool things to the building. As for me, I’m an eco-lifestyle expert who writes for Refinery29 and other publications, regularly does TV segments on Good Morning America, Fox, CBS, and local Chicago television about eco and vegan food, fashion, beauty, and home, and I’m the Fashion Editor for Thoughtfully Magazine. I also run the site, The Little Foxes which is all about that good stuff. Basically, I’m all eco all the time, without being crunchy or judgey.

I’ve lived here for 1.5 years (rented) with my rescued pup, Banjo, and when I found this apartment on Craigslist, I knew I had to move in. From the bright orange doors (with original clerestories in tact), to the sun-drenched rooms, to the high ceilings, to the GIANT silver radiators, to the original (albeit a little beat up) floors, I loved its vintage charm and the slightly slapdash midcentury-style upgrades.

What makes my place unique is that absolutely everything is bought second-hand (even the IKEA stuff) – and man, that takes time (no luxury of running out to CB2 to get something. I have to stalk the hell out of it on Craigslist and scour resale shops). Some items are inherited (the giant boudoir portrait above my couch is my great grandmother who was a sassy opera singer; The little black-framed sketch on the dresser is an original signed Toulouse Lautrec lithograph); others I’ve found in the trash (wire chair next to the dresser was in the alley); others are repurposed (my makeup brush holder is a cleaned and painted can that was once chickpeas) . Being an eco-evangelist, I wanted my home to reflect my values. So, everything is reclaimed or recycled (even the light fixtures!), there are no leather or animal materials (because I’m vegan), and since I’m a minimalist, I banished all clutter to keep only what I love and let the space just be. I also did all of this on a seriously tight budget.

It’s a happy, bright, open space that regularly hosts rockers and regulars alike. People tell me they feel peaceful, less stressed, and comfortable here, and that’s pretty much the best compliment ever.

Thanks, Ashlee!

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