Jason Loper's Recent Articles
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Katherine & Jem’s Humboldt Park Bazaar Apartment
Name: Katherine Raz and Jem HiltonLocation: Humboldt Park — Chicago, IllinoisSize: 750 square feetYears lived in: 6 months — rentedThe last time we took a tour of Katherine and Jem’s home they were in a 900 square foot three bedroom apartment in the Albany Park neighborhood. The couple has since downsized to a smaller two bedroom and shifted to the Humboldt Park neighborhood and I followed right behind to get an updated house tour.
Jun 15, 2019
Hacking the IKEA Lack: One Table, Ten Different Ways
IKEA’s Lack table is a DIYer’s perfect canvas for unbridled creativity. At just $10, it’s easy to justify the expense. If the project doesn’t work out, it’s a minimal investment. And being constructed of hollow wood and paper, the Lack is easily customized. Check out 10 cool IKEA Lack hacks after the jump… • With the simple addition of brass corners, Jenny at Pearl Street Interiors gave her Lacks a campaign style.
Jun 5, 2019
Cut Out the Middle Man: Ironing Wet Clothes
I’ve been trying to cut back on my use of the clothes dryer. Clothes dryers not only use a lot of energy—the second highest energy consuming appliance after the refrigerator!—they’re also rough on fabrics. As an apartment dweller I don’t have the option of a clothesline (drats!) but I have found that I can cut some of my dryer use by ironing clothes straight out of the washing machine.
May 7, 2019
Have a More Organized Monday: 5 Tips for Tidying Your Dresser Drawers
We always focus on organizing your closet, which is definitely a vital storage area to keep clean and organized for easy dressing during the work week. But your dresser drawers are important too — save yourself just the smallest amount of time by cutting out the search for matching socks! Here are a few tips for getting your dresser drawers organized and keeping them that way.
May 7, 2019
8 Other Uses for a Shoe Organizer
Shoe organizers are an easy way to get all your shoes off the closet floor and up into an easy-to-use sleeve. There are many uses for these handy organizers beyond storing shoes. Shoe organizers can also be used as an affordable way to organize many other household items. After the jump, eight suggestions for other uses for the shoe organizer…1. Store your socks in a shoe organizer. This will not only free up a dresser drawer, it will also make your socks more visible.2.
May 7, 2019
Before & After: From Disaster to Delightful in 2 Days
For some reason bedrooms seem to be left as the last room in the house to be decorated. I’ve seen it a lot in friend’s houses and House Tours. I am definitely guilty of neglecting my own bedroom, as you can see in this before photo. I am the first to admit — that room is hella ugly! But in two days I was able to take this room from a decorating disaster to delightful with a couple coats of paint (and some major purging).
May 7, 2019
Before & After: Bringing New Life to Old Drawers
Reusing old drawers as shelving is something we’ve discussed here a few times before. In fact, you may recognize one of these drawers from a post on the subject. While I’ve been using drawers as shelving for a couple of years, I wanted to take the concept to the next level.I had already been using one of these drawers as a wall shelf in my bedroom and when I gave the bedroom a makeover, I wasn’t sure whether I would use the drawers again.
May 7, 2019
Before & After: Turning a Laundry Closet into a Laundry Center
The washer/dryer hookup in our apartment is perfectly located right off the kitchen and close to the dining room, where we do all the laundry folding. Since this is our first apartment with laundry inside the unit, we’re quite happy to have it so centrally located. Although the location of our little laundry closet may be nearly perfect, the presentation leaves a lot to be desired. Those louvered bi-fold doors have got to go!
May 7, 2019
Before & After: An Upcycled File Box
When I saw this little file box at a Salvation Army, it practically called to me from across the store. “Jason,” it called out to me, “please take me home and give me new life. I’m only five dollars!” How could I possibly pass it up?The original gray finish on the file box had definitely seen better days. Even after a thorough scrubbing, the finish was marred with years of tape and dings and scrapes. Nothing a little spray paint won’t fix!
May 6, 2019
Before & After: Diane’s Dandy Chandi Makeover
This brass chandelier may have a lot of life left in it but it’s definitely a bit dated. Of course, that’s nothing a little paint and patience won’t fix!Reviving an old, dated piece is always the greenest option versus replacing it altogether. So I’m delighted to see that Diane, over at In My Own Style, was able to modernize this dated brass chandelier.
May 6, 2019
Before & After: A Brassy to Classy Lamp Re-do
When Alissa received this lamp as a hand-me-down from her grandparents, she loved the shape but not the dated brassy finish. Spray paint and a little imagination to the rescue!I see what Alissa means about the shape of this lamp — now that it’s painted! I admit that I was too distracted by the old brassy finish on the lamp to appreciate its finer qualities! Now that its been painted white I love it — especially that tall finial!
May 6, 2019
Daniel’s Brilliant IKEA Fräck Hack
At left, the affordable and handy Fräck mirror from IKEA. I’ve had one hanging in my bathroom for a few years and, now that I’ve seen what Daniel was able to do with his, I’m looking at mine in a whole new light… A whole new light! See what I did there? Daniel, from Manhattan Nest, is responsible for this brilliant IKEA hack. He was also kind enough to give us step-by-step directions on his blog so we can make one for ourselves!
May 6, 2019
Before & After: A Dark Hallway Comes into the Light
This long, dark hallway was not being helped by the saltillo tile, ugly light fixture, and dark trim. But after stripping away all those dated features in the hallway, it’s now a lighter, brighter, and more welcoming space…We saw this snazzy before and after over on To the Moon and Back — a great little blog documenting a home’s transformation. This project is a true testament to the power of simple changes.
May 6, 2019
Before & After: Nicole Dresses Up a Drab Dresser
Nicole picked up this dresser as part of a three-piece set. The other two pieces, matching nightstands, got their own makeovers but Nicole wanted to do something a little different with this dresser. Check out the results after the jump…As Nicole reports on her blog, Scrap Me Baby, the dresser was in great condition structurally so it really just came down to a matter of painting it. Giving this dresser the black-and-white treatment makes great use of the piece’s details!
May 6, 2019
Before & After: Linda Welcomes Style to the Entryway
Linda has a lovely home, outdoors and in, but her entryway was not feeling very welcoming. Besides being on the bland side, this entryway was also seriously deficient in functionality. Fortified with a whole lot of DIY ambition, Linda turned the entryway into a welcoming (and useful) space…As you can see in the ‘after’ photos, Linda went with a more dramatic palette for her entryway.
May 6, 2019
Before & After: A Chest of Drawers Gets Paper Sourced
This chest of drawers was plucked from an alley near some student housing. In its original state, it was a bit boring and beat up. That’s nothing a little paint, paper, and elbow grease can’t fix…Diana over at Fine Diving saw the potential for new life in this dresser. She started out with this gorgeous patterned paper from Paper Source, which she used for the drawer fronts.
May 6, 2019
Before & After: A Pink to Poodle Chair Makeover
I love the story of this chair makeover, largely because it sounds a lot like my own DIY projects — an equal mix of inspiration, serendipity, and hundreds of staples…Back in mid-November Christine, of Bijou and Boheme, blogged about picking up these lovely-lined but shabby (and pink!) chairs, along with an inspiration photo of similar chairs covered in fur. Then Christine lived with the chairs while she decided what exactly she wanted to do with them.
May 6, 2019
Before & After: Jill’s Dresser Goes Tall, Dark & Handsome
Jill picked up this old dresser for $25 with the intention of refinishing it as a gift to her brother. In order to match some of the other furnishings her brother already has, Jill decided to go dark with this blond dresser…After removing the old handles from the dresser and doing a little patching, Jill stained the dresser a bit darker. To further modernize the piece she replaced the old handles with new, shiny drawer pulls.
May 6, 2019
Before & After: Light & Bright Updated Kitchen
We love it when readers send us their projects to be featured. Kelly emailed us about her fabulous kitchen makeover, taking it from the dark and dated room you see above to the bright and updated space you can see after the jump…When Kelly and her husband bought their 100-year-old house that needed renovating, she was thrilled to get the chance to design her dream kitchen. And a dream kitchen it is! Kelly had the old kitchen torn out and started fresh.
May 6, 2019
Sean’s DIY Bathroom Lighting Makeover
Sean has been transforming his white box of an apartment into a stylish and personalized home. In one of his recent blog posts Sean shows off this DIY bathroom lighting makeover that works around an existing awkward location in a creative way.This lighting over the double basin sink in Sean’s bathroom was unattractive – both as a light fixture and in the shadows it cast on the folks under it.
May 5, 2019
Before & After: Dated Dresser to Ombre Sideboard
Well hello there, ugly old dresser. You have some mighty fine bones but oooh boy are you a dated mess. Time to grab the paint and transform you into something more modern!The folks over at Young Nesters were in need of a sideboard for their dining room. After searching in vain for an affordable option, they spied this old dresser in a grandmother’s basement and, since it was free anyway, decided to try their hand at an ombre makeover.
May 5, 2019
Before & After: Jude’s Virtually Free Sofa
Our readers don’t just come to us for home inspiration – they also share their own projects with us, bring the inspiration around full circle. Jude emailed us this sofa transformation that we think is a great lesson in patience and DIY chutzpah.Jude’s small apartment requires a slim sofa, one that is no longer than 56 inches.
May 5, 2019
The Cheapest (& Most Expensive) Places Around the World to Buy IKEA Furniture
As the largest retailer in the world, IKEA has stores in 38 countries around the globe. In an interesting new study, Idealo UK performed a cost comparison to determine the cheapest and most expensive places to buy from the big blue box. Check out some of their findings after the jump…To create their price comparison, Idealo UK looked at 40 IKEA products which can be found in 33 different countries.
May 5, 2019
Before & After: Olga Brings Her Passion for Pallets Home
When most people see wood pallets they think only of garbage or maybe even kindling. When Olga saw the pallet pictured above she saw possibility. She lugged the pallet home and set about finding a way to use it. After it sat in a corner for a month, Olga finally gave the pallet new life.The cracks, knots and other markings on the pallet were part of what Olga loved about it. So when it came time to make use of the pallet in her home, Olga didn’t want to change the character of it too much.
May 5, 2019
Sources for Wassily (& Wassily-Style) Chairs
In last week’s post declaring the Wassily Chair a modern classic we looked at the chair in a variety of interiors. Now it’s time to look at where to buy one – whether it’s shelling out almost $2G for an authentic Wassily or choosing one of the budget-friendly reproductions.New Authentic Wassily Chairs — The authentic chair is produced by Knoll so it’s the same price ($1,924) at each of these stores.
May 5, 2019
Before & After: Mekenzie’s DIY Version of the Versailles Chair
Mekenzie was dreaming of the Restoration Hardware Versailles chair for her basement but at almost $2400 it was out of her price range. Like a true DIYer, Mekenzie decided to mock up her own version of the chair using this tiki chair as a base…The first step in Mekenzie’s makeover was applying a custom blended gray paint over the chair’s original finish.
May 5, 2019
Old School Tech: Radiator Humidifiers
Faced with a toasty warm but terribly dry apartment this winter, I went in search of old fashioned radiator humidifiers. Surprisingly, there are relatively few on the market these days – especially in the States. What was once commonplace has been replaced by standalone humidifiers that run on electricity. If you’re feeling old school or you won’t want to commit space to a separate small appliance, try one of these radiator humidifiers.
May 5, 2019
Battle for the Best: Closet System Shopping Experience
When it comes to making a closet as efficient as possible, the right shelving can make all the difference. The Container Store’s Elfa Shelving is a well-known system but Home Depot, Lowe’s and IKEA all offer similar options. On a recent Sunday afternoon I visited all four stores to shop for closet systems so I could compare the shopping experiences. THE CONTAINER STORE Overall Shopping Experience: I’ll admit from the start that I’m a bit crowd averse.
May 5, 2019
Renovation Resource: 9 Sources for Antique & Reproduction Hardware
With some rehabs you want to strip away all the years and start over with clean, modern space. With others, you want stay true to the home’s original design period. For those times, there are stores out there that offer antique and reproduction hardware and lighting. These are a few of our favorites. House of Antique Hardware This Portland, Oregon-based company stocks everything from door and window hardware to lighting and electrical supplies ranging from Colonial to Mid-Century.
May 5, 2019
Before & After: Andrew’s Long Time Coming Bungalow Kitchen Update
When I shot Andrew’s Vintage Berwyn Bungalow house tour, the kitchen was in the early stages of being torn apart for a rehab. It took almost two years but Andrew finally put the finishing touches on his new kitchen and is ready to share it with the world. Before I show you the “after” photos, let’s take one more look at the dated old kitchen that Andrew inherited when he bought his house: Those cabinets! That ceiling fan! Oof!
May 5, 2019
Before & After: Chicago’s FLOR Store Gets a Makeover
Back in 2009, FLOR launched this Lincoln Park location as their first foray into brick and mortar retail. Since then, FLOR has launched stores in a number of other cities across the country. Now they’re turning their attention back to home base and giving their Chicago store a new look. The new layout feels more modern while also giving the store a homier vibe.  Gone are the old white concrete floors and walls lined with tiny samples.
May 5, 2019
AJ & Alex’s Eclectic Shabby Chic Queens Apartment
Name: AJ, Alex, Ira (the pug) and Dudley (the cat)Location: Astoria — Queens, New YorkSize: 580 square feetYears lived in: 9 months — rented We got our first peek at Alex and AJ’s apartment when we pointed out their bedroom before and after. Now, the couple are sharing their entire apartment with us. With the scant 580 square feet they have to work with, AJ and Alex have packed a lot of whollop into their space.
Apr 14, 2019
Tips for Keeping a Clutter-Free Kitchen
With the rise in open space floorplans, having a neat and tidy kitchen has become increasingly important. If not kept in check, kitchen clutter can soon take over the entire space. And a cluttered kitchen is a sure fire path to frequent take-out ordering. Here are tips for keeping your kitchen clutter-free and ready for meal prep.• Keep the countertops clear – Coffee maker, toaster, mixer, blender … so many little appliances, so little space.
Mar 12, 2019
4 Tips for Getting In & Out of IKEA Faster
There’s no question about it, IKEA is a great resource for affordable and stylish furnishings, but it can can sometimes feel like a hassle to shop at the Swedish retailer’s stores, especially when you are in a hurry. After spending some time at one of their stores this weekend, I have a few tips to help you get in and out faster.1. Pre-plan your trip.
Feb 24, 2019
Let Your Inner Neatnik Out of the Closet: Storage & Organizational Tools
A cluttered and disorganized closet can be a test of patience … not to mention a real hazard. If you’ve ever experienced an overflowing closet, like an avalanche of stuff when you open the door, you know what I’m talking about. Over the past year we wrote a number of posts to help you release your inner neatnik — here are 10 of our favorites.
Feb 24, 2019
Park It: Small Space Bike Storage Solutions
That chill in the evening air means that autumn is breathing down our necks. The approach of colder weather might mean it’s time to park the bicycle indoors for the season. If you’re short on space but still want to bring your wheels indoors, perhaps one of these storage solutions will be the right fit.
Feb 24, 2019
One Dresser, Eight Ways: The Endlessly Adaptable IKEA Rast
The IKEA Rast dresser seems to be the DIYer’s favorite project. And why not? At $35 a pop, the Rast is a small investment that, as you can see, can be dressed up in an endless array of ways… • Naomi at Design Manifest gave her Rasts an Asian inspired update. The finished pieces look like high end Asian chests. Here’s a second Rast hack from Design Manifest, this one with an emerald green paint job and vinyl ostrich-inspired fabric adhered to the fronts.
Aug 8, 2014
Before & After: Anna’s DIY Custom Closet
While Anna’s mid-century house has a fair share of closets, they weren’t exactly outfitted to store much stuff. Faced with the predicament of storing two young boys’ clothes and other belongings, Anna decided to build out the closet herself.A lot of us have faced a similar problem with our own closets — one measly shelf and a long hanging clothes bar do not exactly make the base for an organized closet.
Jan 4, 2013
Joe & Brad’s Small Space with Big Style
Name: Brad and Joe, plus Lilly (dog) and Olivia (cat) Location: East Lakeview — Chicago, Illinois Size: 420 square feet Years lived in: 3 years; Owned Brad and Joe’s Lakeview apartment is a wonderful lesson in making the most of a small space. This 420 square foot apartment is home to two men, one sizable dog and a cat — and yet it actually feels spacious, clutter-free and comfortable. Joe and Brad have made great use of every inch of space in their small apartment.
Sep 4, 2012
Bert & David’s LEGO Loving Style
Name: Bert Fox & David Pickett + Sophie the PugLocation: West Lakeview, Chicago, IllinoisSize: 830 square feetYears lived in: 1 year, 10 months; Rented When Bert and David rented their first apartment together, they enlisted the assistance of a friend and interior designer to help them turn it into a home. With a mix of vintage furniture and rich colors, they’ve managed to turn a standard issue Chicago apartment into a comfortable and stylish home.
Aug 2, 2012
Elizabeth & Brent’s Rented Luxury
Name: Elizabeth Krueger & Brent SandersLocation: Ukrainian Village — Chicago, IllinoisSize: 1,250 square feetYears lived in: 1.5 years — rented The downturn in the housing market has left many high end, new construction apartments and condos sitting empty.
Mar 26, 2012
Lizzie’s Wallpapered IKEA Lack Table
With a $20 price tag and simple design, the Lack table from IKEA is just screaming for customization. Ssshh … listen carefully. Can you hear it? Please, dear DIY diva, take me from a cookie cutter cheap-o table to a beautiful, one-of-a-kind piece of furniture! Lucky for you, little table, Lizzie heard your pleas. Oh, humble IKEA Lack coffee table. How we do love to see what clever DIYers can do to enhance your simple little design.
Jan 27, 2012
Steve & Stacey’s Vintage-Inspired DIY Modern Apartment
Name: Steve Reidell and Stacey MarquardtLocation: Humboldt Park — Chicago, IllinoisSize: 1200 square feetYears lived in: 3 — rented At the risk of sounding creepy, I am enamored with Steve and Stacey and their amazing style. Not only do they both have cool jobs, theyalso live in this fabulously decorated vintage apartment. Plus, Stacey is a DIY Queen — a girl after my own heart! What is not to love?! Steve is a DJ and the man behind The Hood Internet.
Nov 8, 2011
Jess’s Lovely Lakeview Apartment
Name: Jess ConstableLocation: East Lakeview — Chicago, IllinoisSize: 725 square feetYears lived in: 1 year — rented Jess has striven to turn her plain-Jane rental into a lovely comfortable home. Along the way, she often referred back to Summer Thornton’s house tour, which we posted way back in 2008. (Further proof that traditional elegant style is timeless.) Jess is one busy lady.
Oct 24, 2011
Before & After: Steph’s Customized Roller Blind
We just love simple solutions to customize everyday items. In this case, the item in question is a simple roller blind. Take a look at how Steph dressed up the blind after the jump…Steph, from BirdHouse, painted this tree silhouette on the IKEA Enje roller blind in her bathroom. This is a fun way to create a one-of-a-kind window treatment. If you like the project but think you lack the artist’s touch, you could also stencil a pattern onto a roller blind.
Oct 10, 2011
Before & After: Dressing Up a White Box Apartment
Jen and her boyfriend recently moved into this standard grad school apartment and immediately got to work making it their own. This before and after is a true testament to the fact than even the most boring of apartments can be spruced up with a bit of DIY know-how.It only took two weekends for Jen and her boyfriend, Tim, to put together this stylish living room.
Sep 23, 2011
Before & After: Melinda Ann’s Dressed Up Office Chair
We’re all very familiar with these little black office chairs. They’re super convenient for a home office but they’re certainly lacking in the style department. Take a cue from Mindy and dress up an office chair with just a little fabric and a staple gun…Melinda Ann had actually relegated this chair to the donation pile, where it was destined for a one-way trip to Goodwill. And then, at the last minute, inspiration struck.
Sep 16, 2011
Before & After: Natasha’s Effortlessly Stylish Office
Jen emailed us a link to the office she dressed up for her friend Natasha. As a rising star in fashion PR, Natasha needs a space that exudes simple style. So over a weekend, Jen turned Natasha’s sad space into a stylish office. AFTER! Jen describes herself on her blog as a DIY enthusiast who is “gradually turning into an Asian Martha Stewart”. So it’s no surprise that when her friend Natasha needed help dressing up her fashion PR office, she turned to Jen.
Sep 12, 2011