This Bookish Chicago Home Is Filled With Art from All Over the World

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Square feet
Sq ft
A glass dining table in a large tan dining room
Our dining room has the best light in the apartment. Our most recent addition was a marble-topped credenza from River Otter, a nearby vintage furniture/ art shop.

Name: Abby Reimer; husband, Christian; and pampered and fierce chihuahua mix, Alfie
Location: Ukrainian Village — Chicago, Illinois
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 1350 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, renting

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Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I’m a product director at an agency and Christian is an ophthalmology resident. Our home is a classic Chicago apartment on the third floor of a three-flat greystone. We decided to rent it for the extra-tall ceilings, abundant natural light, and layout that’s perfect for hosting friends and family.

I found this painting at Brown Elephant, a Chicago thrift-store that funds a health clinic for LGBTQ and uninsured Chicagoans. It’s one of my favorite art pieces in the apartment.

While I’ve always loved interior design and putting together a beautiful space, the pandemic really solidified the importance of creating different “zones” for different parts of your life. My office and (amateur) art studio is simple and colorful. Our living room is filled with books and records. Our dining room is set up for hosting and features more formal art and decor. Our bedroom is cozy and pulls in darker, more dramatic colors and textures. Our kitchen is minimalist and set up for cooking for a crowd.

This built-in shelving unit is in the hallway between our dining room and kitchen. I covered the sides with marble contact paper to spruce it up a bit. It’s a great place to show off fancy china (passed down from family or found at estate sales) and cookbooks.

Each room is a mix of thrifted furniture and art, family hand-me-downs, and cherished gifts from friends.

At least once a week, one of us comments on how much we love our apartment. It continues to bring so much joy.

I found this painting in a thrift store in Southeast Michigan. It brings together the deep-red Afghan rug, Haitian paintings, and blue chair in our bedroom.

Our apartment reflects our families and travels, with art and decor from Haitian, Chilean, Midwestern, and Southern makers.

I’ve filled our bathroom with prints and my own paintings. I splurged on some matching containers from The Container Store, which really brought everything together!

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or fewer: Art-filled, bookish, curated, historic, eclectic.

My dining table was a hand-me-down from my older sister. I found this rug in a thrift shop in North Carolina.

What is your favorite room and why? Our dining room is the entry point to our home and full of our favorite things. It’s filled with art: a mix of thrifted prints, oil paintings, and Instagram photos dressed up in fancy frames. Every item in the room sparks joy — from a set of Torstein Nilsen chairs I found in an antique store in Southwest Michigan, to an oil painting my parents purchased while living in Chile, to a decanter-and-sherry-glass set Christian fell in love with at The Stoop, a great vintage shop in our neighborhood. The dining room is also the heart of our monthly dinner parties with friends and family.

I love to cook, so this spacious kitchen was a major draw to renting our apartment.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? We purchased the rattan chairs in our living room from Redefined Decor, an incredible vintage store in our neighborhood. We love them!

Any advice for creating a home you love? Treat your home like a museum! Rotate or move art and stage your favorite decor in different ways. Paying attention to small details — how bottles are arranged on a bar cart or books are stacked on your coffee table — really makes a difference. It also helps you appreciate all your items.

Credit: Submitted by Abby Reimer

Second, whenever possible, buy secondhand. Not only is it more sustainable, but older furniture is also (usually) better quality. Buying from a local antique store, estate sales, or thrift shop helps you avoid shipping delays and add-on costs. Plus, it helps you bring in a mix of styles to your home.

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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