Brice & Ilene’s Chicago Getaway

published Oct 5, 2014
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(Image credit: Heather Blaha)

Name: Brice & Ilene Bloom-Ellis
Location: Lincoln Square, Chicago, IL
Size: 600 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years; owned

Brice and Ilene are two social workers from St. Louis, where they have a home filled with memories of raising a family, many of their favorite objects, and plenty of space. But, finding themselves in Chicago hotels way too often (Brice travels to Chicago regularly for work), these mid-century lovers began exploring real estate on a small scale. They found beautiful potential in a one bedroom condo from the 1920s, on a quiet street in Lincoln Square, and whipped it into shape with some paint, antique shopping, and a major kitchen overhaul.

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(Image credit: Heather Blaha)

The first step in lightening and brightening this home away from home was shifting from an overbearing warm cream color scheme throughout the apartment to Behr’s Manhattan Mist (with white painted trim). The condo quickly became a labor of love, in the simplest way: Brice and Ilene selected only the few items they need to live comfortably, beautifully and functionally — a few times a month. And just because these two are good at keeping things simple doesn’t mean that things are at all boring: you’ll find a vintage diaper table used for a bar cart, Bakelite fruit on the dining table, as well as some fun ceramic pieces like a pink flamingo on the mirror’s ledge and a stunning utensil holder in the kitchen. The kitchen was completely redone, with the final decorative touch of sweet curtains made by Brice and Ilene’s daughter, owner of the Etsy shop Bloom and Belle.

(Image credit: Heather Blaha)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Mid-century modern.

Inspiration: Memories from our childhoods.

Favorite Element: We love the entire condo—it’s incredibly cozy, sort of a retreat for us.

Biggest Challenge: Renovating on weekends since Ilene was living and working in St. Louis.

What Friends Say: They love it and are amazed by the transformation.

Biggest Embarrassment: When we bought the condo, it was totally cream — every room, all the walls, ceilings, woodwork, curtains. And the kitchen was very strange. It had a non-working washer/dryer that you accessed by lifting up the countertop that was tucked away behind the refrigerator.

Proudest DIY: The total transformation of the condo and that we did it ourselves (except for the kitchen).

Biggest Indulgence: The kitchen redo.

Best Advice: Look for a great deal with potential. The condo had been on the market for quite a while, probably because it didn’t show well. Except for the kitchen, it just needed paint for a totally different look.

Dream Source: It would be a dream to have my own mid-century modern antique store.

(Image credit: Heather Blaha)

Resources of Note:


Behr paint — Manhattan Mist (entry, living room, dining room); Clam Chowder (kitchen); Reflecting Pool (bedroom); Gray Matters (bathroom)


  • Light/fan—Gyro
  • Chairs—Rocket Century, St. Louis
  • Couch—Edgewater Antique Mall, Chicago
  • Table between chairs—Edgewater Antique Mall
  • Table next to couch—Edgewater Antique Mall
  • Coffee table—Broadway Antique Mall, Chicago
  • Floor lamp—Found, Chicago
  • Table lamps—Century Chicago
  • Peacock picture—Edgewater
  • Chicago print—BAM
  • Mirror—Found
  • Breakfront for TV—Edgewater
  • Carpet—Volume Carpet, St. Louis
  • Yellow tray—Rocket Century
  • Wall stars—Century Chicago
  • Picture by couch—BAM
  • Pillows—etsy
  • Nicknacks—etsy and various antique stores


  • Table—BAM
  • Chairs—ebay
  • Bar (old diaper table), Desk lamp—Found
  • Desk, Mirror, Glass fruit with Bakelite leaves—Edgewater Antique Market
  • Light—Warson Woods Antique Gallery, St. Louis
  • Wine picture—winery in Santa Barbara


  • Cabinets—Ikea
  • Appliances—Sears
  • Floor tile—Century Tile
  • Counters—Corian Rain Cloud, Home Depot
  • Chef picture—Midwestern Arts and Antiques, Chicago
  • Chicago picture—gift from my sister
  • Legs picture—art fair in St. Louis
  • Curtains—made by my daughter, Aryn Rehbein. She has an etsy shop that makes children’s clothing and other children’s items at Bloom and Belle and a blog (
  • Utensil holder—made by a co-worker in St. Louis, Carmelita Nunez, who is a ceramic artist, Kung Fu Chicken


  • Furniture—Rocket Century, St. Louis 2 pieces of the set are in our guest bedroom in St. Louis, the bed and dresser are in Chicago
  • Bedside table—antique mall in Decatur, IL
  • Erte scarf picture and Erte poster picture—Euphoria, Chicago (
  • Dancer picture—street fair in Miami Beach
  • Lamp—etsy
  • Slipper chairs—Highland Row Antique Mall, Atlanta (
(Image credit: Heather Blaha)

Thanks, Brice & Ilene!

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