Fans of Vintage Bathrooms Will Love the Pink One in This Warm Chicago Rental Apartment

published Apr 16, 2020

Fans of Vintage Bathrooms Will Love the Pink One in This Warm Chicago Rental Apartment

published Apr 16, 2020
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Name: Sarah Crowley and Jeff Marini
Location: Ravenswood Neighborhood — Chicago, Illinois
Size: 1600 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, renting

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Apartment Therapy’s photographers are sheltering in place at their homes like the rest of us, so it’s an opportunity for them to photograph their stylish apartments and houses! Today, see inside the warm rental home of Chicago-based photographer Sarah Crowley, who shares this place with her partner, Jeff Marini, also a photographer.

“When we saw this apartment we were really drawn to the built-in wood elements, high ceilings, and that it was a corner lot,” writes Sarah. “I also loved some of the smaller details like the door handles and how pretty the radiators are. Since we were planning to use the dining area space as a photo studio we were thrilled with all the natural light it got. Jeff and I are both photographers, but we work from home often, so ideally we wanted a three bedroom to each have our own offices. During the warmer months we enjoy being on our porch drinking and grilling. Having an outdoor space that’s yours in the city has been such a quality of life improvement for both of us.” 

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our  Style: We just moved in together this past year and it’s been a bit of a lesson in trying to blend both of our styles. Luckily we like a lot of the same things! Jeff prefers darker woods and neutrals, prioritizing function and the way something fits in a room over style, although he cares about the latter, too. I react more to how things feel visually than spatially. I fall somewhere in the middle of modern and traditional, but above all prioritize comfort. 

Inspiration: Jeff loves the color blue and I love green. We’ve added a lot of blue in with decor elements and plants for green. Jeff loves the understated design of the Chateau Marmont rooms. I love the warm, farmhouse vibes of Tuscan interiors and also clean and airy California homes.

Favorite Element: The high ceilings and built-in wood elements. 

Biggest Challenge: In no particular order:

  • The apartment structurally has a lot of built-in wood and most of our furniture is wood, too. It was hard for me to wrap my head around all the different types and shades of wood we had going on at first. I would like to bring some lighter colors, metals, and maybe stone in eventually.
  • Hanging art. The ceilings are very high so a lot of our art just doesn’t look right in the space. At first I found it hard to not just hang everything up, especially the art that I have a sentimental connection to that’s made by friends or family. 
  • The bathroom. Oh boy! Some people love it, but we wouldn’t be sad if it was different. It just has a lot going on. The pink and black tile and the ornate wood vanity don’t go together. I’ve been reading about painting tile but part of me feels bad changing it. I think if the black tile were white it could be a lot nicer. If you’re wondering why there’s a recession in the wall, that is for a tissue box and it has a cute little metal cover, but now I use it to store perfume. Someone recently told me I should approach the bathroom decor elements with some maximalism/Art Deco vibes and I think that could be cool instead of fighting it.

Proudest DIY: Recently I stripped and stained a thrift store table that’s in the living room. I also made frames for those two bedroom tapestry prints because they were warped. Overall because we rent we haven’t invested too much in the apartment structurally. I would really love to have a place I can paint in the future!

Biggest Indulgence: Jeff has the whole apartment set-up with Hue bulbs. Not only are they dimmable and controllable via smartphone but they turn on at a certain time of day and when we come home. 

What’s your best home secret? I’m trying to be less impulsive (huge sucker for a sale!) and resist buying furniture online because it’s a good price, vs getting what I actually want. Since I’m on a budget, that usually means having to get something secondhand, but that also means I get something higher quality and closer in design to what I really wanted. 

I know it can feel a bit daunting to rent a U-Haul vs the convenience of having something arrive on your doorstep, but it’s so inexpensive especially if you have a lot of pieces you can get in one day. Sometimes if people are moving they have other things they’re getting rid of too that aren’t listed, so I always ask. I got that large plant in the dining room for free when we bought our grill because the couple was moving cross country and had to get rid of everything that day. If someone is moving I click on their profile (especially if their house looks cute) because chances are they’re selling other good stuff that they have to get rid of ASAP. Craigslist is also a great spot for finding rare and mature plants at a good price.




  • Leather Couch — Costco 
  • Coffee + End Table — Ethan Allen/Facebook Marketplace
  • Large Floor Lamp — Restoration Hardware/Facebook Marketplace
  • Blue Rug — RUGS USA
  • TV Console — Macys
  • Window Low Table — Restoration Hardware/Facebook Marketplace
  • Bookshelf — World Market/Facebook Marketplace
  • Small DIY Shelf — Thrift store
  • Leather Recliner — Macys/Facebook Marketplace
  • Photo Above Couch – Gift
  • White Planter — Target
  • Grey + Orange Planter — HomeGoods
  • Small Floor Lamp — IKEA
  • Magazine Rack — Estate Sale
  • Large Paper Light — IKEA


  • Table Legs — Etsy
  • Seamless Wall Mount — Amazon
  • Dining Chairs — Target
  • Dining Table — Gift
  • Rug — Pier 1
  • Small Cabinet — Family Heirloom
  • Lamp — Target
  • Cezane Print – Thrift Store
  • Wood Fruit — Estate Sale 


  • Chairs — Pottery Barn/Facebook Marketplace
  • Planters — TJ Maxx
  • Small Ceramic Cutting Pots — Amazon
  • Painting — Estate Sale



  • Desk — Auction
  • Chair — World Market
  • Glass Cabinet — IKEA 
  • Couch — Room & Board/Facebook Marketplace
  • Pillows — Pier 1
  • Couch Art — Vintage Pier 1/Family Heirloom
  • File Cabinet — CB2/Facebook Marketplace
  • Floor Lamp — Facebook Marketplace
  • Art — Family Heirloom
  • Art Above Door — Calabash Gifts
  • Paper Lights — IKEA



  • Wood Storage — TJMaxx
  • Shower Curtain — TJMaxx


  • Chairs — Crate + Barrel/Garage Sale
  • Table + Chairs — Facebook Marketplace
  • Outdoor Rug — Target 

Thanks Sarah and Jeff!