Name: Catherine Brooks and Georgi Ivanov
Location: Humboldt Park; Chicago, IL
Size: 900 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years; rented
Catherine Brooks and Georgi Ivanov met in 2010 in graduate school at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts. They moved to Chicago in 2011 and married in their home in 2013. CASA VEDA, as they call their home, is also Catherine's creative wellness project. The sparsely furnished main space is adorned with art, yet left open on the floor for movement and gatherings.
Catherine is a printmaker and yoga instructor. She came to Richmond by way of San Francisco, where she worked at the premier American etching studio, Crown Point Press. As a Master Printer, Catherine has worked with many renowned artists including Mary Heilmann, Chris Ofili, and Amy Sillman, as well as authored a book on the technique of etching. Georgi is a photographer from Sofia, Bulgaria. He works independently as Ivanov Photography; assists for the most prominent American architectural photography company, Hedrich Blessing Photographers; and also shoots for Apartment Therapy.
Catherine teaches conscious awareness and creative participation in weekly mindful meditation and yoga classes. She also prepares flavorful, healthful plant-based meals for friends and clients, as well as works privately as a holistic caregiver.
The entry to their apartment begins in the kitchen, the hearth. Terracotta floor tiles create a warm glow, as do the two tall windows that flood the room with light. Pots of herbs are at hand for adding home-grown flavor to vegetarian dishes. Passage through the kitchen brings you to the centerpiece of the house, the joined living-dining space which is defined by a decorative wooden arch, faux-classical pillars and a large built-in framed mirror. With a bay window and east and south facing windows, the entire space shines. Off of the main room/s are two small rooms, one for sleeping, one for studying.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Our style is minimal-modern design meets eccentric craft, folk art and multi-culti decor.
Inspiration: We are both artists and we believe in blending our creative practices with our home environment and daily activities. Every furnishing has multiple functions, which is necessary, as our space fluxes regularly from home to yoga studio to art and photography studio. To add vibrant color for inspiring creative growth, at the edges of our wide-open space, we have curated a collection of art, objects and plants, placed on windowsills and walls.
Favorite Element: The best feature of our place is living on a corner apartment with many windows. In the summer the trees on the street give our home a tree house effect with verdant shade and in the winter the bare branches give us unobstructed light.
Biggest Challenge: This is by far the most spacious apartment we have lived in but the downside is old appliances and no dishwasher.
What Friends Say: Friends always comment on the light, airy quality of our apartment and the original woodwork pillars and framed mirror in the living/dinning space. In general we keep the floor space open and that allows for the simple beauty of the space to show without pretension.
Biggest Embarrassment: The entry to our place is really plain and anonymous and the shared stairs are pretty funky.
Proudest DIY: We recently designed and built custom furniture with the help of our friend Emily Winter. We sourced the wood from the Rebuilding Exchange and made six rolling cubes. These multiple objects have multiple functions; they hold our books below and also serve as rolling benches; when joined they form a low table.
Biggest Indulgence: When we were living in Virginia we splurged on an antique walnut dinning table. The piece has endearing, unique flaws which catalog thousands of meals upon its surface. It also folds down to form a narrow sideboard.
Best Advice: We are not extreme minimalists but our domestic philosophy is to get rid of excess stuff, what we call "stuffness." It's our choice and advice to get rid of comforts that support inertia, like sofas, and instead to sit on the floor; draw and dance in the space the couch once occupied.
Dream Sources: We love to travel and have both lived in and visited incredible cities of the world. From places like Bulgaria, France, Portugal and Peru we have collected a handful of meaningful objects that imbue our space with beauty and good memories. It may seem odd to others but we find it fun combining ornate Peruvian weavings with Bulgarian pottery, geometric design, organic objects and contemporary art.
Resources of Note:
PAINT & COLORS
- Etchings and drawings by Catherine Brooks
- Mural photo print by Georgi Ivanov
- Rolling bench/bookshelves designed by Catherine Brooks and built by
Emily Winter. Wood sourced from the Rebuilding Exchange, Chicago, IL
- Pottery by artist from Creativity Explored, San Francisco, CA
- Red Yoga mats by Manduka
- Print by Mary Heilmann
- Print by Chris Ofili
- Antique walnut table from Virgina
- Ceramic fermentation crock by Harsch Gairtopf
- Ceramic Bulgarian pottery by Malincho Euro Market & Deli in Des Plains, IL
- Radio by Tivoli Audio
- Drawing by Roger While
- Painting by Kaitlin McDonough
- Unique hand-colored print by Amy Sillman
- Silk quilt painting by Catherine Brooks
(Images: Georgi Ivanov)
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