Chelsea & Sean's Eclectic Painted Home

Chelsea & Sean's Eclectic Painted Home

Meg Lewis
Nov 4, 2010

Name: Chelsea, Sean & Bella the Cat
Location: Lincoln Park — Chicago, Illinois
Size: 1,200 square feet
Years lived in: 5 months — rented

There is no secret that Chelsea & Sean love to paint — from their bright living room to the majestic portrait of broccoli located in the kitchen; paint is a centerpiece in this couple's home. Furniture carefully painted by hand is located throughout this home peppered with beautiful "found" vintage pieces. It's obvious how much effort has gone into an apartment that has only been lived in for a mere 5 months.

Walking through their home, I couldn't believe how much I had in common with Chelsea and Sean. We shared a similar love for literature and Woody Allen films. Their decor was vaguely reminiscent of my own apartment and their color scheme was almost dead on. They seemed to be embarrassed by how much of their furniture and decor was from Target. I couldn't believe that their home was stocked with mass-produced Target pieces, It all looked so unique and original. It's amazing what a few vintage, thrifted pieces can do for a space filled with Target and IKEA.

Chelsea and Sean's apartment is a fantastic example of how we can spruce up our homes for a low price. A good portion of their furniture is recycled pieces from their childhood, repainted and paired with new knobs. This couple obviously had fun covering their walls and furniture surfaces with unique papers. They even found a great way to show off Sean's photography throughout their home and were able to double the guest room as a studio.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Comfortable, creative, & kitschy

Inspiration: Design blogs, paper goods, vintage photographs, Apartment Therapy, fashion. I think our ultimate goal is creating a space that's our own, by bringing our own artwork in and also art pieces and objects that bring us happiness.

Favorite Element: Probably our frame wall. Not because its a particularly interesting or creative design concept, but more-so because we're still relatively new to the city, and having photos that we've taken of our friends and family brings in a little bit of familiarity and warmth to our new space.

Biggest Challenge: Placement. Because it's an old home(built in the early 1900s) the rooms are small and the placement of things like outlets, pipes, radiators, doors, etc have made decorating interesting.

What Friends Say: I think they think it's comfortable and warm; I vaguely remember someone saying something about how it feels like Grandma's? You know, but a little more hip.

Biggest Embarrassment: I think it's a tie between the bars on (some) of the windows and our unfortunate kitchen cabinets and powder blue countertops. Yikes!

Proudest DIY: I think one of our biggest DIY projects was figuring out what to do with the hallway. It's a big space, and we wanted it to still have a flow between the rooms. Because we're renting, we didn't want to take the effort to put up/take down wallpaper, so we decided to get a fun, printed paper from Paper-Source and "tile" it on the wall. We wanted to keep it simple, so we just tacked it up. We needed some extra storage space so we used a dresser to set our record player/records on, and have the added space to keep extra blankets, towels, and misc. items. The dresser was a little boring too, so we also decoupaged the top with a map print.

Biggest Indulgence: We didn't really splurge on much in the apartment, but one thing that we purchased that we didn't entirely need was our red couch from Ikea. We used to have a small, green vintage couch, but it wasn't entirely functional. Our new couch can seat a lot of people when friends are in town, it's comfortable, and I had wanted a bright red couch for a long time. It's also great because the cover can be changed once I no longer feel like red!

Best Advice: I think our best advice is to be creative in your space, by using your own style to give it life, but also be creative in how you spend and how you shop. Reinventing old furniture, using vintage prints and objects, it can all be simple ways to decorate on a budget.

Dream Sources: Anthropologie, Design Within Reach, CB2

Resources of Note:


    • sofa: IKEA
    • crocheted blanket: Urban Outfitters
    • throw pillows: Target
    • truck: Target
    • Taming of the Shrew poster: Chelsea's work
    • glitter skull: Target
    • frames: thrifted
    • desk: IKEA
    • desk chair: IKEA
    • cordless 'vintage' telephone: Pottery Barn
    • floral mugs (on bookshelf): Anthropologie


    • 'wallpaper': Paper Source
    • dresser: vintage, from parents
    • record player: Urban Outfitters
    • photographs: Sean's photography
    • record holder (vintage travel case): Two-Sided
    • green sign: Two-Sided
    • lamp: Target
    • paper on dresser: Paper Source


    • bulldog piece: hand-made by us
    • floral coverlet: Urban Outfitters
    • quilt: IKEA
    • side table: Urban Outfitters
    • lamp: Target
    • clock: Target
    • camera collection: vintage and collected from family & friends


    • island/chairs: IKEA
    • rooster tea towel: Anthropologie
    • "Fat Gives Things Flavor" print: Kantan Designs
    • oven mitt: Anthropologie
    • mixer: KitchenAid
    • lemonade kitchen mat: Target
    • glasses: Anthropologie
    • broccoli painting: Chelsea's work
    • measuring cups: Anthropologie


    • white/gray floral bedding: IKEA
    • dark gray quilt: Urban Outfitters
    • six-drawer dresser: IKEA
    • lamp: Target
    • "You Gotta Give to Get Back" print: Eduardo Recife
    • Woody Allen "Sleeper" print: eBay
    • white banner: Hip Hooray
    • floral curtain: Urban Outfitters
    • side table: Target
    • nightstand: vintage, from parents
    • brain print: Blick Art Supplies
    • cardboard deer head: Two-Sided
    • painting: vintage, thrifted
    • skeleton tray: Two-Sided
    • balloon wall woodcut: vintage
    • dog bank: Rudy's Roundup
    • vintage alarm clock: Rudy's Roundup

Thanks Chelsea & Sean!

Images: Sean Cook

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