This Chicago Apartment is Filled With Cool and Trendy Furniture… and a Lot of It is DIY

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A Calcutta marble pedestal I designed (Garrett Schmitt for Self-Assembly, we'll say) and built next to a decidedly out of date Hillary pillow.

Name: Garrett Schmitt and husband
Location: Chicago
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 1,300 square feet
Years lived in: 11 months, renting

Our era-crossing listener's lounge featuring a vintage desk (Vintage Quest) and Milo Baughman chair (DialM).

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: Nesting and nurturing the warmth of our home has become a favorite hobby of my husband and I since we moved to Chicago last Halloween. Far more than in our native San Francisco, the ability to do (and excitement for) vintage shopping at reasonable prices is alive and well in Chicago. Every city has its own architectural history and design; here, it extends not just to the creation of things, but the reverence and fandom of things. We fell into that well as soon as we got here and have only gone further in since.

Some Areaware balancing blocks atop a vintage Eileen Gray table (Circa Modern) prefacing the view into our guest room.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Mishmash, Sculptural, Surrealist when possible

Lilac marble table I built designed by my friend Ian Anderson for his project, Self-Assembly.

What is your favorite room and why? The Schmitt & Boerigter Foodery and Crumb Emporium (dining room) because we’ve been able to inject the most style statements into it, through six completely unique chairs, lighting, and art. It feels like eating in the world’s smallest gallery.

Our favorite new lamps (DialM) atop a parsons table (also DialM).

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? Two hand-hammered milk glass lamps from our favorite vintage store DialM for Modern. Contrary to my closing note, these two were lighting up a credenza for months and caught our eyes anew every time we popped in. We took it as a sign and finally decided to nab them.

We named this lamp Quacks Lightmouth (DialM).

Any advice for creating a home you love? Be realistic about cost and how much income you are willing to put towards style (versus, say, saving to own a home). Vintage shopping can be great for this: you set a budget, center your design chakra, and begin the hunt. Typically it’s a buy it or forget it scenario, because it will be gone the next time you go back. It teaches you to trust your design instincts in the moment and fixate less on online images of the new. It’s more about patina, placement, and timelessness.

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