Name: Sarah Beckett, my husband Colin Beckett, Sweet Dee a 6-year-old tabby cat, and Gayle Force Winds, a tabby/bangle mix kitten. As well as 80-ish houseplants (mostly foliage plants).
Location: Albany Park — Chicago, Illinois
Size: Under 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years, owned
My husband and I spent many years renting in the Logan Square area of Chicago. When we first moved into that neighborhood it was very different from where it is today. As the neighborhood changed, we realized it was time for us to make a change as well. I had been working for a mortgage company going on eight years and decided it was time we looked into owning our own first home.
As with many first time homeowners we really didn't know what we were looking for in a new home. Our apartment had been really special to us though. It was an old house divided into apartments with a lot of quirks or rules such as don't turn this light on while that appliance is running or you'll blow a fuse for you and your neighbor kind of quirks. While that was fine for our apartment, we did know we wanted a place that was move-in ready and didn't require a lot of work, but we also didn't want what seemed to be the theme for all recently remodeled homes (those grey walls with grey tile backsplashes and dark fake wood floors—it was and is everywhere!). We also appreciated an open flow; many homes in Chicago can be narrow hallways. We, or maybe I should say I, also wanted something bright to accommodate my growing houseplant collection.
Honestly I believe we only looked at about five condos before we found ours. It has a real cozy feel to it, but isn't dark at all. It is on the third floor of a three story walk up and gets amazing light from the west, north and east. It is a two-bedroom, two-full bath condo with two balconies. There isn't a dark corner in the place, but it's also not stark and unwelcoming. Our cats love the views from above with all the windows.
My husband has an upgraded (at least to us) kitchen, and I have lots of light for my plants. Once we moved in it didn't take us long to unpack. A lot of our pieces have found us over time. We have a vintage bright yellow lounge from our grandparents that has a twin at my husbands studio or artwork from friends mixed with our own. Since Colin works as a photographer at Crate and Barrel we have a few pieces from past shoots. Actually most of the wall colors were leftover paint from shoots as well. And of course there are the plants.
What is your favorite room and why? The living room. It's funny to say so much living has happened in the living room, but in the short time we've lived in our home we experienced a lot and generally faced it together while being in the living room. It's the heart of our small home. It is also where most of our plants are collected and where the best light comes. Its fascinating to watch how this room changes through seasons and lighting.
What's the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The last thing we bought was of course a plant! A giant Chinese Fan Palm. Beyond plants though, a friend of ours has drawn a great series of little houses we love. So we commissioned him to draw one of our old apartment house. We went through a lot of life events there and it's great to have a piece to memorialize those times in our new place. If we move I would certainly commission one of our condo building as well.
Any advice for creating a home you love? Beyond just filling your home with pieces you love, having friends or artist create custom pieces for you helps make the items you surround yourself with that much more special. I would really encourage reaching out to artist you admire for unique pieces for your home.
Also, get a plant or two (real or fake—I won't hate on fake plants if that's your jam). They really help to bring up the energy of a room and boost your mood.
Thanks, Sarah Beckett!
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