This Chicago Apartment’s Gallery Wall (and Honestly the Whole Art Collection) Is Incredible

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Credit: Alex Ingram

Name: Alex Ingram
Location: River North — Chicago, Illinois
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 1300 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, renting

Credit: Alex Ingram
Entryway alcove with contrasting landscapes

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: The building itself is a factory conversion typical of Chicago spaces — a brick and timber loft with great details, including wooden ceilings and heavy timber support beams.

Credit: Alex Ingram
Vintage side table from Dial M for Modern, and 1920s lithographic Italy Travel poster

I’m a working professional, however I buy and sell art and antiquities as a passion, and have made an effort to build my work-from-home oasis the past two years as I transition to nearly full-time work from home. I have a soft spot for post-impressionist French art, which is the cornerstone of my collection, however I have works ranging from Barbizon landscapes to contemporary, neo-expressionist figurative works. Most of my friends and guests refer to my home as my “museum,” however I strive to make the space functional, accessible, and relaxing so that friends and family always have a spot to stop by downtown.

Credit: Alex Ingram
Abundant sunlight and a view of the city

I’m passionate about 19th and 20th century French art, but spend just as much time fiddling with furniture, textiles, and decor on a near-daily basis. My art collection is generally the “center” of my design, however a mix of modern and antique furniture, ranging from Gabriella Crespi nightstands, to a 17th century wooden and iron Indian door turned into a coffee table, to big, structural sofas and side tables help to bring together a warm and comfy living space. I struggle with taking risks, as do many, and find myself generally opting for warm, neutral colors (off-white, ochre, amber, wood tones) as a foundation to play with shapes, textures, and patterns. Jute rugs, boucle, ornate frames, and varying wood tones help tie together the design and blend old and new.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Antique, Art-centric, Warm, European, Loft

Credit: Alex Ingram
Living room and main gallery wall

What is your favorite room and why? I find myself working from my living room sofa beneath my main gallery wall more often than not. Ample views of the city and light, as well as a wide view of art from across periods helps me relax and enjoy the space. I also enjoy seeing how guests use the space and where they gravitate. Some design choices — such as the absence of a formal dining space, are great ways to involve guests in using and building the space by moving chairs around, side tables, and other accessories.

Credit: Alex Ingram
Lounge area with antique 17th century Indian door-turned coffee table

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The last item I bought was a moody Barbizon painting by Jules Dupre from the late 19th century. I went through a lengthy process to restore and reframe the work with local conservators, and it’s now proudly hanging in the living area alongside a romantic British landscape and a jewel-toned pointillist work by Lucien Neuquelman. The three together tell a great story — three distinct styles of painting all within a few decades, each of which was both loved and derided in its time.

Credit: Alex Ingram
Bedroom, including an interior by Jean Sardi, and engravings by Picasso and Paul-Émile Pissarro.

Any advice for creating a home you love? I began enjoying the design process more and more as I made decisions with conviction that are perhaps unconventional. Your space needs to function for you and how you want to enjoy it, and it should reflect your personality as well. Covering walls with art a la Gertrude Stein, embracing asymmetry, and eschewing a formal dining area were all decisions that others may not love, but help make my space definitively mine. I enjoy seeing spaces that have personality and decisions I don’t understand, as they serve as a window into the designer’s imagination, and serve as inspiration for others.

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity. Share Your Style: House Tour & House Call Submission Form