Chris and Azuree's Cozy 'n Chic in Chicago

Chris and Azuree's Cozy 'n Chic in Chicago

Joelle Alcaidinho
Oct 20, 2010

Name: Christopher and Azuree Wiitala
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Size: 12x15 feet (yes, you read that correctly)

When we spotted Chris and Azuree's apartment, we were awed by just how well they were able to organize their tiny space and make it a great place to live and work. Both Chris and Azuree work from home, Chris is a web designer and musician and Azuree is a photographer, so making their space function both as a home and workspace took some creativity. Forced to rethink traditional "home decorations" in favor of using the space to store essentials like guitars, cameras, and film, Chris and Azuree found a way to maximize their storage and work space without detracting from the comfort and coziness of their home and have created an inviting space to live and work.

AT Survey:

My/our style:
I would say our style is vintage inspired. We love to find little treasures at the thrift store and we are both always drawn to 60's modern furnishings for our little home. Even though we love technology and rely on it for work, we both rely on rather old technology for our art. Christopher just bought a tape machine to record his music on and I prefer to use older Polaroid and other film cameras for my personal photography as well.

The inspiration for my home office/home theater:
The inspiration for our home as far as work spaces go is definitely minimalist not only by choice but because we simply don't have a lot of space to leave things set up in. Christopher will sometimes write music on his laptop with his USB keyboard which is usually stowed away in our closet. When I scan in my Polaroids I have to pull the scanner out of our closet and set it up each time as well. We would both love to have dedicated spaces for these things but have to be efficient with the little work space we do have.

Favorite element in your space:
I think our favorite part of our space is probably our little entertainment center. Christopher loves to play his records while he builds websites and I love to play Doctor Mario on our old school Nintendo which hides along with our DVDs and Wii in our white cabinet.

Biggest challenge in designing my space:
I think the biggest challenge in designing our space is that it's shaped rather oddly. There aren't many options for the layout of our room. Our room also has to serve as our dining room, living room and bedroom all in one so we're a little limited with how we decorate.

What friends say about my space:
I think our friends are usually impressed with how many people we can pack into such a small space. We regularly have dinner and movie nights at our place with six people!

Area where there is room for improvement/future projects:
I want to make our loft bed a little more cozy. At the moment we just have a lamp up there and a little cabinet to put our glasses and cell phones on at night.

Proudest DIY (do it yourself) project:
I think my husband and I are pretty happy with the sliding closet doors that we made. The sliding doors allow us to have a shelf (which is decorative and practical) right next to it and still gives us room to access our clothes and the things we store in our closet. If we had normal pull out doors we would lose that shelf space.

Biggest indulgence with respect to my space:
There are little indulgences in our small apartment but I suppose it would be having our rabbits. They don't really take up too much space and make us really happy so it's nice to have pets even though we live in tiny quarters.

Best advice about organizing or incorporating tech into the home:
We have a lot of little electronics that have to be out in the open, like hard drives, printers, etc. We make sure to purchase ones that we think are cute and don't mind showing off. For instance, I bought Lego inspired 1TB hard drives from Lacie to back up my digital photo files on and don't mind that they are out in the open because they're so interesting! It's also important for us to make sure we hide our wires well not only because they can really make a space look cluttered but because our bunnies will chew on them!

Dream source for stuff:
Thrift stores! We love to find vintage stuff and we love bargains so our passions collide at the thrift store!


Home Tech Hardware:

  • (2) Apple laptops
  • Nintendo Wii
  • Nintendo SNES
  • United Audio Dual 1019 Turntable
  • Vintage cameras

We do a lot of our shopping at Ikea of course. You can't beat the price and there is one relatively close to us. I think the key is not to go too crazy at Ikea where your space might start to look like a show room of theirs. We have quite a bit of Ikea stuff but we try to mix the old with the new to keep it from looking stale and to carry our personalities.

We have an Ikea couch with storage underneath which is a big deal for us. We need all the storage we can get! Our table can fold down almost completely flat. It has to leaflets that can open up to make our table about 5 feet long. We love this, probably our favorite Ikea purchase yet. It also has six drawers built in which we love. Our orange chair was a thrift store find hand me down from a friend. Our white cabinet was also a gift from a friend. We really love the cabinet both for sentimental value and because we can store all of our dvd's and our video game systems in it.

My husband and I both have quite the collection of vintage cameras, globes and books that we like to decorate with. These are simple little things that we both love.

The light over our table is from Ikea. It was only $12 and really lights up the entire room. We have touch lighting under our loft and in our closet. I love that! It makes me feel like I'm controlling the light with magic.

Organizing Tools/Accessories:
In our room, hiding all of little things that could easily become clutter is key. We have two junk drawers for all those random do dads and then specific drawers for specific things like computer cables, film, cameras, headphones, etc.

Additional Elements:
When we first moved into our apartment we weren't sure we'd find a practical space for our rather large bunny cage. My fear was that it would end up in the middle of the room or just stick out somehow but it worked out rather well to put them under a shelf we built into our wall where you can hardly see the cage. The bunnies are always out when we're home so we're okay with having their home hidden since it isn't particularly cute.

(Thanks, Azuree!)

Photos by Azuree Wiitala

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