A Mural-Filled Chicago Rental Has One of the Best Plant Hanging Ideas We’ve Seen in A While

published Mar 8, 2021

A Mural-Filled Chicago Rental Has One of the Best Plant Hanging Ideas We’ve Seen in A While

published Mar 8, 2021
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Name: Asia Babbington, about 50 + house plants, and River the dog
Location: Pilsen neighborhood, Chicago, Illinois
Size: 1200 square feet
Type of Home: Two-bedroom apartment
Years lived in: 1 year and 4 months, renting

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Asia Babbington is the founder and designer of Salvaged Sanctuary, LLC and a licensed realtor with Area 606 Properties, LLC. She not only offers interior design services through Salvaged Sanctuary, but also metal fabrication, refurbished furniture design, and even help with incorporating plants into home design, all elements she has on full display in her gorgeous Pilsen rental apartment.

“After a breakup and living with a partner this place kind of magically found me. I knew I wanted to be in Pilsen, I had grown up spending time here and hearing about so much of the community-based history, the artists, the fabulous apartments (my mom’s words) along with visiting the museums yearly in elementary school. I went to see the place on a Wednesday night, signed the lease Thursday, moved in Friday, and left for LA for work on Sunday,” Asia describes.

“I immediately loved the open space concept and all of the windows. I had lived in a lot of traditional layouts with separate dining rooms or spaces and just liked the idea of creating rooms within a room without walls and knew that Pilsen was the place to find this. During the ’90s there were basically two landlords that owned a lot of properties in Pilsen (and still do own some), known for doing industrial loft style rehabs, often called “Pods” after the name of one of the owners. I was happy to have found a non-Pod with an open space concept. I often pass time by working on things in my apartment, letting my brain run wild with ideas both that I am not allowed to do (as I do not own) and others that I can do while renting. I also enjoy the morning light with a coffee and a juice and River cuddles or love to snuggle up and feel like I’m in a treehouse to watch a movie when I’m not working.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Collected, Funky, Worldly

Inspiration: Justina Blakeney, Kelly Wearstler, Afro-Cuban Jazz Coffee Shop/ Bar vibes, Los Angeles Moody Bungalow, Chicago Street Art, the desert, and my grandmother.

Favorite Element: The large zig mural hand painted by Ben Giska. Funny story, I had seen the zigs around and found the artist on Instagram, and one day I was aimlessly watching stories last summer and see a video with my apartment building in the background. I messaged and said “I think we’re neighbors…” I ended up going to a small outdoor BBQ/jam sesh that night and that’s how I met Ben and a whole lot of other artists/friends living in the community. It kind of solidified my love for not only Pilsen but how Chicago can be such an approachable place with meeting people, connecting, and later collaborating!

Biggest Challenge: Storage for a live/work and creative space. The right furniture pieces and taking time to really organize the kitchen and all closet spaces has been key. Living in Chicago cold-weather clothing can take up a chunk of storage — I had bought my large wardrobe from Nadeau while I was still working there and that has been the best piece to help out with closet space. I use my large trunk to swap clothes by season from the actual closet as well. My bedroom closet uses an IKEA organizer, and the pantry and office closet have shelving and items broken down into bins and containers. The kitchen is pretty small so having open/exposed shelving for items that are used daily made sense.

Proudest DIY: This is hard; I have a few. I tiled and grouted the kitchen backsplash (had a friend help with cutting and a little bit of the placing to make sure nothing slipped out of place). I created my spice, plant, and glass shelving over the kitchen window with two industrial grates I had grabbed from a construction site near Navy Pier years ago and then used a piece of flat stock steel to make the long shelf. I also built the console table, office desk, and dining room table base and benches myself.

Biggest Indulgence: Honestly my dining table top probably was the biggest indulgence and hell yes it was worth it! I love the piece but I also still have the base and will likely be creating another custom piece to sell from that!

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? I would say the most unique part is that about 90% of it is secondhand or hand-me-down/gifted. I also use the overall space as a canvas to continue practicing design/styling and creating. My space functions for me as a person living, a home office, and small business but still is able to keep that separate from the communal areas that I miss having people over in! I’m grateful for this home every day.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? My art piece in the dining room from Studio 8 — I don’t know why but this piece brought me joy from the minute I saw it posted on the Instagram account and had to go venture out to one of my favorite shops to snag it. Also, the TV stand from Nadeau — I love the versatility of it; it can be a TV stand, a console, a headboard… and I’m sure I could make that list go on! Oh and my large mirror I found at a consignment shop for a steal years ago — love using it to check my style/vibe for the day. Speaking of, I checked out this fit for the shoot this morning and my custom pants by the fabulous Gibeon Tolbert were a total vibe tone set for the day!

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Keep your kitchen simple, baskets are your friend, allow some functionality to be artful. Also, take the time to really think about how you use your space day to day and how you want the space to function for things like working from home, hosting, and whatever other hobbies you love to do.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Things you love never go out of style, treat your home like how you treat getting dressed daily — if you put on a sexy outfit, likely you will feel sexy in it — if you put some love into your space, then love and confidence in the space shines in more areas than a lot of people realize.



  • Living room — Urban Bronze, Sherwin Williams,, with zigs in custom mixed colors
  • Kitchen — Nankeen, Sherwin Williams
  • Entry mural — Variegated, Nankeen and Urban Bronze, Sherwin Williams
  • Bedroom, office, and bathroom — Barren Plain, Benjamin Moore


  • Plant hangers (stairwell) — Braid and Wood Design Studio
  • Bamboo cabinet/console — Facebook Marketplace
  • Diamond Mirror — Vintage Quest
  • Carved wood arch — An alley find
  • Wood hand chair — Store closing sale
  • Chandelier — Free from remodel project site
  • Small brass drum table — Michael’s
  • Antelope “head” that was broken in lot of pieces and deemed trash — DIY glue/wrap



  • Dining table top — Facebook Marketplace with custom welded base and benches from Salvaged Sanctuary
  • Dining chairs — Facebook Marketplace Milwaukee
  • Art — Studio 8


  • Island — Crate and Barrel Outlet
  • Stools — Studio 8
  • Bar Cart — Free from friend
  • Industrial Spice Rack — DIY
  • All tile — The Tile Outlet
  • Bar cart art — Lisa Gray
  • Stove art — Gifted from artist at Renegade Craft
  • Dish Rack — Ikea
  • All coffee mugs, cups, and sugar/flour containers — Thrifted
  • Fridge art, coffee pouring — Mosher
  • Fruit bowls, wood book stand — Thrifted
  • 3-legged bowl — Jungalow
  • Wood wine hand — Store closing sale
  • Decanter — Thrifted


  • Nightstands — Thrifted
  • Bedframe — Facebook Marketplace
  • Pendants — Ikea, Pottery Barn
  • Wardrobe — Nadeau Chicago
  • Birch branch — Facebook Marketplace
  • Dresser artwork — Tempered Label
  • Buddha statue — Thrift and Dollar Aurora
  • Photo next to bed — Phillip Sturm
  • Necklace Holder — Thrfited
  • Trunks — Thrifted
  • Large art and gallery pieces — All thrifted


  • Antique Shelving — The alley
  • Curtain — Target


  • Curtains — Old Ikea curtains from previous apartment
  • Desk — Custom built by Salvaged Sanctuary
  • Bookshelf — Nadeau
  • Cactus inspo/pinup board — DIY
  • Painting of  Me — My grandmother
  • Desk chair — Broadway Antique Market
  • Corner Chair — Thrift and Dollar
  • Small ottoman — Thrifted and upholstered in remnant fabric
  • Large Buddha — Nadeau


  • Wallpaper On Door — Chez Shea
  • Photography — Camille Debuhren  and Phillip Sturm
  • Artwork — hera, Sentrock , HML Design , Jay Jasso, Random Sketch found in bar in Paris, a book page from a book in my childhood home, a piece from Studio 8, a pamphlet from my Godmother’s first play, a magazine page, a marketplace framed moth
  • Ceiling fabric, a traditional Indian wrap — from a wedding a friend attended in India
  • Large wood altar — gifted from my Aunt
  • Mirror — Thrifted

Thanks Asia!

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.