Dennis & Jose's Ukrainian Village Gem

Dennis & Jose's Ukrainian Village Gem

Smith Schwartz
Sep 24, 2010

Name: Dennis and Jose
Location: Ukrainian Village — Chicago, Illinois
Size: 1,200 square feet
Years lived in: 1 — rented

Two years ago, Dennis and Jose experienced a hardship that most of us fear, yet are lucky enough to avoid: their entire apartment building was rendered uninhabitable by a fire. Luckily no one was injured and they scrambled quickly to find a new place. Many of their belongings were salvaged, but for the next year, they were living in a space that never quite felt like home. For their next move, they had much more planning and pavement pounding time to find a new apartment and they wound up with a lovely Ukrainian Village gem. Natural light, ample space and gleaming woodwork abound, and Dennis and Jose are finally at home.


It's no surprise that this particular home is so inviting and styled down to the smallest component. Dennis is a hairstylist and Creative Director for Gro Salon and a country DJ and Jose is a graphic designer for Artemis Design. One can see that every last detail of their home is given serious thought and attention, yet the end result is playful and charming. But, as often happens when two strong design minds come together, agreeing on the small details is not always easy. On my visit they told a funny story about a back-and-forth involving bobblehead figurines that had been put on display by one of them, been tucked away by the other, and then put out again, (as you can see, they are mysteriously not pictured). Though Dennis and Jose take the design of their home seriously, a sense of humor and relaxed style comes through in everything they do.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Dennis's answers are first — Jose's follow in italics

Our Style: Eclectic. Mod, scary monsters, Frankenstein

Inspiration: Comfort and life memories. Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, (none of the above).

Favorite Element: Natural light, (East, South, West) and bringing the outside in — having family heirlooms mixed in. Color, mixture.

Biggest Challenge: Bringing an old apartment up to date, mixing my décor with my boyfriend's things and agreeing. Nazi-design boyfriend.

What Friends Say: Feels home-like, amazing for cost, clean, makes sense for me. Nice.

Biggest Embarrassment: Constantly shopping for a new sofa and new/loud music. When I get really, really drunk.

Proudest DIY: My plants and organizing. Bringing the little things together to make it my own. Art, music, humor.

Biggest Indulgence: Buying vinyl and needless grooming products. Beer, video games and loud music.

Best Advice: Make it you without overdoing it. Everything should have a place, including your home. A sense of community is important. Remember that it's ok and healthy to change your mind. Mix it up. If you don't like it anymore, it doesn't belong. Don't fight it, feel it!

Dream Sources: Someday, it would be fantastic to have a personal shopper! I'd really love to spend lots of money at Wright. Also, it's great when friends go through an identity crisis and give away their stuff. I was a sixties and seventies hippie, looking for a place to wash my hair.

Resources: Kubrick, Michelangelo Antonioni, Neu!, psychedelic

Thanks, Dennis and Jose!

Images: Smith Schwartz

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