Eric & Kellie’s Pencil Factory Loft

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Julia Brenner)

Name: Eric, founder of Fair Coast Goods & Upholstery, and Kellie, advertising account manager
Location: Roscoe Village, Chicago, Illinois
Size: 1,300 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years (own)

Eric and Kellie’s wonderfully bright and modern loft is punctuated by a serendipitous story (bad pun intended!). You see, shortly after moving into their loft, which is a converted pencil factory, Eric launched his own business making handcrafted leather goods. There’s something pretty special about a craftsman living and working in a space that once produced pencils.

(Image credit: Julia Brenner)

I’m pretty sure I said something incredibly eloquent like, “whoaaah, windows!” on first entering the living area and taking in Eric and Kellie’s gloriously expansive treetop view, but alas, those windows are the stuff dreams are made of. I truly felt like I was standing in an urban treehouse; a classic factory loft softened by an abundance of natural light and greenery. And while they celebrate the modern, industrial aspects of a loft space, they’ve added in lots of handcrafted work and warm, vibrant tones to create well-defined living areas that feel very personal.

Eric and Kellie have also carved out a nook in their home for an industrial sewing machine, which Eric uses to make bags and wallets for his business, Fair Coast Goods. (Kellie collaborates with him on design ideas.) In fact, their entire home is a showcase of local talent — there’s an Eames-replica lounger that Eric personally reupholstered, a wood shim art piece handmade by Eric’s sister, lots of work by local artists and a locally-crafted coffee table with an interchangeable tabletop (FYI: both tops are featured in the tour, so you don’t think we’re playing a form of house-tour jedi mind trick).The result is a home that feels modern, creative and open, which is exactly how I would describe Eric and Kellie.

(Image credit: Julia Brenner)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: There’s a Danish word, hygge, which means “modern warmth.” We are always drawn to things that land in the sweet spot between strong and industrial, and comfortable and inviting.

Inspiration: Mostly our travels. From Denmark to California, we find ideas and inspiration at hotels, local restaurants, and boutique shops.

Favorite Element: The windows. It’s like living in a tree house.

Biggest Challenge: The size and shape of the second bedroom is very…limiting.

What Friends Say: “Is this floor concrete?”

Biggest Embarrassment: We love printed magazines, but we subscribe to way too many. They’re everywhere. We hesitate to ask people to check our mail when we’re out of town because they can’t believe how many magazines fill our mailbox.

Proudest DIY: Eric reupholstered an Eames replica lounger.

Biggest Indulgence: Our couch from BoConcept.

Best Advice: Don’t be afraid to be playful.

Dream Sources: Dwell, Design Within Reach, Kelly Wearstler, The Novogratz, Lignet Roset, Viking Range (which is really just Eric’s dream).

(Image credit: Julia Brenner)

Resources of Note:


  • Sherwin-Williams: Rock Candy (Bedroom)
  • Sherwin-Williams: Samovar Silver (Kitchen/Dining Room)
  • Benjamin Moore: White (Trim)
  • H&C acrylic concrete stain: Charred Walnut

  • Shoe Art: Shannon Favia
  • Chicago Telephone Pole Seat: Haymaker
  • Welcome Mat: FLOR
  • Rolling Tool Chest: Craftsman
  • Metal Storage Bins: CB2
  • Chalkboard: Vintage Mirror and DIY Chalkboard paint

  • Custom Coffee Table: Nate Crawford
  • Entertainment Center/TV Stand: All Modern
  • Rug: Design Within Reach
  • Wingback Chairs: Originally Kellie’s Nana + Popa’s from the 1970s, reupholstered
  • Eames replica lounger: Reupholstered by Eric
  • Bookshelves: Crate + Barrel
  • Wedding Portrait Art on Bookshelf: gift from Liz Wolf, Etsy shop Wiz Wenry
  • “Home Is Wherever You Are” art on bookshelf: Etsy shop, oMeandoMY
  • Clock – CB2
  • Wood Shim Art: original by Eric’s sister Erin
  • “You Are My Sunshine” Art: Sugarboo Designs
  • “It’s Not That Far” art: Etsy shop, Walsh Walsh and Son

  • Chairs: Emeco Navy Chairs and Herman Miller Eames DAR
  • Table: Crate + Barrel
  • Lighting: Lightology
  • Table centerpiece and terrarium: created by Alapash
  • “FAMILY” Art: DIY by Eric

  • Industrial sewing maching: Consew RB206
  • Mid-Century modern bar stools: found at 20th Century Cincinnati
  • Coat rack: DIY spray-painted
  • Paloma sideboard: Crate + Barrel
  • Grande Marupa Bowl: Nambe
  • California cutting board:
  • Food truck print: Meng Yang Original Print from Haymaker
  • Retro kitchen clock: Infinity
  • Tea Kettle: Le Creuset
  • Ice Coffee Growler: Heritage General Store

  • Headboard: reclaimed door, refinished by Eric’s dad
  • Dresser: belonged to Eric’s grandparents
  • Mirror: White Attic
  • Comforter: Anthropologie
  • Industrial sidelight: Alapash
  • Pillow: Etsy shop, Victory Market Vintage
  • Tabletop cabinet: Scout
  • “Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious” print: Katherine Clements
  • (Image credit: Julia Brenner)

    Thanks, Eric and Kellie!

    (Images: Julia Brenner)

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