Christen's "Beautiful Goofball" Apartment

Christen's "Beautiful Goofball" Apartment

Janel Laban
Dec 14, 2009

Name: Christen
Location: Chicago
Size: 1500 square feet
Years lived in: 5

Christen's apartment is located in a 1912 brick two-flat overlooking Palmer Square. She has created a throughly unique home furnished with the vintage treasures that she'd collected over the years, long before she knew where they would finally fit in. Her self-described style is "goofball with an appreciation for beauty" and it has definitely produced a charming result.

Christen is the owner of the Busy Beaver Button Co., and you'll notice bits and pieces of this part of her life throughout the slideshow; a card of vintage buttons on the desk in her home office, a big button or two on a bookshelf and a collection of favorites under glass, framed in the living room. Other collections in the home: really amazing vintage lighting, beautiful textiles and wallpapers, funky, funny decorative items everywhere, guitars and music, music, music. There are unusual, quirky details in every room - it's one big visual treat.

This is a personality-filled space; one that reflects a passion for the past but more importantly one that accommodates a busy current life lived well - a colorful office for the business, a seriously beautiful kitchen for cooking in, a big dining table for seating lots of friends, a wide open living room with a game table at the ready and a serene guest room for visitors.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My style: Goofball with an appreciation for beauty.

Inspiration: Having smart people around me and give me their opinions, especially Joel Carter, Kim Soss , Angela from Post 27 and my boyfriend, Brett Sova. I pull out Harry Nilsson's Pandemonium Shadow Show to get me thinking as well as old Mad Magazines, Al Jaffee makes me laugh. Plus, I really like Terence Conran books because there are many eclectic interiors.

Favorite Element: I have a few!
-All the old, heavy doors in the house. Especially the ones with glass. All are original, but one.
-I am also very excited that I found Jack Lenor Larsen fabric to make cushions for the game table in the living room.
-The light fixture in the dining room, it's from a shop that used to be on Chicago Ave, called Arrow.
-The couch in the living room, I found in the alley behind the house, it's from Pullman!
- The bathroom, I love everything about it.

Biggest Challenge: The living room. I made the ceiling higher and the space just felt funny. Until my brother, Joel suggested the trim up top and the ceiling fan. It makes the room feel cozy.

What Friends Say: The wallpaper gets the most comments. But my friends say that it's comfortable and like the view that overlooks Palmer Square.

Biggest Embarrassment: Kinda love and hate that fact that my curtains are held up by left-over buttons from Busy Beaver.

Proudest DIY: Putting up the wallpaper in the dining room with my family.

Biggest Indulgence: Custom kitchen. Kitchens are expensive.

Best advice: To take my time and just do one project at a time. It's so true, once one project is done, the vision for the next project becomes clearer for me.

Dream source: Modern Times, although I do buy things there occasionally. Everything is so well thought-out and lovingly collected.


  • Mode Carpentry -the kitchen remodel, including the custom cabinets, radiator covers/benches
  • Post 27 - affordable to fancy, old and new, lotsa local artists
  • Modern Times -shelving unit in living room
  • Kindon Mills- architect for bathroom -
  • Julian Aranda -the mason who makes sure the building will be around forever -
  • Mike Slattery -Dining room table and guards for basement windows
  • Dime a Dance – Jack Lenor Larsen fabric
  • Treadway/Toomey – Dining room chairs, modified Nelson bench
  • The Faucet Shoppe – Bathroom fixtures old and new! Real experts!
  • Curtis Enterprises -Great wallpaper hangers-husband and wife! They papered my air vent, it impresses everyone
  • Old World Restoration -Stained glass in bathroom and repaired the living room glass
  • Sprout Home - It's where I bought almost all my plants

    (Thanks, Christen!)

    Images: Janel Laban

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