Name: Dave and Kelly Marie Thompson, and cats Bootleg and Tippie
Location: Kilbourn Park — Chicago, Illinois
Size: 1500 square feet
Years lived in: Owned 3 years
Kelly is the owner of Fleur, one of Chicago's hippest flower shops, and Dave is a manager at the incomparable Chicago Athletic Association. Each of them are passionate about their work, and are dedicated to making their home a personal sanctuary where they can relax after their long days in the city.
In the home they share, Kelly's love of plants, flowers and minimalism combine gracefully with Dave's desire to live with pops of color along with woodsy, cabin-inspired elements.
The couple knew that purchasing a home in need of work in nearly every room would be a huge undertaking, but they are thrilled with the results of their recently completed attic renovation, much of which they did themselves.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Kelly: I'm a mix of simple, Scandinavian clean design paired with overgrown foliage and floral. Dave loves warm colors, cozy interiors, cabins and natural woods. The two of us always want to be in nature, so we try to carry that vibe throughout the house.
Inspiration: Kelly: I joke that it's the Minnesota landscape in the middle of winter, with maybe a flash of bright color. Fortunately Dave is there to bring a little more vibrancy into my life. He's always pushing for amber, crimson and orange. He wants to live in a cabin in the woods, something like a beautiful log tree-house. It took me a little while to warm up (no pun intended) to color in the house, but now I love it.
Favorite Element: The ceilings on our second floor: The bedroom ceiling was made with salvaged barn wood that came from Fleur's second location, before we had to move. It was honestly Dave's idea. I knew I wanted to keep the wood because it was so beautiful, and he suggested that when we convert our attic to our bedroom and grand room that we use it on the ceiling. It's a soothing shade of gray, and you can see a few scratches from where our shop cat (who lives at Fleur) made it into her scratching post. That's really charming to me, because it has so many stories. Equally as favorite is the ceiling in our grand room on the second floor. It's made from inexpensive shiplap pine, but Dave stained it all himself. The inspiration came from the house where he grew up on the Mississippi River.
Biggest Challenge: Patience. We bought a fixer upper that needed so much work, and we moved in right away. All the electric required updating (It had paper wrapped around it!), the second floor was a raw attic, and the paint on the walls was so old that you could see where the frames were that the previous owner had hung. It's been three years, and we finally are settling in. A lot of work still needs to be done, but it's been more rewarding than we ever imagined. There is a lot of thought and personality being put into this home, and the richness in spirit means so much to us. We still have a lot to do; it's a work in progress. But we love it.
What Friends Say: A good friend of ours referred to it as a sanctuary, and that was really incredible. It's exactly what we were hoping for. Both Dave and myself work long hours in jobs that require a lot of mental and physical demand. We wanted to create a place that reflected comfort and was approachable.
Biggest Embarrassment: I think it's our cat. He's incredibly handsome, but the most unfriendly, territorial beast you'll ever meet. He really only tolerates me, but adores Dave. But in the house? Our kitchen is a little rough on the eyes. The cabinets are so old I'm a little terrified the shelves will break (Because once it happened), and a little more counter space will be a dream.
Proudest DIY: I'm so proud of Dave staining the ceiling on the second floor in the grand room. He stained all the shiplap one day, and we realized we were a little short. So we drove to pick up more, stained it all only to realize it was the wrong size. We were so tired, we threw our hands up in the air. It was a long night. But those mistakes are character builders, and when we finish the basement we're going to use the pieces that were too small.
Biggest Indulgence: Without a doubt, the second floor bathroom. We searched everywhere for a claw foot tub and found one. There are zero regrets.
Best Advice: Be yourself and work with the space. I'm so drawn to minimalism and modern architecture, but we purchased a 1920s little bungalow. We decided that rather than force a concept, we'd work with the building itself, and add in a little quirkiness to keep our personalities.
Dream Sources: I love The Jungalow and Dwell magazine.