Andrea & Elliott’s Funky Farmhouse Outside of Chicago

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Kristan Lieb)

Name: Andrea Koran and Elliott Torres and their daughter, Ella
Location: Wilmette, Illinois
Size: 980 square feet
Years lived in: 16 years; Owned

Andrea and Elliott’s home feels like a cozy cottage, or maybe a vacation home by a lake. Considering that Lake Michigan is just two miles away, it’s a lake house that they live in year-round.

(Image credit: Kristan Lieb)

Graphic designer Andrea and software engineer Elliott both create things at their jobs, so they say that they don’t do much DIY at home. But one look around the house reveals that their creativity extends into their home decor, as well. Andrea describes herself as an “interior designer wannabe,” and she documents her home’s progression on her Instagram.

A couple of themes create the rustic feel of their home. The first is the faux wood wallpaper that can be seen in several rooms. The second is the collection of botanical posters. Both of these add to the farmhouse feel—it’s like you could go in the backyard and see goats or a garden full of fresh produce. It’s eclectic, but it all works together.

(Image credit: Kristan Lieb)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Our 125-year-old petite farmhouse’s interior blends cottage style with a dose of Mid-century modern, a smidge of garage sale finds, and a dash of family antiques.

Inspiration: I have always loved reading shelter magazines and home décor catalogs. I’m constantly discovering new ways of displaying art, books, and furniture. Being addicted to color and pattern, I love seeing how people play with those elements in their homes. Also, I’ve recently become a big fan of Instagram (@funky_farmhouse). There are so many great designers posting the most inspiring photos and commentary—such a kind and generous community.

Favorite Element: I love our front porch in the spring and summer. As soon as it’s warm enough, our house instantly expands by seven feet! Living in a small house, that’s a big deal. With all the great outdoor furniture, curtains, rugs, and pillows, it really has become our outdoor living room and a great place to have morning coffee, dinner al fresco, and small summer parties.

Biggest Challenge: Our house suffers from “weird-house-layout” syndrome. One of the three bedrooms is directly off the foyer and faces the front door (weird, right?!). The other bedrooms open to the public rooms of the house (living room, dining room, and kitchen). The house has no hallways. This is the original 1890 layout. Each room is a self-contained box so they have to be well-organized and instantly useful.

What Friends Say: “Where is the rest of your house?” and “It looks like an ad for Pottery Barn.” And, “How do you function with one bathroom?”

Biggest Embarrassment: The bathroom finishes and the outdated appliances in the kitchen. Previous owners installed Corian as a bathtub surround. Maybe great for kitchen countertops; but not so great for bathtub walls. A shower curtain hides a multitude of sins, including a window that was sealed over with Corian. We’re looking forward to renovating the space and installing proper tile and restoring the window.

Proudest DIY: Because we both create things at our jobs, neither of us are big DIY-ers at home. We are more DI-buyers and DI-stylers! However, I was particularly proud that I installed all the wallpaper in our house. I love the new generation of wallpapers that are more like contact paper and make it super easy and quick.

Biggest Indulgence: A new garage! Like most houses in our neighborhood, we have an alley-entry detached garage. The one-car garage, most likely built to house a Model-T, was razed this past summer to make way for a 2-1/2 car garage with outdoor lighting and a cement driveway (neither of which existed previously). At 550 square feet, it is half the size of our house! We christened it the “Garage-Mahal” with a big neighborhood party. My husband’s “garage band,” More Cowbell, played inside.

Best Advice: Work with what you’ve got. When transforming the front room from a dedicated office space to a combo den/office/guest bedroom, my husband challenged me: use furniture and décor we already own. I was sure it could not be done, but when I rummaged around our basement and other rooms, I found plenty of elements to design the space without buying anything new. Much. 🙂

Dream Sources: Big Chill appliances—a full complement of orange (yes, orange!) refrigerator, stove, hood, dishwasher, and microwave. Also, I’d like a 24-hour shopping spree to buy pretty much everything in the Anthropologie catalog.


(Image credit: Kristan Lieb)


  • Living room: Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray, matte finish
  • Living room ceiling: Benjamin Moore White Dove, eggshell finish
  • Dining room: Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray, matte finish
  • Dining room ceiling: Benjamin Moore White Dove, eggshell finish
  • Dining room trim: BEHR Pure White high gloss trim paint
  • Den/guest room walls and ceiling: Benjamin Moore White Dove, eggshell finish
  • Den/guest room floor: BEHR Porch Paint, tinted in Benjamin Moore White Dove
  • Den/guest room trim: BEHR Pure White high-gloss trim paint
  • Painter: Aliki Deliyannides of Room Therapy
(Image credit: Kristan Lieb)


(Image credit: Kristan Lieb)


(Image credit: Kristan Lieb)


(Image credit: Kristan Lieb)


  • Sink: Kohler
  • Rag rugs: HomeGoods
  • French bistro chair: antique
  • Wicker chair: Pottery Barn
  • Teapot and coffee cups: Anthropologie
  • Pot rack: Williams-Sonoma
  • Flowers: Whole Foods
  • (Image credit: Kristan Lieb)


  • Leather chair: Crate & Barrel
  • Rag rug: HomeGoods
  • Throw blanket: HomeGoods
  • Side table: HomeGoods
  • Pillows: Stewart-Zacks in Traverse City, MI, HomeGoods
  • Nightstand: L.L. Bean
  • Photography: Crate & Barrel
  • (Image credit: Kristan Lieb)


  • Sink: Kohler
  • Toilet: Kohler
  • Shower curtain: Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Rag rug: HomeGoods
  • Towels: Anthropologie
  • Bar soap: Whole Foods
  • Tile art: Motawi Tileworks in Ann Arbor, MI
  • (Image credit: Kristan Lieb)


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    Andrea Koran and Elliott Torres in their den/office (Image credit: Kristan Lieb)

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    Thanks, Andrea & Elliott!