A Kitschy, Comfy Chicago Apartment Inspired by Grandma's House

A Kitschy, Comfy Chicago Apartment Inspired by Grandma's House

Esteban Cortez
Aug 30, 2017

Name: Timothy Scheel
Location: Humboldt Park — Chicago, Illinois
Size: 750 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years, renting

If you told Tim his apartment reminds you of your grandma's apartment, he'd likely take it as a compliment. Over the years, he's inherited a ton of pieces from his family and bought from many estate sales, so the space exudes a comfortable, lived-in feeling. "The vintage quality of the apartment itself seemed to naturally fit my style and possessions," Tim says of his Humboldt Park apartment, which is rumored to have once been a luxury hotel. "I've had a lot of fun finding my personal style in this place."

Tim grew up in a warm and loving home, so he wants all of his friends and guests to feels comfortable as soon as they walk through the door. He brings in antiques and kitschy items that have a story — family photos, vintage art, and furniture hand-me-downs. When those pieces combine with the vintage traits of the apartment itself, they create a cozy vibe that makes Tim happy to walk through the door each day.

Another perk is the proximity to Chicago's beautiful Humboldt Park, which is literally across the street. Even better, he can enjoy views of the greenery from his dreamy sunroom, which he's filled with vintage furniture and textiles. "I live across from the Humboldt Park boat house and love spending time in this little room daydreaming, looking at the greenery of the park, or reading," he says.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Kitschy, Comfortable, Global

Inspiration: My grandparents' houses – which were a combination of kitsch, antiques, and elements from every decade between the '30s and '70s. I'm also very inspired by my travels. Visiting Istanbul was a game changer for me, and has started an obsession with Turkish textiles.

Favorite Element: I love the sunroom. The vintage elements are also really charming; the apartment has a lot of original features.

Biggest Challenge: Every wood surface or built-in is painted very dark brown (floor, trim, buffet, fireplace, etc.). When I first moved in, I hated it and tried to work around it. It took some time, but I've learned to work with it. Now I love how cozy the brown makes my place feel.

What Friends Say: They tell me that my place feels "homey" and "lived-in," or like their grandma's house. I take it very much as a compliment.

Biggest Embarrassment: A few months ago I adopted a little senior rescue dog named Gus (no teeth, sassy haircut, knows how to high-five). He decided he liked to pee on the dining room rug, so I had to get rid of it. I've started putting down pee pads on other rugs where he has had an accident, so sometimes you come across a little surprise. We're working on it though.

Proudest DIY: Wrapping an IKEA hanging lamp kit in twine. It's pretty basic, but it took me forever to do, and I love the result.

Biggest Indulgence: The Turkish kilim rug in the living room.

Best Advice: Get enough plants that you start to think it's overwhelming. Then get a few more just for good measure. Also, don't be afraid to rummage around an estate sale — a good portion of the things I've gotten for my place are from one.

Dream Sources: There are some amazing places in Humboldt Park that I love. Adams and Son is the best place for plants. Vintage Quest has amazing treasures, and Humboldt House is a constant source of style inspiration and great finds.


Vanity table (the mirror is MIA) — Belonged to my great aunt Hazel
Lamp — IKEA
Coat Rack – Vintage
Basket - Target

Karlstad Sofa — IKEA
Chair – Thrift Store
Record Console – Estate Sale
Plants – Adams and Son and The Garfield Park Conservatory
Rug – Turkish Kilim from eBay
Lamps – Belonged to my grandparents
Coffee table – Estate Sale
Cigar table – Belonged to my great aunt Opal
Large Paintings – Belonged to my grandparents
Large Basket – Humboldt House
Ash Tray - Vintage Quest
Incense Holder - Alchemy Arts

Dining Table and Chairs — My grandparent's set
Camel Plant Stand – Estate Sale
Syssan Curtains – IKEA
China cabinet – Vintage Reproduction (parents picked it up on their honeymoon)
Wall hanging – Estate Sale
Chicago Park District Folding Chair – Antique Store
Landscape Painting – Painted by my mom in the '70s
Animal Painting – Bought on a trip to Cote d'Ivoire
Lace Table cloth – Belonged to grandmother
Corner Table - Vintage

Plants – Adams and Son
1950s German Sleeper Couch – Vintage Quest
Rug – Belonged to my great-grandmother
Small table – My mom's childhood play table
Candles – Alchemy Arts

Mexican chair — Vintage
Curtains – Estate Sale
Hanging macramé lamp – Vintage Garage
Giraffe bust – Anthropologie
Raskog cart - IKEA

Bed linens – IKEA
Matilda Curtains – IKEA
Side Table – Found on the curb
Ottoman – Found in my alley
Rug – Estate Sale
Rocking Chair – Vintage
Sewing machine – Vintage
Dresser – Vintage
Tapestry – Urban Outfitters
Seal Lamp – Urban Outfitters

Shower Curtain — Target
Koala Mirror – Thrift Store

Plants – Adams and Son
Chairs - Menards
Table – Found in the trash
Hanging planters - IKEA

Thanks, Tim!

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