A Stylist & Scientist’s Sunny Plant-Filled Chicago Loft

updated Feb 19, 2019

A Stylist & Scientist’s Sunny Plant-Filled Chicago Loft

updated Feb 19, 2019
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Home Type
Square feet
Sq ft

Name: Mel and Austin Holmes
Location: West Loop — Chicago, Illinois
Size: 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, renting

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Mel and Austin focused on all the right things when it came to furnishing this Chicago rental. They filled their home with things they love and that truly bring them joy. When you are in their space, you feel how intentionally they approached designing their home. Thanks to their hard work, they’ve created the Chicago loft of their dreams.

Mel is a stylist with Madewell and offers private interior and wardrobe styling services. Austin is a molecular biologist with a focus in cancer biology. What a pair! Their bright West Loop loft is a modern, clean canvas. And this couple has a way of making this blank canvas feel cozy, inviting and warm through personality, plants, textiles and curated pieces.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Airy, minimal and intentional

Inspiration: West Coast

Favorite Element: Our plants! Though we are such city people we love nature and love having nature be a focus of our design.

Biggest Challenge: Keeping up with all the watering!

What Friends Say: A lot of our friends love our home because as modern as our loft is we make sure it feels inviting and homey.

Biggest Embarrassment: We have a lot of windows and fairly close neighbors… we’ve never known for certain what they can and can’t see but we’ve never closed the shades. But I still dart room to room with embarrassment.

Proudest DIY: We have a somewhat large open space that is very undefined… I wanted some kind of wall shelf but nothing that took away from the airy open feel so I made a makeshift shelf out of pieces of doug fir and cement blocks. I love how it looks clean and modern but also like it could be from out back in the garage.

Biggest Indulgence: All our plants 😉

Best Advice: Be YOU. I think what works so right in our space is that we filled it with things we truly love… things that truly bring us joy. We didn’t design or decorate for others but what best makes us as a couple feel most comfortable and at home.


Sofa — Vintage, West Town Home Decor
Chairs — Craigslist find
Rug — Ikea
Coffee Table — Urban Outfitters
Art — family friend original art work
Monogram pillow — Jonathan Adler
Stendig Calendar — Schoolhouse Electric
Plants — Adam and Sons, Sprout Home
National Geographics — growing vintage collection

Table — Ikea
Chairs — Craigslist
Bar — Ikea
Southwestern pillow — passed down in family

Kitchen Island — John Boos
Gold Globe — Vintage Find

Bedding — West Elm Velvet Luster
Wood Mobile — Schmitt Design
Cat Painting — Great Grandmother’s painting of cat “Baby”
Fern Print — Gather Home + Lifestyle

Thanks, Mel and Austin!

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