A Modern-Meets-Farmhouse, DIY-Filled Chicago Haven

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Name: Maggie and Howard
Location: Logan Square — Chicago, Illinois
Size: 1,800 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years; Owned

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When Maggie, Howard, and their gorgeous boys moved into their Logan Square house, it had just sat empty through a frigid Chicago winter. There were lots of improvements to be made — new roof, new plumbing and new heating system were just a few of the un-fun, necessary items on the to-do list— but the couple could see past the boring stuff and were already imagining the fun DIYs they could tackle to add warmth and character to the home.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Once the plumbing and heating were updated, Maggie and Howard got to work on the fun stuff. Wainscoting and glass tiles were added to the kitchen, DIY light fixtures went up in the entryway and nursery, and a beautiful table was handcrafted by Howard for the dining room. The table (made just yards away in Howard’s garage workshop) was the first of many amazing projects including a DIY sliding barn door in the basement and record storage seating around the table. Wood was sourced from salvage and restoration shops, while light fixtures and other pieces around the home were picked up at thrift stores and yard sales. All of these treasures, along with bold patterns found in the many textiles, have come together to create Maggie and Howard’s perfect version of a warm, inspiring family home.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Our style is modern/urban meets farmhouse. We’re inspired by so many things: Pinterest, Anthropologie, vintage-inspired hotels like SoHo House, farmland, etc. We both grew up in rural Illinois, and we like bringing rustic pieces into the house. We are constantly inspired by resale and antique shops whenever we travel, and by our creative friends’ homes.

Favorite Element:
Maggie: Our dining room table. It was the first woodworking piece Howard made for our house, and it helped transform it into a home amidst all the renovations we were undergoing.

Howard: Contact paper wall installation in the living room. Maggie changed out an old photograph we had there, and then we updated the nook with shelves from Rebuilding Exchange to make it modern and friendly at the same time.

Biggest Challenge: The joys (both ironic and sincere) of fixing up a foreclosure. There are still floor marks from where the busted radiators stood, and in a 110-year-old house, it’s hard to find a straight angle or line.

What Friends Say: How something is different every time they come over! We are constantly moving things around. We’ve also heard, “You guys sure like your containers.” Which is very true.

Biggest Embarrassment: Our main staircase. It creaks on every step, to the point that it used to wake our oldest son when he was sleeping!

Proudest DIY:
Maggie: The tin ceiling tiles we installed in the entryway. We found them on Craigslist and refinished them before fitting them to the ceiling.

Howard: The barn door leading to the guest room. We ordered the hardware from Barn Door Hardware, and I built the rest of it in our garage. I think it took us nearly as long to hang as it took me to build.

Biggest Indulgence: Hooks, drawer pulls, and other hardware. Maggie loves how well-edited Anthropologie’s selection is, despite its high price point. Salvage One in Chicago has really cool doorknobs. And, we’ve found the best deals on vintage pieces at Sarasota Architectural Salvage, while visiting family in Florida.

Best Advice: Our realtor and good friend Bob Safranski, of Saffron Realty, gave a great bit of advice when we first moved in: Don’t try to decorate all at once. Spend time in your space and allow it to change as you do.

Dream Sources: Finds while traveling, West Elm, Rebuilding Exchange, Salvage One, Dwell Studio



  • Entryway: Martha Stewart for Glidden Sharkey Gray
  • Kitchen: BEHR Celery Ice
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)


  • Ceiling chandelier: DIY from thrift store
  • Wall letters: Sarasota Salvage
  • Ceiling tile: old tin ceiling tile from a church in northern Illinois via Craigslist—we scraped off the rust and spray painted them white before hanging.
  • Floor tile: leftover tiles from a tile business Maggie’s dad founded
  • Bench: Target
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)


  • Leather sofa: Walter E. Smithe via Craigslist
  • Throw blanket: Target
  • Armchair: Room & Board via Craigslist
  • TV console: IKEA
  • Floor rug: Domino‘s online shop
  • Coffee table: West Elm
  • Side tables: IKEA—we spray painted the handles gold.
  • Kids’ table: IKEA
  • Kids’ chairs: vintage from Howard’s family
  • Wall installation: contact paper from Walls Need Love
  • Wall shelves: DIY by Howard using Rebuilding Exchange wood
  • Water-themed artwork: Big Sur by Max Wanger
  • Frame: framed & matted
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)


  • Dining table: DIY by Howard
  • Record crate chairs: DIY by Howard
  • Chair covers: IKEA flokati rugs cut in half
  • White garden stool chairs: Costco
  • Curtains: DIY from fabric from IKEA
  • Guy Meets Girl artwork: by our friend Brett Whitacre
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)


  • Table: CB2
  • Benches: DIY by Howie
  • Ceiling light fixtures: Restoration Hardware
  • Counters: custom Jatoba wood counters by Wood World (a more affordable option than the butcher block counters we wanted)
  • Art print: Village
  • Play kitchen: DIY from a side table found in an alley
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)


  • Bed frame: IKEA
  • Bed linens: Anthropologie
  • Wall shelving: DIY by Howard with materials from Home Depot
  • Ceiling light fixture: Sprout Home
  • Bedside tables: IKEA
  • White lamp: IKEA
  • Fire extinguisher lamp: DIY by Maggie’s dad
  • Water-themed artwork: Splash by Max Wanger
  • Frame: framed & matted
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)


  • Sofa near bar: Crate & Barrel via Craigslist
  • Sofa pillows: HomeGoods
  • Baskets: Container Store, Target
  • Blue rug: Costco
  • Toy bins: The Land of Nod
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)


  • Bedside lamp: Target
  • Bedside table: DIY using a hand-me-down suitcase and legs from Home Depot
  • Suitcase artwork: Brett Whitacre
  • Typography art print: The Love Shop
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)


  • Bed frame: West Elm daybed
  • Bed linens: Target
  • Shelving unit: IKEA
  • Shelf bins: The Container Store, Edwards Apple Orchard
  • Pennant banner: DIY by Maggie for James’s birthday
  • Wall map: National Geographic‘s online shop
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)


  • Crib/toddler bed: DIY by Howard
  • Castle sheet for bed: The Land of Nod
  • White dresser: thrift store—we painted it white and added Anthropologie handles.
  • Loveseat: Macy’s furniture outlet in Naperville, IL
  • Rug: Dwell Studio
  • Sheep mobile: Galt Baby
  • Jet plane wall decals: The Land of Nod
  • Alphabet art print: The Land of Nod
  • Frame: built by Howard

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Thanks, Maggie & Howard!