A Chicago Couple’s “So Us” Vintage & Modern Mix

published Dec 30, 2016
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Name: Jill and Mickey
Location: Logan Square — Chicago, Illinois
Size: 1,200 square feet
Years lived in: Rented 4 months

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My partner Mickey and I have been renting our current apartment for about four months now. We often struggle to settle on just one design style, so our two-bedroom apartment is a mix of mid-century, Scandinavian, and urban-modern details. I think we’re able to keep a cohesive aesthetic because we always return to a few basic elements: furniture with clean lines, decor with pops of color, and rooms with lots of natural light and plants.

The building is over 100 years old so the apartment has quite a few quirks. But we try to embrace these imperfections, like mismatched baseboards and slightly slanted floors, as charming details to decorate around.

The furniture is a combination of newly bought and vintage pieces, and our artwork is mostly gifted from friends and family or originals that I’ve made (I’m a graphic designer and letterpress printer, and I have my own line of paper goods). It seems like a constant challenge to find space for all of our art supplies, music equipment, books, and records, but we love using our home to showcase our interests and passions. Mickey says the biggest compliment he receives on the apartment is that it’s “so us,” and I’d have to agree.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Our furniture is from all over—family heirlooms, Craigslist and thrift store finds, IKEA basics, current pieces from West Elm—so our style is pretty diverse. It’s generally Scandinavian inspired with modern and colorful updates.

Inspiration: A lot of our inspiration comes from our families. My mother is Norwegian and has a great eye for minimal design, and she actually painted the piece hanging above the sofa. My father loves finding classic furniture like the bentwood chairs and the wooden shoe racks that are used as bookshelves in the living room.

Favorite Element: The plant-filled bay windows.

Biggest Challenge: Storage. We have lots of hobbies so it’s a struggle to find a spot for everything.

What Friends Say: Our friends are usually impressed at how we fit so many knick-knacks and collectibles into the apartment without making it too cluttered. They also often comment that the space expresses both of our personalities because it’s filled with games, music, and art.

Biggest Embarrassment: The kitchen. There are lots of things we would like to change but can’t since we rent. We’re not the biggest fans of the cabinetry and the lack of a backsplash.

Proudest DIY: We wanted something inexpensive and simple for our TV console, so we “built” it out of IKEA Besta units, lumber from Home Depot, and cement bricks.

Biggest Indulgence: The Gramovox Floating Record Player. But we got a great deal on it, and it’s made in Chicago!

Best Advice: Before getting rid of a piece or buying something new, consider rearranging your rooms first. Our bathroom shelves used to be in the living room. Our horizontal bedroom mirror was vertical and in the hallway. And we’re constantly moving the chairs around. We keep our space fluid and update it regularly without spending money every time we make a change.

Dream Sources: Sprout Home, The Citizenry, Humboldt House.

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More resources:

Living Room
Sofa – West Elm
Coffee Tables – IKEA
Floor Lamp: Craigslist
Book Shelf – IKEA
Wooden Trunk – Thrift & Dollar
Rattan Chair – Anthropologie
Bamboo Chair – Thrift & Dollar
TV Console – IKEA / Home Depot wood
Bentwood Chair – Vintage / Gifted
Wooden Shoe Racks – Vintage / Gifted
Artwork – Jennifer Sanchez, Hello Paper Co., Kirtland House Press, and more

Bed – IKEA
Campaign-Style Nightstands – Vintage / Gifted
Low Dressers – IKEA
Taller Dresser – Craigslist
Mirrors – IKEA

Desk – IKEA
Wall Shelves – Urban Outfitters
Wire Wall Display – Store Supply Warehouse
Bentwood Chair – Vintage / Gifted
Brackets for Keyboard – IKEA

Table – Craigslist
Chairs – World Market

Shelf – IKEA
Baskets – Target

Bikes – Solé Bicycles
Chairs & Table – Vintage / Gifted

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