This Chicago Apartment is Like a 1950s Time Capsule

updated Apr 30, 2019

This Chicago Apartment is Like a 1950s Time Capsule

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Rose Schreier
Location: Rosehill—Chicago, Illinois
Size: 1,100 square feet
Years lived in: Rented 6 years

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Six years ago, Rose was hunting for a cute and affordable vintage apartment in Chicago. When she drove by her current home with a “For Rent” sign outside, she jumped on the opportunity to check it out. She nearly flipped when she saw it: the owner of the property had left the interior virtually untouched since the 1960s. The crystal chandelier in the dining room, the light-up faux fireplace logs in the living room, and the original wallpaper in the bedroom and dining room sealed the deal.

It’s clear where her inspiration comes from: all things vintage, particularly from the 1940s and ’50s. Though many people re-interpret those looks in their homes, Rose is a faithful devotee of the style: just take a look at her collection of vintage dresses and accessories, which take up an entire bedroom for storage.

One of the most admirable things about Rose’s home is that she attempts to preserve the story of each piece she brings in, whether with her own personal story of acquiring it or the story from the previous owner. “I sourced each piece, one at a time,” she says. “It still brings me joy to look at all the things in my collection, even years after I may have found it.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: 1940s/1950s vintage home design. I’m not so much a re-interpreter as I am a faithful devotee of the original look.

Inspiration: I think my home décor inspiration is a direct extension of my first passion, which is vintage fashion of that era. That passion has materialized through mid-century décor, particularly bright or pastel colors, mirrored and metallic elements, and blonde wood furniture with atomic lines. Although I aim to channel design elements from a classic mid-century dwelling, what’s crazy is that I don’t really consult that many image sources — it’s almost as if it’s divinely inspired.

Favorite Element: I’m not sure I could pick one! I really love everything in my place, down to the tiniest tchotchkes.

Biggest Challenge: Keeping everything neat and tidy. With a large apartment and large collection, it’s tough to always keep everything in its rightful place.

What Friends Say: “I feel like I just walked into a mid-century time capsule.” Ironically, even though I do my best to make my place as vintage as possible, people always seem to gravitate toward my back room, nicknamed the “Wisconsin Lodge,” which is decidedly ’60s–’70s.

Biggest Embarrassment: My eternal hunt for the right mood lighting and the subsequent teasing that ensues about how I never have any overhead lighting on, which is mainly true (the exception being the chandelier in my dining room). I have a weakness for ’40s and ’50s lamps, particularly Moss lamps and chalkware dancer lamps, so I am forever experimenting with different bulbs and lamp arrangements for just the right “feel.”

Proudest DIY: Rehanging my giant mirrored shadowbox in my dining room by myself, armed with a drill. My back was sore for a week after that!

Biggest Indulgence: Probably the fact that I have a whole bedroom for just my clothing and shoes; I like to refer to it as my “dressing parlor.” I know most people usually use a second bedroom as a guest bedroom, but my clothing, hat, shoe, and jewelry collection has grown to such a size that I need a room just for it (guests have been very understanding). In fact, that was my main motivation in seeking a two-bedroom apartment in the first place—my collection had outgrown my previous one-bedroom unit.

Best Advice: Keep a cognitive map of your place in your head at all times, as you never know when you’ll stumble across something that’ll fit the décor perfectly. My apartment is always on my mind; I’m always thinking of how to improve it. Also, never pay too much for anything. In the vintage world, price is arbitrary.

Dream Sources: An estate sale held at an old lady’s home last furnished in the 1950s.

Thanks, Rose!

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