House Tour: Amy’s Vintage-Modern Nest

published Sep 18, 2008
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Amy (and Janis, her Maltese)
Profession: Editor & Founder of Venus Zine and
Location: Humboldt Park, Chicago
Size: About 500 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, owned
Type: 1920s brick apartment building-turned-condos


(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Amy is a wiz at working from the ground up. In college, she started a black-and-white stapled fanzine that evolved into Venus Zine, an internationally distributed full-sized glossy that covers women in pop culture. Fearless and fun, Amy’s decor reflects her DIY roots. Her one-bedroom condo in Humboldt Park is filled with fixed-up vintage finds, curated accessories, and a unique sense of style…

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


Amy’s condo is full of smart, simple solutions. Using basic DIY skills, Amy painted and/or reupholstered several of her vintage modern pieces. The planters in the dining room are repurposed ice buckets that look sleek and keep moisture from condensing on surfaces. Many of the accessories that give her home its character are budget buys from Chinatown. Although the apartment is small, Amy used paint to differentiate rooms from one another and give each space its own identity: the dark blue entryway is a bold first note, the sky blue dining room is an airy space, and the white bedroom feels clean and calm.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


Amy’s Survey:

My Style: Modern Nostalgia

Inspiration: Apartment Therapy Home Tours of New York shoebox-size apartments

Favorite Element(s): Built-in bookshelves on either side of the fireplace and the windows lining the dining room.

Biggest Challenge: Storage. There’s only one closet (one in the entranceway and a small linen cabinet in the bathroom). There is no closet in the bedroom.

What Friends Say: “Where’s the rest of your stuff?” … I had to downsize some of my furniture before moving in.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


Biggest Embarrassment: I make quick decisions — like, to station my flat-screen TV smack-dab in the middle of fireplace mantle in the living room. It’s totally the focal point of the room, and it looks pretty unattractive — but I already invested money into getting a cable line hooked up in this location. It’s not an accident that you don’t get to see this as part of this House Tour. I wish I’d given this more thought instead of just thinking, “Centering things is good feng shui.” Not always.

Proudest DIY: The quick fixemups, such as recovering the dining room chairs with Ikea fabric and repainting my childhood dresser sky blue.

Biggest Indulgence: New stainless appliances in the kitchen. When I moved into the condo, the kitchen still had the old, fried-up appliances from the previous apartment renter. I moved in and painted the walls and cleaned things up.

Best Advice: Keep knick-knacks to a minimum. That, and whenever I’m feeling like my place is a little lackluster, I give it a good scrub and rearrange some of my, well, knickknacks. It gives the place a quick makeover. Oh, and white is nice, isn’t it? It took me years to view white as a good decorating “color.”

Dream Source: Chinese and Japanese antique stores

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)



Living room:
Crate & Barrel outlet for couch
HomeGoods for green chair
Laura Watral (artist of painting)
Blue dresser from an unfinished furniture shop in the 1970s

Target for white lamps
HomeGoods for white bedspread
Ikea and Crate & Barrel outlet for pillows
Ikea for bedside tables
Traveling Asian furniture show for red armoire

Dining room:
Table and hutch courtesy of grandparents
Ikea light fixture
Shades from Home Depot

Thanks, Amy!