An Artist's Cozy, Textile-Rich Apartment in Chicago

An Artist's Cozy, Textile-Rich Apartment in Chicago

Franke Chung
Feb 28, 2017

Name: Hillery Sproatt
Location: Ravenswood — Chicago, Illinois
Size: 800 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year

If you travel about 10 miles north from Chicago's center, you might find yourself in Ravenswood, one of the city's first planned suburbs (and with a poetic name to boot). One of its more peculiar throughways, Ravenswood Avenue, was once an industrial corridor and has become a village of sorts, now inhabited by art centers, theatres, music schools, and a staggering number of creative businesses that have staked their offices, studios, and shops there.

No wonder artist Hillery Sproatt calls this neighborhood home. Hillery is a painter and textile designer who lives, works, and entertains out of her Ravenswood apartment. Every ounce of the place is dripping in warmth. There are stacks of cozy blankets to curl into, charming ceramics to wrap your hands around, and Mali the dog who appears perpetually huggable. The sunroom is roomy and full of light and she's created a highly functional studio-office out of it. Getting everything you want and need from a rental always has its challenges, especially if you live and work in the same space. Hillery would like to eventually move into a two-bedroom in the same building, but for the time-being, she seems content with the home she's created.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I try to surround myself with things that make me happy. I enjoy functional spaces that are filled with special objects, but lend themselves to comfortable living. I like having just enough without having too much. I enjoy living with objects that have a history or story to them; for me, mixing color and pattern is always a pleasure. I am not too concerned with matching and I often steer clear of sets.

Inspiration: Japanese minimalism, Scandinavian textiles and design, collected objects, unexpected pairings and pattern play...

Favorite Element: My favorite pieces of furniture are our coffee table and dressers. All three were purchased from Heartwood Antiques, the beautiful antique store I lived above for a short time in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Biggest Challenge: My biggest home challenge remains space. This has proven challenging for me in my last few homes. I live, work and entertain at home, so my space has to be versatile. Finding the balance between work space and home space can be a bit blurry at times.

What Friends Say: "What treasures..."

Proudest DIY: This changes weekly as I'm always arranging things throughout the house depending on need and function. I enjoy my hanging baskets, which are hidden throughout my home. Many of them were crocheted by my mother, clothing designer and fiber artist, Debra Weiss. I keep paper, socks and other goodies in them and some I leave empty because they're so beautiful.

Biggest Indulgence: Framing my friend Leyla Rzayeva's paintings that are hanging in our living room. Leyla is one of my favorite painters and a printmaker and she runs The Clubhouse, which is a lithography workshop in Baltimore, Maryland.

Best Advice: It's hard not to covet the beautiful spaces we see littered all over the internet. When I start to feel something is missing, I look around and remind myself that a home should reflect how you use it. A space should serve those living in it. The evidence of a well-lived life is so beautiful. I find great joy and satisfaction when I think of how my home serves my family and my work.

Dream Sources: Mieke Willems: Apartment photo series, Matisse: Home + Studio, Picasso: Home + Studio, Gisèle d'Ailly van Waterschoot van der Gracht


Ceramic piece — Katy Krantz
Antique Rug— Flea Market Find
Shoe Rack — The Container Store
Matisse Poster — Antique store find in Milwaukee, WI

Lowes paint — Valspar Dove White

Vintage Sofa — Inherited from textile artist Michelle Vondiziano
Vintage Chairs — Edgewater Antique Mall
Vintage Japanese Coffee Table — Heartwood Antiques in Grand Rapids, MI
Ceramic Lamp — Anthropologie
Vintage Ceramic Lamp — Gifted from my dear friend Paola Albergate
Side Table — East Fulton Art & Antiques, Grand Rapids, MI
Pillows — Unison Home
Pillows — Vintage Marimekko
Blankets — My collection
Baskets — Vintage, collected
Flat File — Safco
Vintage 1975 Fender Princeton Reverb — eBay find
1952 Fender Telecaster 2013 Reissue — eBay find
Martin OO-DB Jeff Tweedy Custom Artist Edition Acoustic Guitar — Kansas City Vintage Guitar

Ceramics — Katy Krantz, Linda Hsiao for Knotwork LA, Jessica Hans, Eric Steiner, My pieces + works in progress
Framed Works — Hillery Sproatt, Found painting by Mc Hugh
On the Wall — Large floral pencil drawing (on flat file) by Erika Hanson
Paper Pulp Painting by David Ubias

Danish Teak vintage chairs — Edgewater Antique Mall
Wooden Farm Table — East Fulton Art & Antiques, Grand Rapids, MI
Antique Swedish Rag Rug- The Country Gallery
Leather Swivel Chair- West Elm Helvetica Desk Chair
On the Wall:
Green Metal Basket crotched by my mother — Debra Weiss
Small black embroidery metal wall piece by my mother — Debra Weiss
Linen mobile by me — Hillery Sproatt

Vintage Wooden Table — Gifted from family
Vintage Wooden Chairs with hand needlepoint cushions — Chicago flea market find
My grandfathers rug, Antique Swedish Rag Rug — The Country Gallery
Rag Rug (by kitchen sink) purchased during a visit to NY
Dishware Linda Hsiao of Knotwork LA, Heath Ceramics, Molly Ann Bisho, Hillery Sproatt, Matthew Jorgensen, Unison, pieces passed down from my mother, grandmother and great grandmother. Japanese Ceramics from Kyoto flea market. Collected dishes from thrift stores and flea markets. Mugs, cups and a plate by TJ Mathieu.
Aprons + Kitchen Linens — Rebe by Debra Weiss, Unison, Fog Linen dishtowels
On the wall — Antique Tofu Paddle from Tokyo Flea Market, Framed embroidery by my mother Debra Weiss, in the 1970s, Ceramic Peace Bells by the window by Mt. Washington

Antique dressers — Heartwood Antiques in Grand Rapids, MI
Bedding — Unison
Blanket — Hillery Sproatt
Blankets on the bed — Milky Way and Holland Blanket, from my collection.
French Stradivarius Copy Fiddle with a Luan Ruy handmade bow — Simone:
Antique Rug — Flea Market Find
Stool — IKEA
Ceramic handmade lamp — Mt. Washington
Vintage Reading Lamp — Antique store find in Milwaukee, WI
Salt Crystal Lamp — Solay Wellness
Japanese vintage textiles and boro collected during a recent trip to Japan

Thanks, Hillery!

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