A Photographer’s Sunny Pre-War Apartment in Chicago

updated Nov 21, 2019

A Photographer’s Sunny Pre-War Apartment in Chicago

updated Nov 21, 2019
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Name: Samantha, Kevin and fluffy dog, Sherman
Location: Hyde Park — Chicago, Illinois
Size: 750 square feet

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Located on a cozy tree-lined street in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood (home to the University of Chicago), Samantha and Kevin’s apartment is a beautiful fusion of vintage, handmade, and unfussy decor, all housed in a sunny pre-war apartment unit framed by elegant stained glass windows. Take a look at this love letter to vintage Chicago city living.

Samantha and Kevin’s apartment is located in a historical 1890s building that was renovated in the 1920s by famed Chicago artist, Edgar Miller. While so many historic residences in Chicago have undergone gut renovations over the years, Samantha and Kevin’s building has been lovingly maintained and retains many of Miller’s original designs. Bygone, handcrafted elegance is evident throughout both the building and their unit — stained glass windows, hand-carved woodwork, and wrought iron trim. As a design-savvy photographer, Samantha knew she was working with good bones and made decor choices that complement her home’s natural beauty and emphasized aspects of their unit that she really loves, such as the abundance of natural light and unique vintage details. Samantha and Kevin’s apartment highlights that when you’re lucky enough to inherit good bones, less is always more.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Cozy, comfortable, and simple with an emphasis on beauty

Inspiration: Apartment Therapy, Instagram, Pinterest, anywhere I see something beautiful.

Favorite Element: The large, bright windows in every room, especially the living room.

Biggest Challenge: The kitchen floors and countertops are less than beautiful and difficult to keep clean

What Friends Say: They like coming over because it’s homey and cozy.

Biggest Embarrassment: The kitchen floor that looks dirty no matter how much I clean it.

Proudest DIY: The photo displays above the fireplace and in the hallway. And the gray painted dresser from my childhood, which is in our bedroom.

Biggest Indulgence: Most of our things are thrifted or hand-me-downs, so I’d have to say the living room rug is our biggest indulgence.

Best Advice: It’s said time and time again, but it’s so true: it takes time to decorate a home. Let it happen over time and don’t be hard on yourself for the areas that are incomplete or less than your favorite in the meantime. When decorating happens organically and you find things over time that you love, you’ll enjoy your space more than if you went and bought everything at West Elm and Target just to fill your rooms.

Dream Sources: Estate sales, thrift stores, and Crate and Barrel.


Ladder shelf – World Market: Similar

Sofa and Chair – thrifted from The Brown Elephant originally from Crate and Barrel
Storage Ottoman – TargetWool Kilim Rug – West Elm
Throw Pillow Covers – West Elm
Navy Moose Pillow – Target- Similar
TV Stand – Ikea Similar
Stereo Stand- World Market
Desk – Target
Peacock Print – Mai Autumn
Beach Print – Etsy, An Inspired Image
Goldfish Watercolor Painting – Etsy, Original Only
Frame for Goldfish Painting- Framebridge, Richmond
Terrarium Prints – Etsy, Quill and Fox
Shelves – Ikea
Square Prints – Artifact Uprising
Secretary’s Desk – Antique store in Madison, WI
Floral Painting – Antiques on Pierce Milwaukee, WI
Copper Pipe Planter Stand – DIY
Horseshoe – from my late papaw’s barn

Dining table – thrifted from store in Kentland, In
Dining Chairs – salvaged from U Chicago dorm being torn down
Square Painting – Mai Autumn
Mirrors – thrifted from store in Kentland, In

Potting Bench – World Market
Stools – Thrifted from The Brown Elephant
Macrame Plant Hanger and Pot – Modern Cooperative

Dressers – Hand-me-downs
Blue Chairs – yard sale, Indiana
Orange side table – TargetAbacus Table Lamps – West Elm
Night stands – hand-me-downs
Belgian Linen Quilt – West Elm
Watercolor Fern Euro Pillow Shams – West Elm
Mirror – Kohls Similar
Large tropical painting – Steam Corner Flea Market, Indiana

Thanks, Samantha and Kevin (and Sherman)!

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