House Tour: Amy and David's Modern+Tiki=Home

House Tour: Amy and David's Modern+Tiki=Home

Janel Laban
Apr 12, 2007

Name: Amy and David
Profession: Graphic designer (Amy), artist (David), modern furniture dealers (both)
Location: McKinley Park
Size/Type: 1100 sq/ft 2 bedroom apartment over 1100 sq/ft storefront
Years lived in: Nearly 6

Collect what you love. That's the advice that David and Amy shared on the questionnaire that accompanies this tour. It is a bit of wisdom that has really worked out for them. These two artists have made a relationship, home, business and life together which began with their passion for mid-century American design and their love of all things Tiki.

This is a busy family: They are the proprietors of of Pegboard Modern, the fantastic Chicago shop where the showcase their vintage modern finds. They also organize a big tiki fest, Exotica (one is coming up in July). They have written a book, Tiki Quest, did the hands-on rehab of their kitchen and are parents to a young son.

To use an old Hollywood saying, they met cute. When tiki-fan David met tiki-fan Amy neither knew that the other was a fellow enthusiast. When he asked her to go for a coffee or a cocktail, she said yes and suggested a tiki bar as the spot...and their fate was sealed in that moment. The two share so many interests that the teamwork necessary to pull together a home as cohesive as theirs came naturally.

Their second floor apartment is not a stuffy "showroom" style home. Even though the furniture and art is all pedigreed, you can see that it's been chosen and combined with a sense of humor, energy and an eye on comfort and day to day living. When discussing the style of their place David spoke about the mix of modern and Tiki as being intriguing - the sleek, clean lines of the modern pieces juxtaposed with the primitive, cluttered aesthetic of the Tiki goods.

And downstairs is where they work (studio and office) and play (the tiki room!). One of the largest, most complete collections of tiki goodies anywhere is housed in their own "Tabu Tiki" lounge. It houses two bars, a collection of barware from now defunct lounges and many, many tiki statues, each bringing a bit of quickly disappearing history to this Chicago home.

Amy and David's Survey:

our Style: Post-war American modern and Tiki

the Inspiration : George Nelson and Trader Vic

favorite Element: Tiki room to escape winter, and enclosed yard to enjoy summer.

biggest Challenge : Working within this 100year old building.

what Friends Say: What, are you nuts?!

biggest Embarassment: Tiny closets and cluttered work space.

proudest DIY: Kitchen rehab, and transforming Tiki room.

biggest Indulgence: Womb settee.

best Advice Collect what you love, surround yourself with beautiful things.

myDream Source: Wright auctions.


Our place is not architecturally significant, but it's a fairly neutral palette to work with. It was kind of a dump when we first got it, but we put a lot into cleaning, stripping away all the old funk and sticky shag carpeting. The most ambitious part was removing a back bedroom to expand the kitchen, which along with the bathroom was totally gutted and re-done. Taking a cue from the Eames storage unit, each of the 3 main rooms had one wall (or portion of wall) painted in a primary color. The tone for each room then grew out of that one vivid color note. The front room is all cool blues and greens, the middle warm yellows, and the dining room lets the red wall set the tone with blonde furniture and a sputnik or starburst theme echoing though the lighting and accessories.

We sanded the original broad-board soft pine flooring, strained it, sealed it with a clear coat and left the more rugged surface as a counterpoint to the clean lined modern furnishings. Other modern amenities include the new central heating with exposed ductwork and double insulated windows for energy efficiency.

We have been very fortunate with some of our favorite scores, but we look for and find stuff everywhere: auctions, estate sales, flea markets, antique malls, thrift stores, craigslist, eBay, and the curb of the street in Chicago when it snows and everyone tries to save their parking space with a chair. Oh, and Pegboard Modern and - But mostly Pegboard Modern.

(Thanks, David and Amy for the tour and fantastic photos!)

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