CHI House Tour: Pam's Unempty Nest

CHI House Tour: Pam's Unempty Nest

Mar 27, 2008

Name: Pam
Occupation: Rug Designer
Location: Albany Park in Chicago, IL
Type: 2 bedroom in a rehabbed 1920's building
Size: 650 sq/ft
Years lived in: Owned for 5

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The first thing we noticed about Pam's place was all the birdcages. When asked of their significance, she said, "I like they way they define space without blocking it up and the Chinese ones make me think of deserted environments - the birds got out and left everything behind..."

(Some) photos by Katie Brown

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This sentiment struck us as both practical (in terms of design) but also a little melancholy.

Yet the more we walked around Pam's small condo, running our fingers across the textured antiques and smiling at the reminders of family, we realized that nothing here was left behind. Everything in Pam's house means something and each item belongs. Her space is small and unassuming but comfortable because it's filled with tokens of a life, enjoyed. Her furnishings and artwork show a fluent blending of the exotic and the everyday. So even though the birds may have flown away, Pam's nest remains full.

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AT Survey:

My Style: A mixture of contemporary/antique and of American/European/Asian.

Inspiration: Movies and plays in which the set reflects a mixture of cultures.

Favorite Element: French window

Favorite Room: Living/dining room. It somehow makes me feel connected to the outside world while still having privacy.

Biggest Challenge: Furniture arrangements in living/dining room and second bedroom/study.

What Friends Say: "Curtains might be nice." The hardwood floors on the diagonal and the way the French window brings in additional light and the reflection of the trees outside are often favorably commented upon.

Most Embarrassing Element: The accumulation of so many things. I have to store a lot to avoid clutter.

Proudest DIY: The design and fabrication of a cover to convert an old art taboret into a nightstand.

My Indulgence: French window from a building in Paris which I had stripped and the glass removed and replaced with mirror.

Dream Source: Any place that has unique things. Fortuny Fabrics (but not for curtains).

Best Advice: Don't hurry to totally furnish all at once. When looking for a piece to fill a specific need, wait until you find one you like as an object on its own – one you will always enjoy looking at.

Had forever: The dining table and chairs are the things I have had the longest - since my first place after leaving home.

Just got: Bright coral bath towels!

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• Hallway and kitchen castered carts - The Container Store
• Wicker chair in living room - Pier 1 Imports
• Sofa - Walter E. Smithe
• Coffee table - (custom designed)
• Winged Lion plant stand - The Alley
• Dining table - Estate auction in Iowa
• Herman Miller Computer Table - Home Office Solutions
• Office chair - Merchandise Mart sample
• Antique Chinese Chest - Asian Essence
• Rounded-seated dining chairs - Estate auction in Iowa
• Metal storage unit - The Container Store
• Wesley Allen Daybed - Bedding Experts
• Armoire in master - Merchandise Mart sample
• Night table/serving cart - From a friend who was redecorating and no longer wanted it
• Rocking Chair – Thonet showroom

• Antique Glass Vases - Inheritance
• Teeth paperweight - Mold from my daughter's (now grown) teeth
• Green birdcage in master bedroom - Expo Design Center
• All other birdcages - Susanin's Auction

• Kitchen ceiling fixture - Home Depot
• Ceiling fans - Expo Design Center
• Oil lamp in dining room - Given to me by my mother. She called it her "Gone With the Wind" lamp.

Rugs and Carpets:
• Rug in living room - Edward Fields sample

• Bedcover in second bedroom - Made from an old duvet
• Bolsters in second bedroom - Made from old sheets
• Gold pillow in second bedroom - Made from an embroidered panel from an old jacket of my daughter's
• Round pillows in second bedroom - Merchandise Mart samples
• Square pillow in second bedroom - Turkish, from a rug showroom in the Mart
• Dustruffle in second bedroom - L.L. Bean
• Bed Cover and Shams in master bedroom - Bloomingdale's sale catalogue

• Kimono - On long-term loan from my daughter
• French Window - Architectural Artifacts
• Pastel Drawings - My daughter's work, age 5
• Photographs in dining/living room - The work of a friend and my daughter
• Hobo puppet in second bedroom - Gift, bought from street vendor in Prague
• Watercolors in master bedroom - My daughter's work, age 5
• Indonesian Puppets in bath - Architectural Revolution

Thanks, Pam!

Got a house tour you'd like to share with all of us? Email us today and we'll arrange it:

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