Sarah & Steve’s Attic Aerie

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Sarah, Steve, and Otto (our greyhound)
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Size: 2-bedroom rental, 1,000 sf (more or less)
Lived in: 4 months

As we come to the end of a month dedicated to “setting up home” on Apartment Therapy, I thought I’d offer a peek inside my new home that I share with my husband and our retired greyhound racer, Otto. We live in a renovated attic apartment on the fourth floor of a brick building. It’s the third and best home we’ve had in three years…

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

… and we’re hoping to stay here for a while. Moving so much (due mostly to landlord issues) has helped us to pare down what we own, and we’re finally at the point where we love pretty much everything we have. Our new apartment and landlord are great, and we have to give our landlord extra props for doing such a great job laying out and renovating the attic space. Our kitchen is small, but it contains a strategically placed dishwasher in the wall; the bedrooms are so big that we repurposed one into a den; and skylights make every space feel open and airy.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

AT Survey:

Our style: Second-hand modern with a minor in IKEA

Inspiration: Our friends’ and families’ homes, Apartment Therapy house tours

Favorite Element: The natural light. We’re on the top floor, and the entire east side of our apartment is lined with skylights.

Biggest Challenge: Working around the angled ceilings. Our low furniture luckily suits the space, and we incorporated lots of shelving and storage along the low walls.

What Friends Say: “You get such great light!”

Biggest Embarrassment: The ugly gray carpet in the living room and bedroom. Also, the fact that our dog has his own chair that’s pretty much unusable by humans at this point. We’ve cleaned the upholstery a couple times with the Bissell SpotBot, but it’s a losing battle.

Proudest DIY: Our friend Dave designed the dining room shelves and Steve helped to build them. Dave designed them so that they’d fill the wall and wrap the corner. They’re made of six different modules, so that we’ll be able to reconfigure them whenever we move again.

Biggest Indulgence: Our bed. It was our first “high-end” purchase that we really saved up for. It’s the Leggero bed from Design Within Reach, and we got a good deal on it at the DWR warehouse sale a few years ago.

Best advice: Since we started buying less and spending more time waiting for the right piece, our home has improved. Also, having people over regularly makes us enjoy our home (and our friends) more.

Dream source: Wright Auction House, international travel

Reality source: Craigslist, IKEA, family heirlooms

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


• The grid of vintage flashcards is from Ipso Facto in Three Oaks, Michigan.
• The hanging ceramic piece in the entryway is from Sprout Home.
• The embroidered portrait in the bedroom is by Jenny Hart.
• Steve bought the reproduction propaganda posters in Russia.
• Sculpture next to the Warhol book was made by Sarah’s uncle when he was a teenager.

Dining Room
• Shelves designed and custom-made by Dave Ksander: dksander(at)gmail(dot)com.
• The pink lamp is handmade, from bright lights little city.
• The secretary belonged to Sarah’s grandma.
• Sarah’s mom found the Danish modern dining table and chairs on craigslist.
• The tulip chairs were also craigslist finds.
• The orange shell chairs are from an antique store that I can’t remember the name of.
• The purple throw pillow is from Unison.
• Record cabinet is the IKEA PS.
• The speakers are handmade from Exeluxe.
• The white side table is the Componibili by Anna Castelli Ferrieri.
• The blue entryway piece is a hand-me-down that Sarah painted.

Living Room
• Coffee table is the Peakaboo from CB2, a gift from Sarah’s brother.
• The Case Study Daybed was a wedding gift from Steve’s parents.
• Otto’s armchair is from craigslist.
• The side table is a Shaker piece from Steve’s mom.
• The lamp was Sarah’s grandma’s.
• Sarah bought the sewing desk at an antique mall many years ago.
• The stool is the Prince Aha from Design Within Reach.
• The Gubi plywood chair was found second-hand via the Apartment Therapy classifieds.
• The media stand is the Smadal from IKEA.
• The “credenza” behind the sofa is made of Akurum kitchen cabinets from IKEA.

• The kitchen table was found through the Apartment Therapy Scavenger column!
• The kitchen chairs are also craigslist, from our dining room set.
• The light blue pantry cabinet is a hand-me-down.

• The bed is the Leggero, bought at a DWR warehouse sale in Hebron, Kentucky.
• Bedside tables are the Offi Mag Table and the IKEA Tolga.
• The bedroom hooks are from Urban Outfitters.
• The chair is a hand-me-down.
• The laundry baskets are TubTrugs.
• The pink bedspread is a quilt from Unison.
• Sarah made the pillowcases.

• Shower curtain is from Target, the white waffle weave.
• Bathroom shelf is the Grundtal from IKEA.
• Towels are old lines from CB2 and Zara Home.

• The table is the Bollo from IKEA and the bench is the Molger.
• The Orbit chairs are from CB2.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Images: Sarah Coffey

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