Jaclyn’s Down-to-Earth Live/Work Apartment

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

Name: Jaclyn Simpson, of Jaclyn Simpson Photography
Location: Lincoln Square; Chicago, Illinois
Size: 1,500 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years; Rented

Jaclyn is exactly the kind of wedding photographer you want with you all day during your big celebration: warm, generous, funny, and absolutely genuine. Her live/work space is filled with personal pieces and DIY projects galore, creating an earthy/quirky combination that is distinctly her own.

(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

This beautiful apartment has a lot of positive creative energy: it is rumored to have once been the dressing room area for a nearby theater. Jaclyn inherited the space from another photographer who was relocating, and has since had several other photographers share the front workspace with her as well, including Todd James Photography and Jennifer Kathryn Photography.

The layout makes it an ideal space for separating work and home life: after having visited a few times and only lingered in the front workspace, I was so surprised the first time that I laid eyes on the glass room! Jaclyn notes that it was a little challenging at first to move from a one bedroom apartment into a decidedly more spacious place, but she has carefully added to and crafted the entire apartment to suit her needs as both a working photographer and a full-time inhabitant.

(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Clean, modern with organic/warm elements.

Inspiration: Mid-century modern furniture designers, small mountain town cabins.

Favorite Element: The glass “ceiling” in the middle room.

Biggest Challenge: Attempting to move the desks to allow space for photo shoots.

What Friends Say: Most people particularly love the “glass room”.

Biggest Embarrassment: The floors are in terrible shape and not really in a “cool, old, worn out” kind of way.

Proudest DIY: I’m kind of a nerd and get really excited about pretty much any DIY project, but I guess I would have to say the pipe shelving unit or the photo ledge/shelf.

Biggest Indulgence: A few of the bigger furniture pieces.

Best Advice: Attempt to make at least one thing for your space. It will take longer and may cost you more in the end, but the satisfaction that comes from knowing you built it is totally worth it.

Dream Sources: Dwell, Style Files, Anthology, Poppy Talk, Design Sponge, Apartment Therapy, West Elm, Anthropologie, Kinfolk Magazine.

(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

Resources of Note:


  • Front room: Sherwin Williams : Creamy & Behr: Pewter Cast
  • Bedroom: Behr: Hillside Green
  • Kitchen: Behr: Starless Night


  • Sectional Couch : IKEA
  • Rug: Target
  • Pipe Shelving Unit: DIY Project
  • Book shelf: IKEA
  • End Table: Thrift Store Find restored by Jaclyn
  • Coffee Table: Ballard Designs
  • Shell Chairs: Eames (wooden replica legs on grey chair are from Modern Conscience)
  • Desks: Eric Stevens
  • Book Shelf: IKEA
  • Rocker: Replica Eames from Overstock.com
  • Cabinet: IKEA Craigslist Find
  • Wool Plaid Blanket: From Fleur Chicago (Faribault Mills)
  • Swiss Army Blanket: Army Surplus Store
  • Canvases: Jaclyn Simpson Photography & Todd James Photography



  • Table: CB2
  • Shelf: IKEA
  • Cart: IKEA
  • Items from Shelf & Cart:
  • roosters/rooster measuring cups: from Jaclyn’s great-grandmother
  • Cross: Made from nails/wood by Jaclyn’s Aunt (Darlene Pegg) from Great-grandmother’s house after it was torn down
  • Ceramic measuring cups: West Elm
  • Copper Twine Holder: West Elm
  • “Owl” and “7” Tiles: picked up on vacation in Italy
  • Hanging mug: Anthropologie
  • Ceramic bowls: made by Marlene Pegg (Jaclyn’s Mom)
  • Rolling Pin: Anthropologie
  • Ceramic & Wood containers: IKEA
  • Glass Jars: Target
  • Rooster Napkins: embroidered by Jaclyn’s great-grandmother
  • Small Bowls: Anthropologie
  • Stainless Steel Pour Over Kettle: Hario
  • Pour Over Coffee Maker: Chemex
  • Watercolor Paintings: Stan Adams
  • “Fairwell Big Shoulders…” Poster: Jesse McLean
  • Time Zero Polaroid Prints: Jaclyn Simpson
  • Metropolis Coffee Poster: The Bird Machine
  • Deer Letterpress Print: Gift from Jaclyn’s cousin (Dard Hunter Studios)
  • Ceramic dishes above stove: CB2
  • Butter Dish: Anthropologie
  • • wall-mounted bud vase: bought at Fleur Chicago
  • • Cream and sugar dishes: Anthropologie
  • • Yellow Shell Chair: Eames (replica wooden legs from Modern Conscience)
  • • Orange, yellow & green ceramic storage containers: from Jaclyn’s great-grandmother


  • Bed Frame: IKEA
  • Dresser: Target (painted by Jaclyn)
  • Shelf: IKEA (bottoms glass shelves were painted white)
  • • Prints on Shelves: Handmade by
  • Rocker: Eames (replica wooden rocker base from Modern Conscience)
  • Wool Blanket on Rocker: Pendleton
  • • Blanket on Bed: Hudson’s Bay Company

    • Painted Window Paint Art on Dresser: Amy Shay (Aunt Zuzu Art)

    • Loft: built by Eric Stevens

    • Stain Glass Lamp: Gift from Jaclyn’s Cousin

    • KOVAL Print: Gift from friend (purchased from Neighborly)

    • Small Wooden picture ledge: made by Jaclyn

    • Orange Abstract Painting: Trey Larsen

    • Square Prints: Photos by Jaclyn (prints by Artifact Uprising)

    • Barometer: was Jaclyn’s Great-grandfather’s

    • Pendant Lights: IKEA


  • Shower Curtain: Target
  • Wine Box Shelf: box purchased from Rebuilding Exchange
  • Grey Storage Shelf: Target (painted by Jaclyn, Hook from Anthropologie was added to the side)
  • Hand Towels: Target
  • • Paper wrapped soap bars: Anthropologie

    • Glass Bird Jar: World Market

    • Bath Salts: from Fleur Chicago


  • storage loft and work bench: Built by Eric Stevens
  • Chicago Oil Painting: Sara Miller
  • Intellegentsia Poster: Andy Wickstrom
  • Prints on Wood: Simply Jessie Photography
  • Fish Drawing: by Jaclyn
  • • Polaroid Prints: by Jaclyn

    • Watercolor Paintings: Stan Adams

    • Photograph of Fence: Marlene Pegg (Jaclyn’s Mom)

    (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

    Thanks, Jaclyn!

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