James and Dom's Patience in Pilsen

James and Dom's Patience in Pilsen

Heather Blaha
Dec 9, 2013
(Image credit: Dom Cordilla)

Name: James Wurm and Dom Cordilla
Location: Pilsen; Chicago, Illinois
Size: 950 square feet
Years lived in: 2.5 years; rented

The Wurm Storefront Kitchen & Studio tour from 2010 was one of my favorites. When I found out that James had since moved into a new apartment, undertaking another rental renovation (this time with the creative input of his partner, Dom), I knew it too would be deserving of an online showcase.

(Image credit: Dom Cordilla)

On their blog, The Heart & The Wurm, James and Dom share the "neat things" from their life: cooking good food and building good stuff. These guys aren't afraid of the big challenges, and never miss the small details. Much like James' old storefront, this Pilsen apartment is comfortable and personal. It is designed for cooking and sharing, drinking and reading, relaxing and gathering. Nearly every inch of the place has gotten a lift to suit their lifestyle, and been given the attention it deserves. We hope their landlord is entirely impressed.

(Image credit: Dom Cordilla)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Homey and functional.

Inspiration: We're inspired by our favorite bars and restaurants, places we like to hang out with friends.

Favorite Element: The bar. It brings an architectural element and nice lighting to the dining room.

Biggest Challenge: Painting. When we signed the lease, the living room had four shades of brown and the kitchen six shades of red, and the bedrooms were painted electric blue and neon green. We rented a powered paint sprayer and primed the entire apartment. Over the next year, slowly we decided on the colors of each already moved-in room.

What Friends Say: They're always blown away by the library.

Biggest Embarrassment: I get using linoleum flooring in high traffic, high turnover apartments, just not a brick patterned one.

Proudest DIY: The pegboard wall. I've never liked digging through drawers for tools, and wanted a wall that could truly house everything within reach. A friend casually suggested lighting it from behind, and I never looked back. I don't think I could ever live without it.

Biggest Indulgence: The library. Built-in floor-to-ceiling wraparound shelving to house our graphic novels, design magazines, and books.

Best Advice: Patience and commitment. Take your time deciding what you want to do, and commit to executing once you start.

Dream Sources: Salvage One, Jayson Home & Garden

(Image credit: Dom Cordilla)

Resources of Note:


Behr — Stealth, Truffle, Ash, Cherry Red


IKEA shelving and furniture, and family heirloom pieces


Patio furniture by Comptoir des Famille


IKEA shelving, pegboard from Home Depot, Kitchen-aid appliances


a lot of pieces, odds and ends, picked up at flea markets, thrift stores, or alley picking

(Image credit: Dom Cordilla)

Thanks, James and Dom!

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