Jason & Michael's Beautifully Structured Bohemian

Jason & Michael's Beautifully Structured Bohemian

Sarah Rae Smith
Sep 28, 2009

Name: Jason Loper & Michael Schreiber
Location: Rogers Park, Chicago
Size: 800 square feet
Years lived in: Purchased 2 ½ years ago

You might have heard us mention the name Jason Loper around the proverbial water cooler lately, as his repurposed storage and office makeover have been making well deserved waves. He and his husband Michael call Rogers Park, Chicago home and have made quite the little handmade haven, that sports a bright bohemian vibe that packs quite a punch...

Jason is the mastermind behind Zola Jones in Chicago. He slaves away every day behind his sewing machine making most wonderful bags and accessories. When he comes home, he's designed a space that not only reflects their style, but gives everyone a place to take a break and truly enjoy being home!

Every inch of space has been maximized in this 800sqft space. The colors make it come alive and keep it feeling comfortable, cozy and energetic all at the same time. There's lots of little details to catch as you check things out, look for chalkboard paint in the kitchen, a cat door into the pantry, vintage treasures, a closet/office combo, framed out diy silhouettes of the whole family (including the cat!) and best of all fabric wainscoting in the dining room. There's diy around every corner and the touches they bring add personality and truly finish off the space!

AT Survey:

My/Our style: I describe my style as structured bohemian. I like clean, organized and open spaces but I also like to mix patterns and textures.

Inspiration: After being a renter for so long, I was excited to get to PAINT so color has played a large role in our home. Mostly I went with light pastels; the chalkboard paint in the kitchen and dark green in the bedroom are the darkest.

Favorite Element: We intentionally bought a third floor unit for the light and do we ever get it! With east and west facing windows we have light even on dark Midwestern days. My other favorite element is our building's close proximity to the El. When I was a kid in rural Ohio, I couldn't wait to grown up move to a city with public transportation. So in the middle of the night, when I hear the speaker from the train platform announce "bing bong doors closing," I smile.

Biggest Challenge: Staying organized and clutter-free after downsizing from a 1500 sf rental to an 800 sf condo.

Favorite Room: Kitchen/Dining Room. We're inevitably in one of these two rooms – which is why I was confident we could live in a small home when we considered downsizing. I'm usually in the kitchen – cooking, crafting, or cleaning – while The Mister sits with laptop at the table.

What Friends Say: It feels homey and warm.

Proudest DIY: Using the outdoor upholstery fabric as "wainscoting" in the dining room. It was one of the first things I did when we moved in and I still love it. The fabric's texture and deep copper color lend warmth to the room.

Biggest Indulgence: Elfa shelving from Container Store. It is so worth the investment. Sure, Home Depot makes a cheaper version but you really get what you pay for in this instance. Elfa shelving is super durable and easy to install.

Best advice: It can be very difficult to get started on a project. It can feel totally overwhelming until you get started. So just jump in! Take a Friday night, pour yourself a glass of wine, grab a paintbrush and jump into the project. Once you get started it's fun. And if it's not fun, the wine will help.

Had Forever: The vintage Marshall Field's desk is one of the few big, old pieces of furniture we kept after downsizing. It's a little oversized for our space — measuring a massive 38" x 32" — but our love of Chicago history just won't let us give it up. Plus the deep drawers make for great storage space.

Dream source: Jonathan Adler

Reality Source: Alleys and Flea Markets

Just got: The captain's bed — it's a little tall and the kitty makes a great thump! when she jumps off it in the middle of the night, but this one piece of furniture replaces the three pieces we had in the bedroom previously.


Furniture: IKEA, Kane County flea market, Target.com
Accessories: The curtains are handmade by Jason.
Lighting: The fixture in the dining room is from Neiman Marcus, most rooms have can lighting, or ceiling fans. The accent lamps are a mix of vintage and Target finds.
Rugs and Carpets: FLOR
Beds: www.furniture.com
Artwork: I've used a lot of mirrors to decorate in our home – both for vanity and to make the space feel larger. The artwork around is all DIY — from silhouettes in the living room to fabric in the entryway and so forth.

(Thanks, Jason & Michael!)

If you'd like to learn more about Jason's endeavors, check out the links below!

Zola Jones Designs
Zola Jones Blog

Images: Jason Loper

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