This Chicago Condo Is Home, Home Office, and Now Even Podcast Recording Studio
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Name: Jeff Miller and Anthony Navarro with their dogs Mickey, Prince, Poptart, and Jax
Location: We live in East Lakeview in Chicago.
Size: 1,400 square feet
Type of Home: It’s a condo in a vintage, three-story walk-up.
Years lived in: 3.5 years, owned
When we found our home, we were not even looking for a new apartment. It popped up as a listing on a Saturday. Anthony saw it and thought, wow, this is everything we would want in a new home. Jeff, who was in Michigan at the time agreed and immediately caught a train into the city so they could be the first to tour it on Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. From the moment we entered the door we fell in love with the craftsmanship and the preserved original woodwork of the apartment. The offer went in on Monday morning and it was accepted on Monday evening. It was meant to be.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Our styles differ. Jeff is more traditional and Anthony leans towards more modern.
Inspiration: We wanted to respect the vintage and original qualities that the condo has but bring in updated elements through furniture and artwork as a nod to ever-changing design over the years. We are both inspired by warmth, comfort, and connection. In both our businesses the intention is to tell stories and celebrate accomplishments. We wanted our home to be a place for that as well when we all gather and connect with loved ones for a reprieve from the day to day.
Favorite Element: Our favorite elements about the home are all of the original woodwork and trim from 1914 along with the original built-in cabinets in the living room that frame the fireplace and the dining room hutch.
Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge had to be in the living room. It’s a longer, narrow space with a built-in bench at a bay window. We had a difficult time when we first moved in trying to configure the space. It took us some time and a variety of furniture and pieces to make the room feel cohesive. Recently, we replaced a sofa in the room and realized it works great with two sofas and the built-in bench works well as a reading nook right in the window. We love having the separation and a space to read and relax, while looking out at the trees in our window.
Biggest Indulgence: The blue couch in our living room. It’s large, plush, and so comfortable!
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? Before we moved in, the owner before us converted one of the bedrooms into an office. There are built-in cabinets, work stations, and all the woodwork was redone to match the original woodwork of the rest of the apartment. It works great for us as we both work from home.
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? We dated when we were younger and when we reconnected 10 years later we each had two dogs, so Jeff loves his Dyson handheld vacuum to keep the house clean with having four dogs. Anthony loves his cast-iron skillet to cook dinner. Even with our busy schedules, we try to cook and sit down for dinner every night of the week.
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Time is a valuable currency in life so it is very valuable to stay organized, here are a few of our tips.
1. Only keep what you use. If something is no longer serving you it’s time for that thing to serve someone else. If you have not used an item or worn that article of clothing in a year, donate it to your favorite charity.
2. Create systems for where items go that make sense with your daily flow as a family unit. Communication is very important in creating these systems to benefit everyone. There are certain areas where we keep different items. Once you dedicate space for certain items, that is the only place those items can go. For example, we have a cabinet in our kitchen that holds tools and supplies not often used but very necessary when needed. In that one cabinet, those are the only items that we put there.
3. Put items back where they belong. If you make a habit of taking an item from its designated place and put it back there when you are done using it, you will keep yourself organized without having to do any extra work. The systems will break down if we don’t maintain them.
4. Life will bring change so don’t be afraid to sit down and talk about ways to make things better in the home to complement your needs.
What’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Start with inspirational photos. Figure out what you are drawn to and be able to point to items that you can see. Once you have those concepts down, you can start putting together a design board. For example, when we decorated the living room last year, we looked at photos that inspired us. We loved the idea of having darker paint on the walls and integrating travel as part of the aesthetic. That led to looking for oversized, plush furniture along with unique items, like our side tables that happen to be travel trunks. It all starts with a little photo inspiration and that gives you the foundation to start building a room. And start with one piece — furniture, artwork, an artifact — and build from there.
- Brock Sofa — Roy’s Furniture
- Stockholm Cushions
- Ostby steel and mercury lamp — Wayfair
- Ludlow Trunk End Table – Pottery Barn
- ‘Hip Llama I’ by Victoria Borges — Wayfair
Thank you Jeff and Anthony!
This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.
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