Michelle & Joshua’s Secondhand Compromise Apartment

updated Dec 19, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Michelle Pauly & Joshua Clark plus dog, Shimi, and cat, Harlie
Location: Humboldt Park — Chicago, Illinois
Size: 1000 square feet
Years lived in: 1 — rented

Michelle and Joshua reside in a vintage apartment overlooking Humboldt Park. As they mention in their survey, the couple must compromise on their styles in order to reach peaceful cohabitation. Joshua’s style leans more toward the 1970s log cabin vibe while Michelle favors a coastal/southwestern feel. Together, they have collected secondhand finds to create a compromised collaboration that we’ll call 70s-log-coastal-cabin.

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

I love a home that relies heavily on secondhand and found furnishings — and that’s definitely what you’ll find populating Michelle and Joshua’s apartment. From the refinished church pew to the DIY table on the back patio, this couple rules when it comes to turning one man’s trash into their own treasure.

The couple’s penchant for used goods should come as no surprise since Michelle runs a secondhand shop — Yellobirdd Vintage. The business primarily operates online so Michelle has a small third room in the front of the apartment where she is able to house her collection of merchandise.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: We’ve definitely had an interesting time finding a balance of our styles while living together. If Josh could have it his way we would either be living in a very 70’s inspired home or a log cabin and if I had it my way we would be living in a replica of a coastal cottage or a southwestern safe-haven. So in the end, we kind of took elements of all the things we love to create our apartment.

Inspiration: Blogs, websites, flea markets, magazines, movies, patterns, textures, nature … the list can go on and on 🙂

Favorite Element: The amount of space we have and our patio.

Biggest Challenge: Masking the oldness of the building without putting a ton of our own money into it because we’re just renting.

What Friends Say: That they always feel very comfortable and at home in our apartment.

Biggest Embarrassment: I would say it’s a toss up between our hallway full of fake flowers (from our neighbors) or our vinyl tile in the kitchen.

Proudest DIY: Josh’s expert church pew restoration skills.

Biggest Indulgence: The loveseat we had reupholstered.

Best Advice: Don’t be afraid to experiment. Mix and match things, you might be surprised what ends up happening. Have fun and fall in love with where you live.

Dream Sources: Salvage One, Three Potato Four, Anthropolgie, Etsy

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note: Grayslake Flea Market, Pop’s Place in New Buffalo, MI, the alley behind our house, Wolf’s Flea Market, Carlos & Sarah’s


    • Couch: Vintage (Goodwill)
    • Coffee Table: Vintage (Carlos & Sarah’s Surplus)
    • Yellow Chair: Vintage (Grayslake Flea Market)
    • Loveseat: Found in the alley but we had it reupholstered
    • Rug: Ikea
    • Curtains: Ikea
    • TV Cabinet: Vintage (The Ark)
    • Lamp: Harold Washington Public Library


    • Dining Table: From Josh’s Family
    • Rug: Ikea
    • Bookshelves: Ikea
    • Chair: Ikea
    • Foot Stool: Vintage
    • Church Pew: Vintage and restored
    • Nautical Lamp: Vintage
    • Curtains: Ikea



    • Bed Sheets: Target & Ikea
    • Headboard: Urban Outfitters
    • Dresser- Crate & Barrel
    • Nightstands- Ikea (her side) Alley (his side)



    • Table: Wood door we found in an alley with a sawhorse from Home Depot as legs
    • Chairs: Ikea
    • Lights: Target

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Michelle and Joshua!

Images: Jason Loper

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