Pablo & Rob's Woodsy Wanderlust

Pablo & Rob's Woodsy Wanderlust

Smith Schwartz
May 14, 2010

Name: Pablo and Rob (roommates)
Location: East Village/West Town, Chicago, Illinois
Size: 900 square feet, 2 bedrooms
Years lived in: 4, rented

When roommates Pablo and Rob found their apartment four years ago, they were first attracted by the light. Tucked away in Chicago's East Village, the building faces west with a wooded lot to the south and a one-story building to the north, making for a cheery, light-filled home, despite the (non-metaphorical) rain and clouds looming over our visit.

Having grown up in a temperate region of Chile, Pablo has had to adjust to the often harsh and always long Chicago winters. When he's longing for sunshine, he cheers himself up by shopping for plants. So far, he estimates his collection to be over 100 pieces of live greenery!

In addition to being inspired to bring the outdoors in, Pablo's style has also been influenced by his many travels. One of his favorite wanderlust rituals is to seek out interesting textiles (everything from rugs to blankets to baby slings) and document their stories. When he's in a new city, finding the right textile includes going right to the source and meeting the person who made it while archiving their exchange with photographs. Someday, he plans on displaying the photographs alongside the textiles to remind him of the people he's met around the world.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

(Survey answered by Pablo)

My/Our style: Eclectic Collections

Inspiration: Ethnic textiles, travel and nature. I always try to bring the outdoors into the apartment. My ideal living space combines indoor living and outdoor living. I am a big collector, so basically anything that I can get my hands on becomes my favorite element. I have gone through several periods, but there are some that are more or less permanent. I get a lot of inspiration from my trips and my upbringing in Chile. Every time I travel I try to engage as much as I can with the local people. One of my favorite collections is my textiles, which includes a series of ethnic fabrics from several countries. I also find a lot of inspiration in fossils, which are part of my collections too.

Favorite Element: Wood and wool and green leaves.

Biggest Challenge: To get "the nook" (spare space off the living room, yes, it has a name!) to be part of the living space. We tried many things, for a while we even blocked it with the couch, and left it just empty. We finally found a vintage daybed that helped us make it useful and complete.

What Friends Say: I think most people like it. They usually notice the carpet first and then the numerous pieces of artwork on the walls. They have also commented about how put together it is, and that everything seems to go so well together and make the place very cozy.

Biggest Embarrassment: Well, one morning we woke up sleeping in the apartment entrance with all the doors open to the street and slices of pizza stuck to our faces... a mess. Not the way I'd like people to see my apartment... (nor us!)

Proudest DIY: I am very proud of the apartment as a whole, and the objects that make it the space it is. I am proud of my plants. They bring some life and green to my life during the obscure winters in Chicago. I specially like my collection of tillandsias in the bathroom as well that in a way remind me of my grandmother's garden back at home. One of my favorite projects was to fix my "wooden" bike that was during the height of my funny obsession with faux bois contact paper few years ago. During that monothematic time, I covered my bike, books, table, and even the wall and some funny artwork with wooden contact paper.

Biggest Indulgence: I just bought a huge (40 inch) TV that has yet to arrive! In the past I hated TV's. All my friends are kind of surprised that I would spend such amount of money on a TV... but since I hate them I wanted the least obtrusive one. It's a very thin one, but it happens to cost more. Funny, if you dislike giant TV's, you have to pay more to keep it out of sight.

Best advice: Recycle. We recycle everything, even though the city of Chicago is not always on our side. We also keep compost and we are going get a rainwater collector to water my plants with pure water from the sky-- yay!

Dream source: Wright Auction House. Even though I find the whole pure mid-century modern style a little sterile, I always seem to find amazing stuff in that auction... it's so painfully expensive though!

Resources: My resources range from Salvation Army to Home Depot. I love going around town looking for all the thrift stores in search of whatever catches my eye. I also go to the beach or forest reserves in search of moss. I find moss to be amazingly decorative and it looks awesome in little terrariums around the house. I got some of my furniture from Craig's List, which is always a good option but takes a lot a patience!

(Thanks, Pablo and Rob!)

Images: Smith Schwartz

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