Paul's Artistically Scavenged Apartment

Paul's Artistically Scavenged Apartment

Jason Loper
Apr 22, 2011

Name: Paul Munro
Location: West Andersonville — Chicago, Illinois
Size: 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: 6 months — rented

Who says you have to spend gobs of money on expensive furnishings to create a stylish home? Certainly not Paul Munro! And now that I've seen how Paul has been able to outfit an apartment in mostly scavenged goods, not me either.

Paul is one of those people who can take a a bunch of scavenged, mismatched pieces of furniture, arrange them around a room and it all comes together beautifully. Under other, less capable hands, it may have looked like the living room of Sanford and Son, but under Paul's creative eye, it works. I suppose this should come as no surprise. As an artist, Paul has a great eye for color and layout.

Paul has turned the dining room of his one-bedroom apartment into an art studio. This is where he creates his beautiful hand painted and decoupaged home decor pieces. On the day I visited, there was a row of hand painted wine glasses spread across the work table, awaiting their finishing touches.

Paul's artistic flair doesn't stop in his dining room studio. There are little reminders of Paul's creative style all over the apartment. One of my favorite elements is the light fixture that Paul made himself, which hangs over an old drum that has been converted into a table.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I would describe my design style as informal, unpolished, and very eclectic. I work from a very intuitive place so I pay a lot of attention to objects that hold a particular meaning. I love incorporating found objects and vintage pieces and re appropriating how they can be used. I have a vintage iron shelving unit that now houses my art supplies and paints.

Inspiration: I draw inspiration from road trips and flea markets and I have tons of decorating books and magazines. I love collecting unusual objects and imagining the stories behind them. I have a small collection of vintage metal toys that inspire me.

Favorite Element: My favorite possession is an old blue and white drum with brass trim that was converted into a coffee table. I found it at Scout on Clark Street several years ago and had to have it! It has served as a bedside table, a side table, and now is in the center of my living room.

Biggest Challenge: As an artist, I work and live in the same space. My biggest challenge is creating a layout that is both functional and inspirational. I've converted the dining room into my studio/work space. It's important for me to be surrounded by the things I love; objects, pictures, furnishings, paintings because the space where I live informs very intimately my creative and conceptual space.

What Friends Say: I'm always happy when my friends tell me that my apartment feels comfortable and inviting to them.

Biggest Embarrassment: My bathroom is still a work in progress.

Proudest DIY: This past year I downsized from a three bedroom apartment to a one bedroom. As an artist who works from home I had to create a space that was comfortable and functional without being over crowded. I also had to make some careful choices about what I had the space for. I think that I was able to incorporate two large tables and some really interesting pieces to create a warm and engaging environment.

Biggest Indulgence: Coffee tables are my biggest indulgence. I collect them like people collect art or shells or buttons. In short, I have way too many of them. You can change the feel of an entire room just by switching out a coffee table. I also have a thing for fireplace mantels. You can find a great vintage fireplace mantel for not very much money and transform your space. They are wonderful for anchoring a room visually and they create an atmosphere of warmth history.

Best Advice: Be yourself, trust your intuition, and follow your passion when it comes to decorating your home. It's important to take pleasure in the process and to allow things to change as your ideas about yourself and your surroundings evolve. It doesn't have to take a lot of money to make a room come to life and feel warm and inviting.

Dream Sources: Pavilion, Scout, Paris Flea Market, road trips, Jayson Home and Garden, Architectual Artifacts, books, poetry, film, flea markets-Sandwich County Fair

Resources of Note:


    • painted wood ladder: flea market
    • throws: Jeanette Farrier


    • coffee table: Scout
    • couches: Henredon
    • pillows: Anthropologie
    • green bottle lamp: Scout
    • fireplace mantel: flea market
    • chandelier: my design
    • farm table: Gary Marks
    • Bistro Chair: Paris flea market


    • table: garage sale
    • shelving units: Home Depot
    • lamp; Paris flea market
    • milk crates: Cottage Find

Thanks, Paul!

Images: Jason Loper

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