Peaches' Wonderfully Whimsical Bungalow

Peaches' Wonderfully Whimsical Bungalow

Smith Schwartz
Apr 6, 2012

Name: Peaches Freund — Creative Slushpot, Graphic Designer, Blog Proprietor
Location: Old Town, Chicago, Illinois
Size: 400 square feet, 2 bedroom "Rabbit Hutch Bungalow" circa 1890
Years lived in: 2 years; rented

When we got a tiny glimpse of Peaches' home last year in a house call, we knew that we needed to see more. Her home has an undeniable sense of happiness and fun. She has a knack for making beautiful objects out of unusual materials, and those who read Peaches' blog have long known the kind of whimsy and charm her many DIY projects possess. Now we get to see how they all fit together to make a wonderfully charming home.

What impresses me most about Peaches' home is how she truly sees beauty in everyday objects. From a chandelier made from drinking straws to a floral sculpture made from coffee filters, she gets big, unexpected results from small, common items. This sense of adventure and fun she brings to this vigilante crafting carries over into her home, with fantastic results.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Good gravy what a question! "Dorothy Draper meets John Waters," is how one friend described it, while another called it, "granny gone hair band punk." I like to think it's whimsical and warm. Candy colored. In a word: friendly. I cast value on things that are meaningful to me, not necessarily anybody else. I refuse to believe luxurious is synonymous for expensive (read: I'm ruthlessly cheap). House rule; I won't spend more than $20 on any item I don't need, except for things that are handmade. Sometimes I'll make exceptions for vintage treasures, but it's a rarity. In my mind, spending a week's pay on a work of art is a worthy investment, while spending $10 on a placemat from a department store would give me heart palpitations. Yeah, I'm weird like that.

Inspiration: I watched a lot of Designing Women and Pee Wee's Playhouse as a kid — f you know those shows and you look around my home, you'll see them everywhere. For a while there, I worked in retail merchandising and window dressing — that influence is always creeping in (whether I like it or not). My Mother was a big David Hicks fan, so I'm sure he is in the mix too. I'm currently a Miles Redd groupie. Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan are always fun and inspiring.

Favorite Element: The avocado fridge. I used to hate it. When I first moved in, I fantasized about covering it with stick-em wallpaper or chalkboard paint. Now it's grown on me like a dear old friend. His name is Roon. I'll be so sad to leave him when the time comes.

Biggest Challenge: Light. There are plenty of windows but they are all shaded by trees or other buildings, so natural light is scarce at best. The ceilings are too low for track lighting or anything interesting, so I have resorted to inserting twinkle lights in nearly every room. It's OK. Sometimes it feels a little too college-dorm-room-ish, but they lend atmosphere and warmth, especially in the winter months.

What Friends Say: Mixed. Some friends love it. They ask lots of questions and have occasionally gone so far as to roll around on the floor, rubbing their belly and soaking it in (not kidding). Other friends, ones who are more design conscious, get overwhelmed by the sight of it and say "It's great but you really need to edit. Here, I'll help" and just start yanking stuff off the wall and tell me to hide it under the bed. But what is the purpose in owning something beautiful if you keep it hidden under the bed? I say, take it out. Let it dance!

Biggest Embarrassment: Cheapo office carpeting. It's everywhere. I hide it with area rugs as best I can, but there is only so much you can do.

Proudest DIY: I got bored one morning and reupholstered my sofa in something called "minky cuddle fur" and turned the sofa into a giant cat bed (not pictured). It also made it ridiculously warm, so I have to cover it in a cotton blanket most of the time (pictured).

Biggest Indulgence: Art. I'm especially fond of outsider art. If budget and wall space allowed, it would take over the whole house. As is, I already keep a closet filled with nothing but other people's artwork. The apartment I am about to move into double the size, which is good, because sometimes I hear scratching sounds in the closet..."Let me out! Hang me up! I'm pretty too, you know!"

Best Advice: Outside of tennis and fire starters, try to avoid using the word "match." Forget the whole concept of "matching" colors, shapes, patterns etc, as though it were something desirable — we are talking about your home, not your bridesmaids. Just embrace what you like and live amongst the things that you love, eventually a rhythm will rear its head and everything else will follow. It's like a conga line: don't try too hard or it will look desperate. Let it happen on its own. Beauty is inevitable.

Dream Sources: Brimfield on Clark Street, Jayson Home and Garden, Big Lots, Good Will, Restaurant supply stores, certain alleys on the south side (sorry, I'm not giving away all my secrets).

Resources of Note:

Paint Colors

    • Valspar: Kitchen paint custom matched to a stick of butter
    • Everything else: Landlord's choice (unknown)

Living Room

    • Bookshelves: Ikea
    • Sofa: Inherited
    • Coffee Tables: Ikea, decoupaged in pages of "Greg's Shorthand"
    • Book Wall: Pages of "Anne of Green Gables" attached with painter's tape
    • Black and White Dresser: Dresser found in alley and painted. Knobs by Anthropologie.
    • Lamp: Garage Sale
    • Yellow Arm Chair: Found in alley. Cushions bleached and trim spray painted yellow (Valspar)
    • Sequin Pillow: Made from a vintage skirt
    • Green Arm Chair: Found in alley, reupholstered in vintage curtains.
    • Hindu Pillow (on green chair): Souvenir a friend brought back from India
    • Red ceramic Stool: Big Lots
    • Flower Head: aka "Mrs. Jimenez" sculpture with flowers made from coffee filters. Glasses leftover from a bachelorette party.
    • Blue and white striped vases: Jonathan Adler for HSN
    • Green Sofa pillow: Based on vintage Vera scarf print, sold at Anthropologie
    • Ceiling light: DIY project made from a wire plastic and plastic bags
    • Green Chandelier: Target, spray painted green with plastic bottle embellishments
    • Straw Cluster Chandelier: DIY project made from drinking straws
    • Rug: Designer unknown, purchased from Macy's warehouse
    • Mirror: Found in alley, decoupage with origami paper
    • Art: Various sources


    • Wallpaper: Ikea curtain stretched to fit
    • Black Velvet Painting of Inigo Montoya: Velvet Geek
    • Bookshelf: Wooden bookshelf left in former apartment
    • Fan: Flea market


    • Striped towel: Target
    • Garland Chandelier: Made from wired gift garland
    • Painting: Nancy Wickum
    • Pale green vanity: Found in alley and painted Martha Stewart "Celery Stick", knobs salvaged from an old medicine cabinet.
    • Flamingo Dressed as Pippi Longstocking: Kelly Gibson
    • Solid Gold Pooping Gnomes: Plastic gag gift, later coated in 24k gold leaf


    • Papel Picado Flags: Casa Bonampak
    • Cat TeePee: Loyal Luxe
    • Bottles Flowers: DIY
    • Batman planter: Made from a trick-or-treat bucket.

Thanks, Peaches!

(Images: Aunt Peaches)

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