An Eclectic Chicago Reno Is Effortlessly Elegant

An Eclectic Chicago Reno Is Effortlessly Elegant

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Name: Kira Cole and two cats
Location: Gold Coast — Chicago, Illinois
Size: 1,080 square feet
Years Lived In: 8 months, owned

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My home was built in 1892, originally as a single family. In 1978, it was renovated into condo units. I actually grew up in the unit below, so I was very familiar with the building and neighbors when purchasing! When I first got my hands on it, it had not been renovated (not even paint touch-ups) since the 1978 renovation, so it was in serious need of love. I was inspired by the high ceilings and what was left of the original crown molding and trim. Currently, I live there with my two cats (who love racing down the hall) and am frequently visited by my family who continues to live in the unit below me.

Light pours in from outside and reflects well off the white walls and high ceilings of my living room. Being a vintage building, the rest of the rooms feel a little tight compared to contemporary standards, so the living room is the most airy. I love the contrast between the contemporary light fixture and the original crown moldings and trim. I toyed with the idea of putting the TV elsewhere, but knew this was the space I wanted to spend most of my time, so it’s the perfect spot to sit and relax or entertain.

See what this home looked like before Kira’s refresh → A Condo Untouched Since 1978 Gets a Fresh and Bright Makeover

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Eclectic; I like to play with combinations of traditional and mid-century.

Inspiration: My mother. I grew up in a space that was very rich in color, materials, and art. I wanted to create my own space that felt calm and comfortable, but with a nod to my parents’ eclectic home.

Favorite Element: The high ceilings! I’ve been in spaces with the same square footage as mine, but the 12-foot ceilings make everything feel so much more open. I’m not sure I would have bought the space with standard ceilings.

Biggest Challenge: Working with a vintage space is the biggest blessing and curse. I love the look, but when it came down to what’s going on behind the scenes (plumbing and electric), things got a little messy.

Proudest DIY: Most of my DIY was taking stuff apart! However, I had to become very familiar with painting furniture. It’s amazing what sort of second life otherwise dull pieces can have.

Biggest Indulgence: My 9’+ Restoration Hardware mirror. Not because of the price; I was actually able to stalk its way to the outlet until it was 85 percent off, but I knew once it was in the space, it wasn’t going anywhere. That’s a big commitment when you’re putting together a new space.

Best Advice: Starting off with a blank slate goes a long way. When I first entered my home, it needed a lot of love. I had to continuously imagine new floors and white walls and was able to build from there. Rome wasn’t built in a day! You have to be okay with the space coming together gradually; not forcing the issue with materials and decor that won’t stand the test of time.


I actually don’t know! I just told my painters to apply white; no frills, no other shades.

Mirror — Restoration Hardware Fleur-De-Lys Gilt Leaner Mirror
Gallery Wall – Assorted artists
Chairs – Hand-me-down
Buffet – Hand-me-down refinished by Ravenwood Revival

Loveseat – Magnolia Home Dapper Sofa, Emerald
Lucite Cocktail Table – Three Stars Vintage, Chicago
Chairs – Arhaus Pennie Chair
Chandelier — Linea di Liara Caserti 6 Light Chandelier
Pink Secretary Desk – Hand-me-down refinished by Ravenwood Revival
Floral Still Life Painting — Brigitte Wolf
Nude Bust — Eldon Danhausen
Literally everything else — Hand-me-down

Entire Dining Set (table and chairs) — Left by previous owner, refinished by me

Cabinets — Kountry Cabinets for the Homeowners Bargain Outlet (HOBO)
Quartz countertop — Homeowners Bargain Outlet (HOBO)
Washer and Dryer — Bosch 300 Series, ventless
Rug – Turkish runner from 4everrug on Etsy

Bed – Target
Chair – Harborside Slipcovered Chair
Nightstand — Safavieh Lyla Mid Century Retro Grey/ Silver/Grey Silver Cap Nightstand
Lamps – Thrifted
Trunk – Hand-me-down
Three Panel Mirror – Hand-me-down

Vanity and Sink – IKEA GODMORGON/RATTVIKEN in high gloss gray
Medicine Cabinet – IKEA STORJORM

Thanks, Kira!

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