Sam & Linsey’s Thoughtful Chicago Home

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

Name: Sam Rosen and Linsey Burritt
Location: Noble Square — Chicago, Illinois
Size: 3,000 square feet
Years lived in: 5 years; Rented

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Linsey and Sam met in 2008. In 2009, Linsey realized her new friend Sam was the best friend she ever made so she asked him to dinner on graph paper. At the end of 2014, Sam asked Linsey, on an index card (her favorite) if she would marry him. This June they wed at the Garfield Park Conservatory (they love plants). Their space is infused with poetic sparseness. It’s calm, modern, and minimal, yet brought to life with plants and loving touches.

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Sam, Linsey, and Eli in their light-filled bedroom (Image credit: Brittany Purlee)
(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

The couple share what they call a “love wall” in the office nook, in which they post thoughtful messages, photos, and keepsakes. Small reminders of appreciation are scattered affectionately throughout the home. A repetition of circles subtly brings cohesion and calm. Their strong sense of design and dedication to minimalism brings a type of elegance that only comes through the continuous process of refinement.

(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

Sam has started a number of businesses including The Post Family, Desktime, One Design Company. He loves to take photos, take Eli (the dog) on walks and to explore new places. Linsey is the co-founder of INDO. She loves to cook, make art and has a secret power of finding hidden gems at thrift stores, garage sales, estate sales and dumpsters.

This is Linsey and Sam’s first place together and they are plotting next steps in building a home together. I left their beautiful home feeling motivated to refine my own space in a way that inspires me on a deeper level.

(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Eclectic, minimal, sentimental, thoughtful.

Inspiration: We are inspired by quality craftsmanship and minimalism.

Most of our pieces have been found at flea markets, thrift stores, craigslist, heck even a few from the dumpster and many of them are far from perfect. You could say we are inspired by this process. It’s slow and unexpected. There is an element of discovery and we love that.

Favorite Element: Our love wall. Sam has the habit of creating these in spaces where he works. He had one in his co-working space that his web company ran and when they expanded to the 5th floor, he started an entirely new one. One day I mentioned we should start one together and now (unintentionally) it is starting to form a heart. It is something that is constantly evolving and sometimes Sam will rearrange a few things to leave a hidden message. It’s unrefined, light-hearted and sentimental. It really just plays at all my heart strings.

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge was utilizing all the space in a way that didn’t make it feel bare, but also so it didn’t feel chaotic. It was a struggle finding a way to divide the living room from the dining room. Originally the wall unit was for that divide and it was way too heavy visually. So we pushed it to the bedroom planning to sell it until we realized that was where it needed to be. Sometimes you have to live in a space for a while to know what works.

What Friends Say: If you ever move…

Biggest Embarrassment: Our space isn’t perfect, nor are the pieces in it and there is a beauty in that, however, there has been an on-going battle with replacing the light fixtures. That is the caveat with how we source everything. We are at the mercy of the hunt and that hunt can be loooong. The lights in the guest bedroom and both bathrooms are the last to go. Let me just say there was purple glitter involved in the dining and living room.

Also, the pain with renting a space is having to hold back the desire to make large renovations. The kitchen cabinets and island don’t match and I’ve held back the urge to rehab the whole thing. I’ve thought about simply painting, replacing the doors with something more modern and all the knobs, but it just isn’t worth the investment!

Proudest DIY: The plant shelf. Have we told you how much we love plants? There was a period though where I felt like were maxed out and then Sam said to me “So, I’d really like to get more plants.” It made me laugh. I added “We are running out of places to put them!” So I built him a plant shelf. It also acts as a room divider. The biggest challenge with this big open space is making it feel divided but not shut off. The plant shelf was the perfect balance for dividing the room but allowing it to still feel airy and open.

The wood we used for the shelves was salvaged from a building in Logan Square that had a fire so that is why the there are varying degrees of burnt edges. Together, we planed all of it to the point of saw dust coming out of our noses. I think our relationship reached a new level with that project.

Biggest Indulgence: The fireplace (when we use it).

Best Advice: Things change. Don’t rush the process. Our space has been slowly evolving for years and it is in that flexibility where we make some great discoveries (as well as some bad ones).

Dream Sources: The Wright Auction House is right across the street, if only we could afford to shop there.

(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

Resources of Note:


  • Mythic Classic White
  • The black is chalkboard paint, the gray we aren’t sure on the brand

  • Black / White Mid Century Circle Art : The Dumpster 10 years ago
  • Alex Fuller Record Print

  • Chad Kouri Paper Painting
  • Danish floor lamp : Flea Market
  • Credenza : Thrift Store
  • Little white lamp on fireplace : Thrifted
  • White coffee table : Salvage One 10+ years ago
  • Barn wood console table made by our buddy Brian Guido
  • Grey gus sofa : Stitch in Bucktown
  • Mask from Belize : gift from Linsey’s sister

  • Built-in book shelf + desk : Sam built!
  • Copper Lamp : thrift store find of a lifetime
  • ‘How things work in your house and what to do when they don’t’ : antique mall
  • Chad Kouri – various prints
  • Alex Fuller – heart
  • ‘I don’t know how you put up with me’ and ‘I life you’- Matthew Hoffman
  • Love Print : a project Linsey worked on with her company INDO

  • Danish dining table : Craigslist
  • 4 clam-style chairs : Craigslist
  • 2 mid century side chairs : Post 27. We reupholstered in white leather remnant
  • Turn of the Century rug : flea market
  • BAR NOOK (Eli’s favorite nap spot):

  • Dried hydrangeas from Linsey’s mothers garden in a bottle of Cointreau she found in her parents bar that was at least 40 years old.
  • It’s Ok – Matthew Hoffman
  • Mid Century mixing kit : Gift from Linsey’s sister
  • Vintage seltzer bottle : flea market
  • Broyhill brasilia bar : Thrifted
  • Black tufted black sofa (Eli’s bed) : Form of payment from a client of Sams
  • Cocktail recipe box : a collection of recipes to Sam I orchestrated for his birthday a few years ago

  • White Mid Century pendant above island: craigslist
  • White pendant above dining table : bought from friend
  • Yellow copco stool : thrifted
  • Mid century turner wall art piece : craigslist
  • Vintage tea kettle + yellow pot : flea market
  • Large white pot : trade for a window display
  • White Le Creuset dutch oven : a gift from Sam
  • ‘Do the dishes tomorrow” print : Letterform
  • Hanging fruit basket : thrifted

  • Dried Crispedia Art Installation by Linsey
  • Circle of rocks : Linsey found on the beach in her hometown Stevensville, MI
  • Light Fixture : Linsey made out of salvaged string
  • All bedding from Unison Home
  • Turn of the century frame : Salvage One : April 7’s made it into a mirror
  • White enamel desk : craigslist
  • Platform bed : craigslist
  • Vintage round mirror : Linsey’s mom found at a flea market
  • African woven hamper : estate sale
  • Danish wall unit : estate sale
  • Green ashtray bean bag : Linsey’s grandmothers
  • White wood blocks : Aaron
  • Raw wood puzzle : a local market in Thailand
  • Print by Linsey’s Aunt Anne from the 70’s. She inspired Linsey to get into Art.

  • Vintage rug : Post 27

  • Painting above bed : Our friend SimpleScott
  • Bed frame : Inherited from a friend, originally from Crate + Barrel
  • All bedding from Unison Home
  • Green vintage desk + grey knoll chair: Taking care of for our friend Charles
  • Cedar chest : hand me down from the Burritt farm in NY
  • Black vintage desk lamp : flea market

  • Dried flower crown our friend Foxglove Studio taught Linsey to make
  • Vintage rug : Flea Market
  • Prayer Rug : Estate Sale
  • Thanks, Sam and Linsey!

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    Re-edited from a tour originally published April 2015 — AB