Sarah's "Farmhouse Vintage Modern" in Logan Square

Sarah's "Farmhouse Vintage Modern" in Logan Square

Jason Loper
Dec 14, 2011

Name: Sarah E. Polster
Location: Logan Square — Chicago, Illinois
Size: 2,000 square feet (Top two floors of a 3-flat)
Years lived in: 8 — owned

Sarah's house was built in the late 1890s and, as with many older homes, it has the character traits of age. Slant-y floors and drafty windows are reminders that this building has stood tall on this lot in Logan Square for more than 100 years. Sarah has a penchant for things in "a perfect state of disrepair" so this house fits her farmhouse vintage vibe perfectly.

Sarah occupies the top two floors of this three-flat. She readily admits this is too much space for just one person but it was also an opportunity she couldn't pass up when she purchased the building. With the first floor rented out to tenants, Sarah set up her home on the upper two floors. The first of the two top levels contains the living and dining room combo, plus the kitchen and sunroom, while the third floor offers space for an office, bedroom, TV room and guest quarters. By having her bedroom and office on the third floor of the building, with a full floor between herself and her tenants, Sarah is assured to not experience any neighbor noise. (As I write this I can hear my neighbor's thumping R&B music and loud phone conversation... so you can imagine how much I relish Sarah's space!)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Farmhouse Vintage Modern

Inspiration: Anything in the perfect state of disrepair! Lately, I realize I have been unconsciously inspired by my grandmother's rural Lake Michigan property - rustic, patina'd, outdoorsy and peaceful. That, combined with studying historic preservation, years spent working at modernist architecture firm SOM plus the influence of uber-creative friends and loved ones mix to inspire my design choices.

Favorite Element: The space (embarrassingly large for one person, but I couldn't resist) and daylight (the top floor has unobstructed views on all sides).

Biggest Challenge: Living in an OLD building (1896) equals drafty windows, slanted floors, odd room configurations and handyman special "improvements" by previous owners. However, this has allowed me to master the art of applying window caulk in winter, the placement of shims under furniture, the frugality to save money for "glamorous" upgrades like new electric service and overall how to accentuate the positive!

What Friends Say: "Delightful." "Great colors." "Umm, can you do my place?" But, without fail, nearly EVERYONE says, "Wow, are those LEVELS? I love them." My standard comeback is, "I am a Libra, so I like to stay balanced." But the truth is, I just like them - and they remind me of my father, who's an engineer.

Biggest Embarrassment: After nearly eight years, I still haven't renovated the kitchen or bathrooms. I've also acquired too many THINGS, so I've begun to "de-acquisition" them through an Etsy shop.

Proudest DIY: This is tough, as I've tried to do a LOT myself - from sewing window treatments to installing light fixtures. But I'm truly proud of the amazing, original mid-century furnishings I've found by diligently scouring thrift and secondhand stores - and how I've managed to mix them with lots of funky industrial and rustic objects.

Biggest Indulgence: The sectional from Jayson Home & Garden (but at least I got it at a warehouse sale!). Jayson's Creative Director Caroline Scheeler rocks. Oh, and paying the heating bill!

Best Advice: Patience. Time flies, so don't be freak out if you can't have what you want immediately. The best homes are made over time. Enjoy the process in the meantime and have fun with your home. It's your refuge.

Dream Sources: The awesome thing is, my dream sources are also (almost) all my reality sources!

ABC Carpet and Home
A Lamp & Fixture Shoppe
Brooklyn Flea
Copenhagen Flea Markets
The Estate Sale of Ray and Charles Eames!
Fish's Eddy
Holly Hunt
Jayson Home and Garden
Maharam Showroom
Marco Polo Antique/Modern
Parisian Flea Markets
Shipshewana Antique Auction

Resources of Note:


    • Entry: Martha Stewart Muslin and Martha Stewart New Khaki
    • Living Room: Behr Monroe Bisque
    • Front Foyer: Martha Stewart Muslin
    • Dining Room accent wall: Benjamin Moore Intrigue
    • Bathroom: Valspar Celadon
    • Sun Room: Custom mix
    • Stairwell: Behr Castle Stone
    • Master Bedroom: Behr Gossamer Blue
    • TV Room: Glidden Sudan Sand
    • Office: Benjamin Moore Intrigue
    • Trim throughout: Benjamin Moore Decorator's White


    • Sectional - Jordan Sectional from Jayson Home & Garden
    • Rug - Oscar Isberian Rugs
    • Credenza - Paul McCobb (secret source)
    • Antique Aqua Table - The Ark (refinishing by Ted Harris)
    • Cityscape Oil Painting - Peter Fagundo
    • Eames Shell Chair on Rocker Base (secret source)
    • Pillows - IKEA and handmade by me


    • Danish Modern Teak Sideboard - The Ark
    • George Nelson Saucer Bubble Lamp
    • Burke Tulip Table - The Ark
    • White Naugahyde Swivel Base Chairs - Salvation Army
    • Sisal Rug - IKEA
    • Red Metal Letter S - Stonehouse on Cedar


    • Arthur Umanoff Wood Slat Bar Stools - craigslist
    • Photography - Pete Barreras
    • Work on Paper - Betsy Walton


    • Dresser - Thrifting find (repainted)
    • Saarinen Knoll Office Chair - Thrifting find (reupholstered)
    • End tables - Village Discount (repainted)
    • Pillow and chair fabric - Alexander Girard Quatrefoil from Maharam


    • Danish Modern rocker - St. Vincent DePaul
    • Bubble lamp - Pier One
    • Antique Black Table - Shipshewana Auction
    • Black Metal Trunk - Pine River Antiques


    • Sofa - The Ark (reupholstered)
    • Cateye painting - The Ark
    • Bookshelf - IKEA
    • Rug - Pottery Barn
    • Small silver arc lamp - The alley behind my last condo


    • Desk and Wardrobe - Antique store in Wisconsin
    • Emeco chair - Thrifting find
    • Florence Knoll Slipper Chairs -Thrifting find
    • Silkscreen - Keelin Meyer
    • Oil Painting - Erik Neff

Thanks, Sarah!

Images: Jason Loper

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