Cool Furniture and Cat Paintings in a Chicago Rental Home

updated Apr 29, 2019

Cool Furniture and Cat Paintings in a Chicago Rental Home

updated Apr 29, 2019
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Name: Kayla Benedict and Erick Pausz
Location: Lincoln Square — Chicago, Illinois
Size: around 1,200 square feet
Years lived in: 2.5 years, renting

Kayla and Erick met nearly seven years ago, and shortly after started selling mid-century furniture out of their garage together. What started as a hobby quickly grew into a business! Now their mid-century modern furniture company, Shark Gravy, has a store front, 16K+ Instagram followers, (and probably as many satisfied customers!), and its owners finally have a home they love.

Since Erick and Kayla hunt down and restore beautiful furniture for a living, a lot of that vibe has translated into their space. Their home is filled with unique vintage finds, sentimental pieces collected on numerous secondhand shopping excursions and sourcing trips abroad to Denmark, and lots of funky art. After two and a half years of renting this space, they feel they’ve gotten it to a place that they’re proud of. Here’s what they have to say about their style, furniture, and never having too many cat paintings.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Vintage Scandinavian modern with a flair for weird animal art.

Inspiration: Mid-century furniture design.

Favorite Element: The kitchen/dining nook: Custom storage benches by my dad. Custom-made cushions in deep green velvet. Vintage MOMA light pendant from an estate sale. Vintage tulip table find from Craigslist. Chairs found in Denmark on one of our importing trips!

Biggest Challenge: Keeping clutter at bay.

What Friends Say: It’s always changing!

Biggest Embarrassment: The cat ruined our new couch already by scratching the arms.

Proudest DIY: An Eames’ Hang It All that Erick made from bending and welding steel, or the faux marble contact paper kitchen counters I installed myself!

Biggest Indulgence: Scandinavian credenzas—not only for the sweet style but also for storage since we have no closets!

Best Advice: Don’t worry about matching wood tones around the room. Buy what you love; mixing it up is more fun.

Dream Sources: SO many of our favorite pieces of art or decor were found along a yearly road trip (The World’s Longest Yard Sale, to be exact, that stretches from Michigan down to Alabama—which we’ve done four times)


Nadia Rug — Lulu & Georgia
Rosewood Bookshelf, Teak Executive Desk, Teak Sideboard — Imported from Denmark
Frame — PictureFrames
Bookshelf — IKEA
Light Pendant — Etsy

Ainsley Sofa — Interior Define
Mustard Velvet Curtains — Amazon
Planter — Anthropologie
Pillow — Marimekko in Finland
Lounge Chair and Small Bookshelf — Imported from Denmark
Teak credenza — Olde Chicago Antiques

Letter Sorter — Anthropologie
File Drawers — IKEA
Desk — Wayfair
Picture Frame — Target
Loom — Craigslist
Teak Cart — Estate sale
Rug — Flea market in Helsinki
Dresser — Estate sale

Bed Frame — Amazon
Headboard and Dressers — Mid-Century/Estate sales

Custom Made Storage Benches — By Kayla’s Dad
Vintage MOMA Light Pendant — Estate sale
Vintage Tulip Table — Craigslist
Chairs — Found in Denmark on one of their importing trips

Bath Cart — IKEA

Thanks, Kayla and Erick!

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