A Chicago Condo Makes Industrial Metal Carts, Tool Chests, and Acoustical Blankets Look Expensive and Luxe

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Name: Todd Haley, and my dog Henry a pit-lab mix
Location: Lakeview area — Chicago, Illinois
Type of home: Condo
Size: 900 square feet
Do you rent or own your home? 14 years, renting

My desk/dining table pulled up to the banquette for entertaining. The table base is from Room + Board while the 10' x 4' black laminate top was made by Wisconsin bench.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I am an interior designer who lives in a vintage 1924 building in Chicago. The design of my home was inspired by the work of Ward Bennett, Joe d’Urso, and Angelo Donghia. Many pieces were sourced from either retail stores or commercial/industrial vendors. The dining table/desk is the “parsons” table base from Room + Board on casters with a black laminate top. By day it is my desk, at night I can roll it up to the banquette (two cb2 twin-size bed frames with upholstered mattresses that also serve as guest sleeping) and seat 6-8 comfortably.

A corner view of my living room where a vintage Brutalist sculpture sits atop a Regency commode while a 4' square black canvas found online provides a backdrop.

Also, in the living area, a mid-century Brutalist sculpture by Chicago artist Richard Bitterman is perched on an ornate French Regency commode (a client reject). In the library area, shelves from Home Depot house a portion of my book collection and a rolling factory ladder allows me access to the upper shelves while a pair of French empire chairs provide a place to sit and read and have coffee. The low table is a restaurant table base with a black laminate top. The low canvas screens are from Wayfair and conceal my client binders/boxes while allowing easy access.

A corner of my bedroom with a Donghia "looking glass" floor mirror and a factory materials cart used as a night table.

In my bedroom I used two four-foot wide material handling carts, made for factories, as night tables and a tool chest from home depot serves as my dresser. Also in the bedroom, I painted the walls black and then lined them with acoustical blankets made for sound recording studios and factories as an alternate to upholstering the walls. The leaning mirror was bought as a floor sample from Donghia. In the design I made it a point to repeat materials and items—the bedroom’s bed frame, from cb2, is the same as the base(s) of the living room banquette all of which (including the empire chairs) are upholstered in five-dollar-a-yard black canvas.

A view into my bedroom with the bed drapery inspired by Joe d'Urso and the wall lined in acoustical blankets.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Edited. Curated. industrial.

What is your favorite room and why? The library because 1) it has the best view and gets the most natural light, and 2) it is a great place to sit down and have coffee while looking at a book or just plain relaxing.

A view looking into the library. Industrial shelving from Home Depot houses the books while low canvas screens, in the manner of Jean-Michel Frank, from Wayfair conceal client files.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? A mid-century Italian ceramic vase from eBay.

Another corner view of my bedroom with a vintage Artemide Sintesi floor lamp and a tool chest used as my dresser. The Knoll Tulip chair is upholstered in a Ralph Lauren damask.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Make pieces and spaces as multi-functional as possible—an extra deep sofa can sleep guests or a dining room can house a collection of books to become a library. Don’t use anything too “precious”—laminate table tops don’t require coasters and canvas is great for upholstery or drapery. Have/start a collection of something you love and show it off but grouped together for maximum impact. Think outside the box when looking for/at items—lab glass makes great vases while a welding table can function as an indestructible coffee table. Create layers of objects in a space to add warmth and interest. But most of all surround yourself with things that either evoke a memory or that make you smile and say “I can’t believe I live here.”

This submission’s responses were edited for length and clarity.