Name: Steve, Jeremy and dogs Squirt, Elij, Leo & Pogo
Location: Medical District — Chicago, Illinois
Size: 3,000 square feet single family home
Years lived in: 8 months — owned
Most Apartment Therapy readers are champs when it comes to small space living. I'm continually impressed by the creativity and ingenuity that I find when shooting tours of extra teeny homes. But every now and then, I come across homeowners who don't have the same space restrictions that most of us deal with. With a whopping 3,000 square foot home, Jeremy and Steve have the opposite situation, yet still manage to bring a keen eye for detail to their clean, contemporary home.
Larger homes can all too easily become disjointed; each room becomes its own little world without a sense of belonging to the rest of the house. However, Steve and Jeremy have styled their home with a subtle thematic consistency that provides a sense of cohesion and calm while each space retains its own sense of personality and purpose. With so much space, Steve and Jeremy are easily able to entertain many guests and offer comfy overnight accommodations when friends are traveling to Chicago. In fact, their home has become a popular destination for their traveling castmates and coworkers from Wicked the Musical (they are both dancers/actors/singers/coreographers). Perhaps it is because Steve and Jeremy are creative professionals that tackling DIY projects quickly and efficiently is no problem. They have taken on several serious projects in the 8 short months that they've owned their home. From rebuilding walls to designing a lush outdoor space to completely finishing a basement, Jeremy and Steve attack each problem with can-do attitudes and adventurous spirits, and the results have been fantastic.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: We would have to define our style as contemporary comfy chic. It has a sense of clean lines, but is still inviting to our guests without being too sterile or stark. It's nice to have a modern feel with the furnishings and paint colors, but decorate the house with pillows, throws, accessories and other items that add comfort and a sense of who we are.
Inspiration: Our inspiration for the house came from our curtains in the living space by the fireplace. We liked the colors in them and chose to stay in that palate on the main floor. The circles form the curtains provided inspiration throughout the house and are repeated in the lighting fixtures, the wall decor and numerous other items.
Favorite Element: Jeremy: The upstairs guest room. The clean, crisp and calming feeling I get from being in there with the white walls, black and white photography and eggplant accent wall is my favorite element in our house. Steve: The backyard. It is such a blessing to have an outdoor space in Chicago. Being able to build the backyard from the ground up, literally, has been so much fun. The lush foliage, accented colors, sunlight and layout are great for a cup of coffee in the morning or a party with friends at night.
Biggest Challenge: The basement. When we purchased the house, the basement was nothing but concrete and studs. We had to finish the living room, bedroom, hallways, stairs and most importantly the bathroom... all on a budget! We are extremely happy with the results, although we still need to finish the trim. We were able to stay on budget, finish 98% of it quickly, and got to have some more color and fun in the basement.
What Friends Say: "Their house is like an HGTV Dream Home. I love visiting and staying over!" -Lindsay
Biggest Embarrassment: We've been fortunate enough not to have anything too embarrassing happen. We've got a stain in the master bedroom carpet from moving furniture that got wet in the snow. The front closet doesn't quite open because the rug in front of it is too thick. Besides that, nothing is really too embarrassing, thank God!
Proudest DIY: This would have to be the fireplace. When we purchased the house, the builder had installed generic 12" x 12" marble tile around the mantle area. We wanted to do something a little more dramatic that would also pull in some of the wall colors a little better. So, we decided to build a sandstone hearth. Little did we know, the builder had used Liquid Nails to install the tiles, which meant we had to remove and rebuild the entire wall before installing the sandstone. After 24 hours of wall rebuild and wet sawing and mortaring, the fireplace was finished. Now, it's a great place to relax in front of a fire while sipping some wine!
Biggest Indulgence: This is a toss-up between the kitchen and the backyard. When we closed on the house, the kitchen contained contractor-grade black appliances and thin black granite. We decided to rip out the granite and replace it with a brighter, movement oriented stone. We also added a full backsplash and under-cabinet lighting, upgraded to energy-efficient appliances and designed a custom wine rack in the extra nook in the back of the kitchen.
The backyard is the other indulgence. When we bought the house, there was a bare yard with a small concrete patio. So, we excavated the entire yard, placed pavers in an organic shape, planted trees, bushes and foliage along with new turf for the dogs and seating for the people. We're very glad to have indulged ourselves with this backyard remodel; it's a great place to sip coffee and let the dogs play.
Best Advice: Let your personality shine in your house and in your design because that's what will make it feel like home. Let yourself indulge in a few great items, find time to enjoy them and the the design process drive you to success.
Resources of Note:
Room & Board
Crate & Barrel
Thanks, Steve and Jeremy!
Images: Smith Schwartz
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