Steven & Meredith's Modern Mix

Steven & Meredith's Modern Mix

Jason Loper
Jun 11, 2010

Name: Steven and Meredith (+ Frankie the dog)
Location: Logan Square, Chicago
Size: 900 square feet
Years lived in: just over 1 year

Steven and Meredith hit the rental jackpot with their apartment. Formerly occupied by the building's owner, their top floor apartment had been thoughtfully rehabbed before they moved in. Having a newly rehabbed space provided a great jumping off point for blending the couple's respective loves of modern and vintage.

Steven and Meredith have successfully mixed their two styles in this apartment. While Steven tends to lean toward the minimal and modern, Meredith prefers to display her vintage collections. Their two approaches to decorating come together very well. The result is an apartment with clean lines and some great mid-century modern furniture which serve as displays of the couple's collections. I'm particularly in love with Meredith's typewriters!

The large open room that serves as living room, dining area and home office has been divided up perfectly. Often large rooms can be overwhelming when it comes to furniture placement. Steven and Meredith found a way to arrange the large space so it actually feels like three separate spaces. Using the dark gray sofa as the dividing point between the living and dining areas creates a visual line to indicate the separation of spaces.

The one area that could threaten to become messy is Meredith's craft area. However, by placing the craft area inside the closet in the guest room, Meredith can simply close the doors if she wants to leave it mid-project.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My/Our style: We share a love for mid-century modernism, but we go our separate ways after that. Steven tends to gravitate towards more stark & austere décor, while Meredith is into nostalgic vintage things. We have found a way to meet in the middle and have a clean, fun space that we love.

Inspiration: Seeing people cleverly use small spaces is a big inspiration for us. Beyond that, it's just pairing function with aesthetics.

Favorite Element: We had the luxury of finding an apartment that was already renovated in line with our tastes. Our building is a very typical Chicago 2-flat, but the owner knocked down some walls and moved things around to create a more modern floor plan.

Biggest Challenge: Our apartment has a large wine rack built into a small nook near the kitchen. Many people would see this as a great feature, but we don't drink wine, so it represented a waste of space to us. Our options were limited as renters, so we searched long and hard for something that would fill the space and not look awkward. We failed a few times, but we eventually found an old green workshop cabinet from the 1950's. It fits like a glove and gives us tons of additional storage near the kitchen.

What Friends Say: They don't really say much, but we think they like it.

Biggest Embarrassment: We think our bedroom looks a little silly with all of the furniture we have crammed in there, but we love the furniture and don't have anywhere else to store it. Hopefully one day we have a bedroom large enough to accommodate it all.

Proudest DIY: We needed a new coffee table and couldn't find anything in our price range that we were into. Sometimes the most basic things are the hardest to find. We found a salvaged piece of wood close to our desired dimensions and sanded, stained, and sealed it. We just attached some hairpin legs to that. Not exactly advanced furniture making, but we sure do like it.

Biggest Indulgence: Our bedroom furniture. We had long admired the "Lowry" set from Room & Board, until we started doing the math. One day we found the set on Craigslist for less than half the cost new, and it was only six months old. When we went to look at it, it turned out to belong to Rachel Perry, a TV personality who used to host the Top 20 countdown on VH1. We scraped together the money to get it, as well as the additional chest of drawers and a second nightstand from the Room & Board sample sale. It was a bad time of year to be spending the money (Christmas), but the series has since been discontinued, so we never would have found it again.

Best advice: The joy of living with something you really love will last longer than the sting of paying for it.

Dream source: Steven: There are a few high end, expensive pieces that I want, but I can honestly say that our dream source is our reality source. The thrill of finding what you really like on Craigslist or in an antique market is too great for me to want to go in and buy right off of the showroom floor. Meredith: A Scandinavian grandmother's basement filled with well-loved furniture, vintage children's toys & books, and giant stacks of beautiful linens.

[Main room]
Nelson benches - eBay & Hive Modern
flat file, record shelf - Ikea
Case Study desk, Eames LCW, orange Eames shell chairs, typewriter table, Mid-Century hutch - Craigslist
Eames Management chair, Nelson X-base table - eBay
Corona Sofa - Macy's
coffee table - home made
side tables & TV stand - CB2
Rugs: Flor, West Elm
Artwork: Hammerpress, Post Family, Small Stakes, Chrissy Piper, Blanca Gomez, Wim Crouwel, Painting by Jackie Kerzner

Furniture: Lowry set gathered from Room & Board, Craigslist
Rug: Flor
Artwork: Antrepo Design, Wayne Pate, Vahalla Studios

[2nd bedroom / sewing area]
bed, dresser, night table, sewing table, & cabinet - Ikea
vintage cabinet - Craigslist
String Pocket shelf -
Rug: Target
Artwork: Bird Machine/Jay Ryan, Build Design

barstools - Ikea
green workshop cabinet - Craigslist
Rug: Ikea
Artwork: Build Studios, Food Fight Grocery, Jen Corace

(Thanks, Steven and Meredith!)

Images: Jason Loper

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