Tony & Betsy's Victorian Rowhouse

Tony & Betsy's Victorian Rowhouse

Janel Laban
Feb 15, 2010

(Welcome to Krista from Chicago, one of the bloggers trying out for a place on the Apartment Therapy editorial team as a House Tour Contributor. Enjoy her work!)

Name: Tony & Betsy
Location: Lincoln Park, Chicago
Size: 2000 square feet
Years lived in: 3

Tony and Betsy's Victorian rowhouse was originally built to house railroad workers and their families. In the early 2000s, an architect and his wife converted it from rental apartments to a single family home. It was painstakingly restored to its former, well-crafted glory with details such as carved wooden mantels, parquet flooring, and leaded window panes. Later owners injected their taste for modern design in the kitchen and bathroom and custom light fixtures and closets.

When Tony and Betsy first viewed this home, they instantly fell in love with the meticulous attention to design by the previous owners. They were proud of the history and wanted the beautiful fixtures and materials to speak for themselves, but also wanted their new home to feel lived-in. They worked to make the modern rooms more cozy by adding plenty of plant life throughout, and they pushed their own simple style to complement the more ornate Victorian detailing.

More importantly, they found places for David Bowie tribute posters, a hamburger telephone, and Gus, their stuffed antelope. The result is a home they feel they can grow into, and that showcases the beautiful raw space without compromising comfort.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our style: Modern, but also cozy and fun.

Inspiration: We're a no-frills kind of couple. Trying to work with some of the more ornate details in the house pushed us to evolve our style.

Favorite Element: Details from the original construction that were restored by previous owners: the parquet floor design at the entry, the stained glass windows, and carved wood mantel. Also, the oil paintings by my husband are a personal touch.

Biggest Challenge: Softening some of the more modern rooms to create a homey and cozy interior.

What Friends Say: Friends seem to enjoy our space. We like to entertain and we get compliments on how well the house is set up for that.

Biggest Embarrassment: When we bought the house, the outdoor front steps were rotting. We spent days hand scraping and sanding, re-priming and -painting them, but we used indoor paint on them. It all peeled off within a month and looked worse than before we touched them. We needed to completely rebuild. Now, the new stairs look great, but are so shellacked, they've become a huge slipping hazard in the winter! We can't seem to get it right...

Proudest DIY: My garden in the summer and Gus, the antelope I shot while hunting outside Buffalo, SD that's now hanging in our upstairs living room

Biggest Indulgence: The Ann Sacks tile work in the bathrooms is so beautiful. And the built-in espresso machine is so much fun to have on the weekends.

Best advice: Measure twice and cut once!
Also, don't try to decorate the entire house at once. Take one room at a time and enjoy working on it little by little as you grow into the home.

Dream source: I like Room & Board and Tony really likes Z Gallerie

Appliances and Fixtures: Poggenpohl, Miele, Sub-zero, Gaggenau
Furniture: Crate & Barrel, Room & Board, Pottery Barn
Accessories: Record player and hamburger phone are from Urban Outfitters
Posters: Z Gallerie
Cabinetry: Custom
Tiles: Ann Sacks

(Thanks, Tony & Betsy!)

Images: Krista Seidl

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