sneak peek: emily anderson


for our first sneak peek of the day/week we’re so pleased to share the chicago apartment of talented photographer emily johnston anderson. besides having a fantastic photographic eye, emily has a nack for great vintage (and used) furniture finds. she and her husband, jacob (an independent radio producer), both consider themselves story-tellers and love that the pieces around their home have had other lives before coming to them. don’t miss the complete peek which continues after the jump, and click here for additional images. [thanks, emily!]anne

[above: We kept a neutral palette in the living room as well. The grey walls are soothing all year round, and we’re so thankful for our wall of south-facing windows, especially in the Chicago winter. We often perch on the sofa and look out of them across the rooftops. The papier-mache bird is from Perch in New Orleans (thanks d*s guide!), the prairie smoke print is by a dear friend, Jen Anderson-Tarver and was part of her wedding invitation. I’ve had the vintage arm chairs re-upholstered once, and I’m contemplating having them covered again in natural hemp linen.]

Jacob was a school librarian and brought home the card catalog when that system became obsolete. We store all those little homeless things from around the house in it–keys, miscellaneous cords and phone chargers, candles etc. Our favorite dinner-time entertainment is the white gurgling cod pitcher from Dartmouth pottery — found on eBay after we discovered one at the house we rented for our honeymoon!


CLICK HERE for the rest of Emily’s peek (and all 14 images on one page) after the jump!



The butcher block is from Crate and Barrel, I think, but I accepted it as a partial down payment for a wedding in the very early days of my business. The couple selling it on Craigslist turned out to need a photographer so we swapped! The cupboards were already painted white when we moved in.


We spend a lot of time in the kitchen, hatching up new dishes (there’s blueberry compote on the stove in this shot). I learned the pleasure of baking from Carol at Milk & Honey Cafe here in Chicago, and now make bread as often as possible, so the lovely light in the kitchen doesn’t go to waste! I love the color palette in here, white dishes, stainless cookwear, wood counters. We’re completely smitten with our espresso maker, and I couldn’t live without the perfect cappucinos Jacob makes everyday! Sometimes, he needs a place to jot down story inspiration while he’s in the kitchen. The chalkboard fits the bill for my meal ideas too.

Jacob and my dad put up the simple plank shelving one afternoon a couple of years ago with scrap wood from a photo studio where I worked with the inspiring Lauren Krysti, and they’ve been perfect for storage and display in the office area too. On the shelves, our white china is from Sophie Conran for Portmeirion, and our cork collection in the square vase is signed by the friends we’ve shared dinners with since we were married two years ago. We love long drifting dinner parties, and have them as often as possible. We even moved our dining room out to the alley recently for a big family birthday dinner when the weather was so beautiful we couldn’t bear to stay inside!


I know it sounds loony, but the color for the bedroom walls came to me in a sudden flash mid-conversation with a friend (about something entirely different). It was a vision of light filtering through a deep verdant jungle, and the color’s made the bedroom a wonderful retreat, separating it visually from the rest of our place–which is nice in a small home that can make one feel a bit cooped up, in winter especially!



I made the denim whale pillow for Jacob for Valentine’s day. He’s got a thing for cetology and Moby Dick.


The Russel Wright sugar and creamer set was a Christmas gift from Jacob, discovered at a vintage shop in Houston. The tiered tray jumped out at me at the Salvation Army in a middle-of-nowhere town in the midwest on a road trip lunch stop!


The Lane coffee table was another recent obscure resale shop steal.


The extendable teak slat bench is my favorite new find from a local shop that (sadly) just closed. I have a mild obsession with bluperum (that lovely green cloud on the table) since I photographed my friends Meg & Robb’s wedding a few weeks ago (recently featured by Janie at The Bride’s Cafe).


  1. Melanie says:

    Gorgeous indeed. I love the dining area. I think the card catalog, table and lighting are just perfect.

  2. Kristena says:

    Oh my word. I LOVE the vintage stuff in this house. Everything is so perfectly placed.

  3. Laura says:

    gorgeous space, gorgeous photos! what a cozy, clean home.

  4. amazing vintage finds. the colors are spot on. i love the evident love that is scattered throughout the apt. get out- a whale pillow to celebrate a moby dick obsession? i heart that.

  5. Teresa AF says:

    I am having spasms of delight. Such lovely things and exceptional taste! I am going to steal so many ideas from these photos! Thanks for sharing!!

  6. Lauren says:

    This is my favorite sneak peak in ages, maybe my favorite ever. That headboard! The whale pillow! The kitchen!

  7. macy dawn says:

    Wow. This is totally how I envision my home looking- if I ever got to everything on my “want to do” list. LOVE your home! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Michelle says:

    I love the color theme. It’s very calming. Can I come by to relax? haha :D

  9. Miss Yap says:

    I have been coveting that paper maiche bird on your mantel for a while now. It is on sale online at Anthro now. I am wondering if I should just bite the bullet and buy it after looking at it in your house!

  10. robin says:

    i just want to hug the person who created such a lovely space.

  11. clarity and grey says:

    I am SO happy that Emily and Jacob’s home was finally featured on D*S. The photographs are lovely, but to be in the actual space is just a real treat…your soul just feels at ease in it. Happy Five Years Grace…thanks for featuring my friends!

  12. what a lovely place… it looks so inviting. and i love the card catalog thing in the 2nd photo (if that’s what it is). I don’t, however, like the weird depth of field or digital enhancement used on the photos – it makes them look oddly blurry and uncomfortable on the eyes

  13. Lisa says:

    I am loving this colour palette. Warm, soothing and restrained but not formal. Very lovely.

  14. Zooey says:

    I LOVE your home. It is beautiful, comfortable, and full of character.

  15. shalini says:

    What a fantastic home. I love the earthy feel to it, yet it’s so modern as well.

  16. Lillian says:

    Oh this may be my favorite sneak peak EVER. So so lovely. Thanks for sharing.

  17. ellie england says:

    This is far and away the most beautiful (and most beauifully photographed) of all of the sneak peaks I have seen on here, and that is saying something! I usually gush over the colourful homes but this is the most peaceful, stylish and enviable home I have seen. It exudes warmth and I want to live here!

  18. Jo in New Zealand says:

    Oh yes.

    On all fronts — yes.

  19. Kathi says:

    I love everything about this, it is calming and lovely !!!

  20. paula says:

    what a beautiful home, love all the texture. Congrats on your 5 year anniversary, that’s amazing.

  21. My favorite yet. Spoke to me on so many levels.

  22. What impeccable style Emily has! I am in love with her home. The color pallet is dreamy! Everything is really amazing! Thanks for sharing.

  23. Caroline in NC says:

    I love the use of texture with neutral/natural color! Very peaceful but pulled-together!

  24. Rebecca says:

    Great colors. Funny, I looked at the first photo and thought “that’s a Chicago apartment”! I have a similar place.

  25. Jess says:

    Love Love Love. Dying to know what the paint color & brand used in the fireplace room is…

  26. Jess says:

    …oh, and the blue/grey color in the kitchen!

  27. Nasia says:

    Hello from Greece!
    Wow! What a lovely house you´ve got! Gongratulations for your amazing taste in everything! In every detail…. I´m in love with your house and especially with your kitchen! Wish you all the best!

  28. Eileen 2 says:

    Excellent. I am ready to paint something, anything, the shade of the wall behind the headboard. Please share the name and brand.

    Like that bird print poster w/tacks around edges. Did you get it from the web site by that same name?

  29. jo says:

    this place is dope <3 from the shared, office wall space- to the awesome whale pillow.. .to the colors in the home. love it.

  30. Heatherson says:

    This place is so warm and cozy, I think my favorite area in the dining room. I like that it doesn’t look like a catalogue home, it has so much character.

  31. jonna says:

    i LOVElovelove these photos! can’t wait getting my own apartment instead of a rental..

  32. Emily says:

    Eileen – paint colors are coming when I return home to check the cans, and the print I got from a local shop window the day after the show it advertises!

  33. very cosy, that brown chair is so nice, and the photos very atmospherics, a house to live and to show!!

  34. Becky Schergens says:

    Emily – I knew you were a GREAT photographer but now I discover your decorating talents. What a FANTASTIC job you have done on your apartment. The palette is just right and the ingenuity is amazing. Maybe you should come to DC and give us a hand!

  35. How lovely! I really appreciate all of the vintage finds you’ve incorporated into to your warm and inviting home.

  36. I loved this sneak peek. What a beautiful home..!

  37. ssdesign says:

    Love it- especially the headboard!

  38. emy says:

    Love your home. Inspired.
    I am painting soon and would love to know the colors you used through out your home. Would love to bring the same feel to my home.

  39. melanie says:

    your home is beautiful – thank you for sharing! may i ask what color/brand paint you used for your kitchen? i’ve been looking for almost the exact color for my bedroom…

  40. Eileen 2 says:

    Hello there! Still wondering if you know the name and brand of the jungly green paint.

    Thanks so much.

  41. Becky Lai says:

    Design*Sponge, could you guys track Emily down and ask her about her paint colors? I think there are a good handful of us that are still eagerly waiting to hear back!!


    1. grace says:


      i’m pretty sure we’ve contacted her and are waiting to hear back– i’ll check in again :)


  42. Emily says:

    Oh dear. I’m sorry it took me forever and a day to find those paint colors, I misplaced the chips and lost my fan wheel, and the numbers have faded from the cans. I finally spent the afternoon on behr/benjamin moore/RL home and tracked down the colors though!!
    Dining Room/Office: Behr Minced Ginger
    Living Room: RL Dovecoat
    Bedroom: RL Olive Tree (we painted a single coat over the pale peachy color that was here when we moved in, and I think it gives it a particular glow…)
    Kitchen: I got the left over paint from a set, but I’m pretty sure it’s RL Aged Mint.

    Also, our rug is from ikea, I think someone asked.

    Thanks again for all the kinds words everyone, and for your patience with the paint colors!

  43. Becky Lai says:

    thanks so much emily!

  44. Thanks Emily for taking the time to find and share your lovely mix of paint colors. I was so thrilled to see how you used the library piece! I just picked that very thing up awhile back at a thrift store-am now inspired to refinish it~tyou

  45. karen says:

    any chance you’ve got a pattern for your whale pillow? My parents in Maine deserve a velvet one for christmas!

  46. Emily says:


    I’m actually going to be making a few for some other folks who’ve asked — email me for details!

  47. Erin says:

    Emily, dear Emily. I always knew you had taste and style and class but this is amazing. So amazing that I think I’m going to have to go buy paint in the next few days. As much as I miss living in Wicker Park, my beach house needs some life and you’ve given me inspiration to bring my beach house some Chicago roots! Merci, chère Emily! Et je manque de passer du temps avec vous au studio! xxx


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