interior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: emily anderson

by anne

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).


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  • Great apartment! Can you tell me where the stackable letter/file holders in the office are from? I’ve been searching for similar, with no success!

  • I love, love, LOVE this sneak peak! The neutral color palette is so warm and cozy, and the succulent plants lend a nice lived-in feel to the place :) I could be totally happy living in this space.

  • I think this might my favorite sneak peek yet! The colors are so amazing, and the photos alone are stunning!

  • oh my goodness… i LOVE the desk area for two shown in the last image. i’m being “kicked out” of my at home office to make it into a nursery (yay!) and will be sharing a space in the basement with my husband. THIS is what it should look like!! aaahhhh!!!

  • Emily, this is STUNNING!! I love all of the soothing colors, the beautiful natural wood elements, and all of your attention to placement and detail. I would move in in a second….one of my absolute favorite tours of all time! wonderful job.

  • The photography makes me jealous. Also I just love how edited and streamlined this space was (or at least her photographs made it look that way!)

  • This is such a warm and calming home; I especially love the dining area with the old card catalog (now I want to find one!) and gorgeous chairs & bench.

  • love the mixture of materials, metal, wood, glass, etc and the contrast between rustic and refined as in the bedside table and lamp.

  • As others have said, I love the soothing color palate balanced with all the warmth of the wood. Great photos!

  • I love this sneak peak!! The wood/natural pieces really make it sophisticated and warm.

    Where did you get the natural rug in the living room? And the lamp over the dining room table?

  • personally i enjoy a bit more colour, but i’m impressed by all the nice textures your home provides.

  • I love the wall paint in the bedroom and living room – could you please tell me what colors you used in those rooms, they look so beautiful!

  • what brand of paint and color of grey did you use, I love it. It is just what I was looking for.

  • desk organizer is ikea mackis. you can’t see from this angle but it has a little label holder so you can label each tray! in; out; when hell freezes over

  • I’ve always been insecure about my home’s “no color” policy (all browns, whites, greys, etc). But I LOVE this house! I’m inspired to get back out to thrift stores this weekend to go hunting!

  • This is one of my favorites. The color on the walls is beautiful. I love everything.

  • All the soothing tones are great! I never thought I’d like a place with so many neutrals this much :)

  • The color of your kitchen! I would love to know what the name is. I think it would transform my little space into something almost, but not quite as beautiful as yours. Beautiful!

  • Oh, wow. You’v just given me inspiration for my own apartment (the colors in my furniture closely mirror that of your own).

    I’m really loving the earthy color palette. I find it a rather refreshing depature from the white on white girl homes I see so much. This looks like a real couple live here and have blended their lives to fit this cozy, insular space.

  • What at beautiful home! I too would love to know the paint colors, esp. for the last picture of the office space. It would be perfect for my new office.

  • What a beautiful, peaceful apartment. I especially love the combination of colors and textures in your kitchen. You mentioned getting your chairs reupholstered – did you do them yourself? I ask because I live in Chicago and am desperately looking for an affordable upholsterer, but am new to the city and don’t know where to start! Your home has given me real inspiration for working with the pale light here.

  • The most gorgeous photos of a warm, inviting, comforting home with great touches everywhere.

    If I could redo my place, I’d hope for it to turn out like this.

  • My goodness, you sure know how to make a girl blush. Thanks everyone!

    Kim, the arched lamp is from CB2, I think the one they have this year is slightly different.

    Stacy & Amanda, the headboard is from West Elm, I think it’s being discontinued now = on sale.

    Ashley, the dining table was a thrift find (!), the chairs are room & board, and the bench is from a shop in our Chicago neighborhood (that sadly is closed now.)

    As for the paint colors… I’ll have to check when I return to Chicago.

  • Ah, the coupled desk is so sweet. I can just imagine the relationship it represents. Love it!

    And, wow, perfect choice on the bedroom color- simply magical!

  • 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!!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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

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

  • 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!

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

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

  • 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!

  • 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?

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

  • 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.

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

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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…

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

    Thanks so much.

  • 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!!


  • 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!

  • 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

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

  • 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