amy azzaritointerior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: betsy maddox

by Amy Azzarito

interior designer betsy maddox has taken a page from the scandinavian style book, when designing her chicago home – and rightly so. nothing quite warms up a space like white walls, light colored floors, and pale colors. (and after spending 3 winters in chicago, i can say with some authority, that warming up is definitely in order!)  i for one, wouldn’t mind spending the winter, in this cozy oak park bungalow! {thanks, betsy! and thanks to kim postma for the lovely photographs!} amy a.

[My husband and I were charmed by the big, expansive living room in the front of the house, and all of the character that is typical in Oak Park bungalows – like the stained glass, the built-ins, the hardwood floors, etc. It also had a brand-new 2-1/2 car garage which charmed my husband!  This dining room set we bought at a resale shop in Oak Park that, sadly, is no longer around. It has the original nubby cream fabric on the chairs. The wallcovering in this dining area is a new treat that cheers me up whenever I lay my eyes on it (from Ferm Living). The circular mirror I got for a steal at a silent auction several years ago. The shade is from West Elm and was intended for a floor lamp, but we had it retrofitted to use above the table.]

The sofa met all of my criteria when we got it: deep enough to be able to sit cross-legged, low arms, modern style. We got a good deal on it at a Design Within Reach warehouse sale. The patterned pillows are from Urban Outfitters and the green ones from a commercial fabric house called Luna Textiles.

The bird’s nest is really a sweet story. We watched the mama bird build her nest in our hanging plant on the front porch last spring. We kept tabs on the nest as all of the eggs were laid, followed by all of the eggs hatching, and finally the chicks growing big enough to leave the nest. One day the nest blew down to the ground and my husband retrieved it, only to find one lonely egg still in it that never hatched. I kept it and put it in a hurricane that I got from Jayson Home and Garden in Chicago.

CLICK HERE for the rest of Betsy’s peek after the jump!

This play area is forever a work in progress. We picked up the two blue kiddie chairs and the cowhide rug at the Kane County Flea Market and the table is from Z Gallerie.

This is our beloved dog, Casey, in the chair that he has commandeered for himself. He’s a lab/corgi mix that we picked up at our local shelter, and he is so incredibly gentle with our son. And licks a lot. Yuck.

The leaf is from when our leaves first started to turn this past fall. Behind the leaf is our guest book from our wedding, and to the right is our son Tim’s baby book – for some reason the running theme when he was born was “sock monkey fever!” The ceramic corn kernel I picked up for my husband at Lill Street Art Center. He has a thing for all things farming related!

This chair was a great find at the Lincoln Antique Mall.  The lovely branch I picked up at one of my favorite stores near my home, Moss in Forest Park. The owner has such an eye for collecting and showcasing natural things from around the world. She also does some of the most unique floral arrangements I’ve ever seen.

Our kitchen is very efficient and very small, so our pots hang in full view, which is good because we use them a lot! The two plates are Sarah Cihat, and the radio is just a little something that I turn on to get us moving in the morning.

This porch off the back of the house was just a means for entering the kitchen when we first moved in. We really wanted to make it usable, so we replaced the screens, painted the floor in the diamond pattern, painted it a bright yellow and put in some white trim. We use this area all the time in the warmer months. Red metal cabinet? Ikea!

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  • What a sweet home! Oak Park is a lovely area. I recently did a blog post about a display I made using a box of vintage decorative birds I found at a Chicago-area flea market that I couldn’t for the life of me remember the name of– It was Kane County! Thanks for the reminder– it was such a fun place to treasure hunt!

  • I love what you did with the bird nest. Funny thing is that I have a similar situation on my back deck. An abandoned nest with a tiny robin’s egg left behind. I may borrow your beautiful idea and bring it into our home.

    By the way – I love how you have decorated your space.


  • this wallpaper is so charming and spring-like. and i know exactly what you mean about living in the midwest! there is a wild snow storm in michigan right now.

  • I knew when I saw that sweet little sunny back porch room that I was looking at something familiar…which is when I scrolled back through the article to find out where this house was. Sure enough! I grew up in Oak Park – miss it now, out here in New York. It’s such a cool and totally unique town. Thanks for the warm and fuzzy flashback to my childhood in the middle of an otherwise dreery workday!

  • I’m a huge fan of ferm living – their wallpaper is great – so vibrant and fresh. You’re inspiring me to wallpaper :)

  • I’m looking for a paint color just like you’ve used in the room with the branch in it (the living room?)… could you share the color/brand of paint you used? You have a beautiful home!

  • where did that amazing maple left art come from? i would love to have something like that in my home!

  • I love how the door and window frames in the kitchen are bare/painted. A great detail that (again) really makes the space feel fresh.

  • Thank you for your comments! The paint color in the living room was mixed to match Benjamin Moore “Pale Celery”. It’s American Pride paint which is no-VOC.

  • So nice! Love the wallpaper and colors about the place, especially the play area, so unique! I really like the pair of prints by the branch from Moss in Forest Park and your kitchen radio, where are they from?
    You’ve got great taste!

  • Everything here is beautiful, and as usual for me, my favorite photo is the portrait of the animal of the house, who is clearly very much at home. Long live Casey!

  • I hope one day when I have kids that I have a house as lovely as this, it’s really beautiful.

  • Nice fresh clean interior design ideas which I like very much, very semi contemporary feel and not clashing with anything. Lovely colour scheme and the green wallpaper is amazing. The images cature the interior very well and good lighting too well done. Your birds nest story is very touching, you have an amazing home, thanks for sharing.

  • The framed prints on the wall are actually tea towels that I had matted and framed. You can still see the creases which I really like. They are from “Third Drawer Down”.

  • What a great idea with the bird’s nest! It looks fabulous. I love the porch too, it looks like such a comfortable place to relax. Oh, and Casey is a doll!

  • same question that others have asked – the drum shade over the dining table…where’d it come from or how did you make it? have been having trouble finding decently priced drum shade pendants for my hallway and this would be awesome!

  • I love this! The gorgeous dining room takes my breath away. I’m an Oak Parker too, and I love seeing into someone else’s old home and hearing about sources I’ve used as well.

  • The drum shade is from West Elm about 2 years ago. It was intended for a floor lamp, but I had it retrofitted to be a pendant by a local person who wires lamps. Not expensive!

  • Love the dining room very much ,and I like the feel that sufficient sunshine brings to me !

  • Was just thinking today how I want to decorate with lime green somewhere and this post completely inspired me! I love the lime green wallpaper! Gorgeous!!!

  • Loooove the green wallpaper! I have a major itch to wallpaper a wall, or small room! Not, sure if I have the courage to do an entire room yet.

  • Aww!! I love your puppy dog!!! @_@ I want a puppy so bad!!!

    I loved the story of the next
    and you have a great sense of style. :)

  • Such a beautiful home!! I do too love the wallpaper in the dining room. I am a huge fan of ferm-living and have used them few times already.
    Can you share where are the throw pillows from?
    Thank you.

  • A beautiful home indeed! I am thrilled to be part of it by being the maker of the GM Corn Kernel (in studio 205 at Lillstreet). I love seeing my work out in the world and in situ. It is an honor to be part of a lovely and thoughtful home. Thanks so much.

  • What a pretty home! The photo of the pots and pans and plates has a timeless quality about it… must be the radio in the photo. I’m imagining old-time jazz tunes pouring out of the radio while dinner is being cooked in the kitchen.