sneak peek: chad kouri + margot harrington

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Chad Kouri and Margot Harrington live in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood. Chad is a collage artist, designer/illustrator, muralist, public artist and one of the founding members of Post Family, which is part gallery and part hotbed of creative collaboration. Margot started her graphic design studio and blog, Pitch Design Union, in 2008 after being laid off, and she hasn’t looked back. She and Chad often collaborate on projects, but most of her bread and butter comes from designing blogs and dressing up WordPress themes, while also enjoying printmaking, bookbinding, teaching and writing. They’ve lived in this 900 sq. ft. loft — with a 300 sq. ft. deck that initially sold them on the place — for almost two years. Chad and Margot share a love of vintage and art buying, so many pieces in their home have a story, making the place feel as though their friends live with them. They love the area, as well, with shops like Angela Finney-Hoffman’s Post 27 that have helped their style evolve. It is thanks to Angela, as well as photographers Brian Guido and Julia Stotz, that the space looks so great for today’s peek! Thanks also to Chad and Margot for opening their doors to us! — Anne

Image above: Prints above the sofa are by Canadian screenprinting studio Seripop. They’re in handmade frames from salvaged wood, which was a surprise Christmas present this year made by Chad. The coffee table, end table and rug were received on trade from Post 27. Like the Cosby stand-up on vinyl, our records have been almost exclusively inherited from our parents and grandparents and reflect a pretty wacky musical range.


Image above: Chad’s Collage Command Central, aka “man cave.” Random bits of ephemera adorn almost every surface in an endless stream of inspiration, and it’s certainly an ode to Chad’s process. The balloon diptych above the desk is by Brian Guido and Julia Stotz, another crazy-talented creative couple and the creators of these lovely photos of our space.

More inside Chad and Margot’s Chicago home after the jump . . .


Image above: Stow & Davis teak chairs and gallery-style wall. Clockwise from top: Nicole Lavelle; Collector’s Plate is by Christopher Simmons; wood lettering by Matthew Hoffman; small abstract painting is by Nick Butcher; a vintage outtake from Chad’s dad’s senior high school portrait session; thrifted scissors; 2012 calendar by Debbie Carlos; and collage by Julia Hendrickson.


Image above: The flat file is Chad’s favorite thing in our house. We finished it off with a glass top so we could treat it like a specimen case of sorts. We are constantly rearranging this display with new and fun stuff. What you see here are prints by Don Kilpatrick, Amos Paul Kennedy, Sonnenzimmer, Leo Rosen, a Cody Hudson and Juan Chavez collab and a reprint of Colby Press’ “Note to Self” by the MCA’s design and publishing department, along with original art by Frank Chimero, Tim Fite and Jeff Canham. But that’s really only the beginning.


Image above: Bookshelf detail — a small print by Portland artist Mark Warren Jacques, along with family snapshots, vintage books and various found baubles and trinkets.


Image above: The gray color on the wall is Benjamin Moore’s Sea Haze. Screenprints are by Ina Weise. The desk is a well-worn ’70s Steelcase, scored free alongside the sea foam green filing cabinet (also vintage) from an abandoned factory office across the street from Post 27. It’s an excellent quick perch for short work and planning sessions. Otherwise it’s a drop zone for mail and keys and converts to a buffet and bar when we entertain. Eventually we’ll replace it with a proper dining table (I particularly love Strand Design’s tables), and depending how long we stay in this apartment, a built-in of some kind.


Image above: The abstract painting was once the work table of local painter Nick Butcher, one half of Chicago’s premier screen-printing duo, Sonnenzimmer. The little yellow reading chair is the newest addition to our home, making this corner of the bedroom a cozy reading nook. Still looking for a little ottoman and a delicate floor lamp to complete its functionality. The large yellow painting on top Chad picked up at a “fire sale” of painter Derek Erdman’s work. Its unprovoked and arbitrary “fuck the man” statement is where the initial attraction came from; most of the art we have acquired over the years instills this same feeling of unrestrained joy when first seeing it.


Image above: Sheets are by Unison Home, and Chad picked up the throw blanket on a trip to Brazil a few years ago. Longman & Eagle letterpress prints above the bed are by Cody Hudson and were a gift while visiting his studio. If you know Margot, it’s no secret that she has an unabashed thing for ampersands, so they make appearances all around the house. Much to our delight, all were gifts or free finds. Otherwise the mirror, dresser and lamp in the closet are all thrifted. And we couldn’t resist showing off some of Chad’s extensive t-shirt collection, either.


Image above: The drawing on the cupboard door is by our friend Jesse Brown.


Image above: Despite its small size, the kitchen gets used pretty heavily. It’s been quite the challenge to maximize storage. We installed the pot rack (Ikea) with some effort. Anyone who’s ever lived with exposed brick will tell you that drilling into it will cause a headache. But now there’s a place for our foodie books, including Margot’s aunt’s dog-eared copy of the classic Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. The tray is hand-painted, a souvenir from our trip to Costa Rica last year. Of course we have art in this room, as well. The Keep Going lettering is cut paper, done by Chad.


Image above: Thistles in Polish medicine bottles scored from Axman, a science and surplus shop in St. Paul, MN (Margot’s hometown).

Lizzie

Loving the gray walls in the office, especially with the black window trim. So simple and crisp. Beautiful home!

Zoe

Love seeing your home, Margot! It totally does look like an ode to the things that inspire you both, which in turn is really inspiring to me.

JT

Beautiful, inspiring home! I enjoy all the unique and personal touches. Do you know who makes the white shag rug in the first photo? Thank you!

Ellen HG

Eeeeee! Love it! Love, love, love that you showcase bits of inspiration & whimsy in every nook & cranny. AND that your entire apartment is like a museum for the work of your friends.

Teresa

I really love the space, but my favorite part is the album cover of Bill Cosby; it’s almost like a portrait in its own right.

Ashley

AACK! That Green embroidered sofa is AMAZE-FACE- and I love Bill Cosby’s smiling face peeking out at you from the corner… Very inviting home- so much personality!

Margot Harrington

Oh, jeeeez! I’m blushing! Thank you all so much! So happy for your support.

@JT: unfortunately I don’t know where this rug was purchased because it was a hand-me-down of sorts from Angela at Post 27. The brand is the Laguna Collection though, maybe that helps some?!

Arianne

Beautiful, of course (I expect no less from Pitch Design Union)! I love seeing homes that are this creative and don’t look at all like the pages of a catalog. Your living room looks like such a great place to hang out, and the greenery everywhere is so important to making things cozy. It sounds like the two of you are in agreement about what makes a house a home – it must be fun adding to your collections!

April

Love this place! Great use of typography art and a good mix of clean lines and a rustic vibe.

Trinh

Amazing. I image my future place looking like this, a mix of so many different things and influences!

sunny

i love the mix of bare surfaces and then contained “clutter” (pretty items!). My favorite photo is of the desk with the few items on it and then in the corner of the photo are colorful magazines in holders. pretty!

maria

i have to say that today’s sneak peak post is an absolute favorite of mine….Chad and Margot beautiful work!

maria

p.s. i love the pictures so much all of them are going to pinterest :)

Kate

Wow. Stunning, love all the prints and the gorgeous spines on the cookery books.

sarah

LOVE the way the ‘green’s play off each other in the 1st pic! Great post!!
xo
Sarah

Anne

The glass top on the flat file is an awesome idea… and the rest is inspiring me to do some redecorating.

Jane / MulchMaid

Inspiring! It appears beautifully effortless, but of course, we know better. Please d*s, do a summer follow-up post on the 300 sq. ft. deck – I just know it will be amazing!

Angela Finney-Hoffman

Oh your home is so amazing… it is such the perfect backdrop for your off the charts art collection. Interacative Environments is where it’s at!

Inga

Wonderful colours!
PS: That are Czech medicine bottles, not Polish ;)

Melissa Hernandez

Green is my favorite color and I love the minty greens and the luscious plant greens… very cool!

kerissa

i saw the ‘note to self’ print in the LCD movie Shut Up and Play the Hits and i NEED it. Did you get it online at the MCA chicago site?

Chad Kouri

@kerissa sry! That was a gift from a friend that works at the museum. I’ve done some searching and I can’t seem to find anywhere to buy it but I’ll keep it in mind and let you know if I run across it.

Kayla

Wow, I think this is my favorite tour I’ve seen on here. It’s all one massive beautiful collage! And the space just feels so comfy and lived in. And, mostly, that glass top flat file is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.

cristybella

I love your flat file…speaks volumes of who one can be.

nora

Which Camera that photographer use ?

color look nice and sharp please tell me

Erika

Ugh, I freakin love Humbolt Park and nobody will move there with me because of it’s reputation.

Danka

I LOVE YOUR HOME!
ps. the bottles are not Polish, they are Czech it says : Caution! Highly inflammable!

Samantha

I have to know where the “Coffee Makes You Black” print is from! I’m obsessed!

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