Maximalist Style Outside of Chicago

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There’s a reason, I think, that head-to-toe black has remained a consistently popular sartorial choice throughout time, and bare white walls have been in vogue since the rise of Modernism — they’re easy to pull off. When it comes to dressing yourself or your home, introducing color always comes with a bit of risk; the more that is added, the more chances there are for it to turn out badly. Colors and patterns can clash, things can get lost in chaos, and combinations that might sound wonderful on paper can turn out to be horribly unflattering in real life. One wrong move, and you can be sent spiraling off into the realm of kitsch. This is why I have deep admiration for people who can not only pull off wild excesses of color, but actually take them to a place that is beautiful — a place that doesn’t employ color for color’s sake, but instead uses color to create something deeply unique and personal. Peaches Freund, a freelance designer and the author of the blog Aunt Peaches, is one of these people.

Located on one floor of a 1900 Victorian home in Evanston, IL, Peaches’ home is small in size, but positively gigantic in personality. Walking through this 800-square-foot home, one’s eyes are hardly ever (scratch that, never) at a loss for something to look at. Bright, neon colors brush elbows with bold patterns; white walls are covered floor-to-ceiling with art. Objects that seem to have no place together — miniature disco balls on a crystal chandelier or a leopard-print chair at a polka dot desk — seem right at home, forming unusual friendships that for some strange reason just work. “The ‘spirit’ of the place comes from the fact that nearly everything in my house is handmade, or secondhand,” Peaches notes. “I did a lot of sculpture work in college, and as the result of that, I see every object as carrying a certain sort energy. When you start considering the original composition of things, the spirit with which they were made, you value them much more.” She pauses. “That’s my long-winded way of saying I have hoarder tendencies.”

I think this is what I love the most about Peaches’ home — every single thing in it, no matter how off-kilter or jarring, seems to have been acquired with love and displayed with intention. Although she confesses to having a thing for camp objects (“I’m obsessed with early 1980s sitcom set design,” she says), this love seems devoid of irony — it is earnest, celebratory, and feels refreshingly authentic. “Perhaps it might look cluttered to others,” Peaches says, “but they don’t have to live here! My home makes me happy. I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world.” —Max


Dining Room

  • Wall color: Dutch Boy’s “Nantucket Mist”
  • Trim color: Benjamin Moore’s “Decorator’s White”
  • Pendant light by CB2
  • Window fabric by Marrimeko
  • Gold lamp by Land of Nod

Living Room

  • Wall color: Benjamin Moore’s “Super White”
  • Couch from Domicile Furniture
  • Teal wall lamp from Urban Outfitters
  • Grid pattern pillows from H&M
  • Dalmatian dots and banana leaf pillows from Furnish Studio


  • Wall color: Behr’s “Ultra White”
  • Removable wallpaper: Chasing Paper’s “Sexy Hexy” pattern
  • Dog rump wall hooks from IKEA
  • Hershey Bar painting by Lauren Pretorius


  • Wall color: Martha Stewart’s “Ballerina Slipper”
  • Wire basket shelving from IKEA
  1. Linda Eisenstein says:

    Weren’t you born and reared in eastern Arkansas. We met and became friendly in Memphis. It was through several mutual friends.
    They are all still dears.
    Not many people go by the misnomer Peaches. That is why I became so bold as to ask you.

  2. Not many people go by the misnomer Peaches. That is why I became so bold as to ask you.


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