I left Texas for Chicago, IL with only three suitcases and a job. Immediately, I set out on a trek to find a “For Rent” sign. Like a mirage, one popped up on a quiet street overlooking a quaint elementary school. Bunnies even frolic in the garden. Sounds like a fairy tale, right? Believe me, I felt like I was in one! The landlords were simply too kind, the inside too perfect and the surroundings too picturesque for me to pass up. Stumbling upon it was so serendipitous, I felt destined to start my new life right there. Five years later, I’m still grateful to call the greystone on Fremont Street “home.”
For the first two months, I lived with my clothes, a rocking chair and a blanket. The space came together very slowly, and I reveled in the ability to make a home from scratch. Initially, my taste was much more rustic than the mix you’ll see as you click through — that was probably the lingering influence of Texas. I’m still a huge fan of distressed accessories, but over the years my style has become more eclectic, lustrous and a bit silly. Decorating is so much fun, and I enjoy not taking it too seriously. Crafting and DIY have also played a major role in my home’s look. Bits and bobs of my own making dot my bachelor pad. Since I live alone, and there’s no one else to influence the style, the home is 100% me. As I was designing my space, it was important that the end result be cozy and fun. I’m an extroverted introvert, so I cherish my alone time. I’m comfortable resetting here with my quirky finds and wouldn’t trade that for anything.
That laid-back atmosphere has proven to be an invaluable aspect of my home. In retrospect, it’s crystal clear why I moved to Chicago. I needed to meet “me” without any pressures or expectations. I found moving to a new place liberating. Being a little fish in a big pond let me truly open up and be vulnerable for the first time ever. With that vulnerability came all sorts of emotions, but I always knew I could step inside my second-story apartment and feel at home.
Fremont Street has been the backdrop to some of my most thrilling memories — one of which happened a year ago this September. As I sat on the floor eating animal crackers, I found out I was the newest member of the Design*Sponge team. It continues to be a dream come true. I hope you enjoy peeking inside my home as much as I have enjoyed working with Grace and the team this past year. Cheers to many more peeks to come! —
Photography by Carolina Mariana
I'm not sure how I would describe my personal style. Maybe modern bohemian? Growing up in the south instilled in me a love for natural and rustic textures, but as of late I have been incorporating a more luxe, modern look into my space.
Emily Henderson was the inspiration for my living room. I got this Jonathan Adler sofa and cowhide pillow from
, and the other pillows are from Target. This flag's from WWII. Its rustic feel mixed with the my glitzy furniture is a contrast I'm currently digging.
The Milo Baughman coffee table is a personal favorite. I saw one in a Bucktown boutique and couldn't get it out of my head. Luckily I found one on eBay for a reasonable price. The rug is from Marshalls.
My living/dining room isn't huge so these ghost chairs offer seating without visually cluttering the space. The bonus? They're a little foggy in some spots so I got them for 75% off! My dining table is from
, and the white chairs and Nate Berkus pillows are from Target. I found this giant stick walking home one day and decided to mold it into a lighting feature. With a little scraping, some fishing line, and a strand of Edison bulbs, I was able to make the fixture for a whopping $25.
A green thumb is something I will never claim to have. This is Frances the cactus. Somehow, I managed to nearly kill him, but he is coming back! His kooky shape always makes me smile, and guests frequently comment on how goofy he is – just like me. I splatter-painted his pot myself. My sheepskin rug from Target became a table runner after I spilled a candle and had to trim it down. The copper candle holders and lazy susan are from World Market.
print was my first real art purchase. I ran to the store in a tornado to get the last one. Art and accessories with a wink always catch my eye so his work is a personal fave. The anchor print is by
for Methane Studios. The rest of my gallery wall is made up of pages from an art annual.
Displaying large art prints around my TV was my way of disguising it. I rotate my collection so much that I very rarely frame prints. That being said, binder clips are my best friend.
Growing up in Texas, it was nearly impossible to escape the influence of Mexican culture. Five years after moving away, my affection for the colors and meaning of Día de Los Muertos has only grown. Everywhere I travel, I pick up a skull as a souvenir. I dream of one day having a collection that covers an entire wall. The larger candles here are from World Market, and the rose-eyed, little guy is from Paper Source. I got the teal rug from a local shop in Ruidoso, NM.
Being totally honest, I never use this desk area. It sits right next to my sofa. When given the choice, working on velvet always wins out. To save some money, my aunt and uncle generously sent me these shed antlers all the way from their Texas property. It's funny how much "city folk" will pay for something that "country folk" find on a weekly basis.
I may have a problem picking up sticks. I do it quite a bit. I stripped and painted these puppies myself, but I didn't know exactly how to display them. One day the idea of leather straps popped into my head, and it was settled. Is there anything more American than denim? That's why I love this piece from
. I can't remember who sketched this portrait, but I find it so evocative and fascinatingly engaging. I bet he lived a fabulous life. The rest of the artwork is from an art annual.
My producer's mother passed away recently. She and I shared the same initials so I was generously gifted her old stationery. I wrote the single most important note of my life on that stationery. It's bittersweet that it's now all gone. My "What I Love Most..." note is its last hurrah.
Initially, my bedroom's petite size bothered me, but over time I have grown to cherish its cozy feel. My dresser was originally painted cream and had floral handles, but all that had to go. Since it was only $25 at a resale shop, I was able to invest in new hardware and this grey paint. It's my favorite DIY piece in my walk-up. The faux rug is from Urban Outfitters.
The collage is made up of my family's old pictures and landscape scenes I found online. My favorites are of Grandpa rollerskating and Dad posing for his elementary school yearbook photo. The 50s-style statues of the two men came with female counterparts, but I ditched those. Now they are talking on the phone to one another. I imagine they just got back from a sock hop and are calling one another to gush about how much fun they had together.
I am mad for plaid. My window valance is actually a plaid blanket my Mimi bought for me at a garage sale. The vibrant hues remind me of the 60s – the era I most wish I could have lived in. I felt very grown-up when I bought this vintage L.L. Bean briefcase for myself. The trunk is from Brownstone Antiques.
I knew that I would be adding in pops of color throughout my bedroom, so I like the visual break that white bedding provides. A blanket in black watch plaid – my favorite plaid – is never far from my bed. I found the brass tiger at Marshalls, and the landscape print is by
. His photography has such depth, you can lose yourself in the imagery. Photographer and friend
Liz Von Hoene
gave me the pair of prints after we wrapped up a shoot together. The navy pillows are from Target.
The one thing I would change about my apartment are the shutter doors. As a renter, I can't remove or paint them, and they drive me nuts! I don't care for their unfinished look. Often times I cover them up with my latest fashion find or a purchase I am still contemplating. Menswear is something I find extremely inspiring, so framing this denim shirt nods to that. I call it "T.G.I.Friday's Restaurant chíc."
When you come through my front door, you are greeted by a brass "Top Banana" and a
I bought the vintage workbench from a retired firefighter. I had just moved to Chicago and didn't understand public transportation yet, so the family went out of their way to drive me home and even helped me move it in. The mid-century ottoman was a lucky eBay find, and I painted the bar stools myself. Some interesting stares came my way when I took the pair of them home on the bus with me. The rugs are from IKEA and Randolph Street Market.
The tiny table is from IKEA. I like how it contrasts with the oversized
print. Growing up, my mom and dad would always take us to get a twist ice cream cone after a trip to the dentist's office. This print isn't for everyone, but I have such vivid memories of getting those treats, I had to have it in my home. The cameo prints I made myself, and I found the teensy lamp for $7 at an antique shop.
These prints from
were on my wishlist for years. This sneak peek gave me the final push to make them my own. Every Thanksgiving Grandma would serve her potato salad in yellow Pyrex. She passed away two years ago, and this bowl always reminds me of her and the spunk she held onto until the end. Man, she was a spitfire. Having nearly zero counter space has been a challenge. These
bamboo oven toppers
offer a bit more space for me to spread out.
My bathroom is small, so keeping the walls white makes the space appear larger. I chose to use yellow, black and white to visually tie it to the kitchen. I found this tacky, realistically-painted animal head on eBay and painted it white. The shower curtain is from
I adopted this plant from a coworker, the marble cup is from
and the artwork is by Debbie Carlos. The falling horse prints are by
, and I painted their frames in my dresser's leftover grey.
My home's floorplan.