When Brandon Blunden and Katie Mckiernan met, they had no idea that their new friendship would eventually turn into a seven-year romantic partnership, the start of a business, homes together, and a future wedding. Brandon and Katie’s shared love for mid-century pieces is seen in every room of their Humboldt Park, Chicago two-flat apartment — and it fuels their custom and vintage furniture company, Department Chicago.
Brandon and Katie started looking for a new apartment three years ago. The first apartment they lived in together was in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of the city. The couple knew they wanted to stay in that neighborhood, but they needed to ensure that a new place would have more light than the first-floor apartment they were leaving. “We found our apartment now on Craigslist listed with no pictures,” Katie says. “We took a chance and it payed off. It is the brightest apartment we have ever lived in. It was perfect. South-facing windows unblocked by the house next door let in light all day long. It also has a huge deck, fenced-in yard and parking space. Can’t beat that in the city.” The result of this abundant natural light makes the couple’s flat the ideal setting for their retro styling and mid-century furniture.
Their business, Department Chicago, started with pieces Brandon and Katie found at estate sales, and has since turned into a handmade and curated collection for them to sell and enjoy in their own home. “Our apartment is an eclectic, ever-rotating showcase of art and furniture we’ve acquired over the past six years living together,” Katie shares. “Almost everything in our apartment is either vintage, up-cylced, or handmade. We tried to create a homey, warm, and functional space. We are big mid-century fans, but definitely wanted to keep a somewhat bohemian and retro vibe as well.” The large rooms, white walls, and historic charm of the 1890s apartment bring each piece of theirs to its full potential. Brandon and Katie’s unexpected life together has turned into a partnership, a beautiful business, and a thoughtfully styled home. –Lauren
Photography by Brandon Blunden