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Interiorssneak peeks

An Illinois Home Proves Keeping Your Eye on the Prize Pays Off

by Garrett Fleming

I love how smooth and painless home renovations are. They always go off without a hitch. In fact, it’s surprising more people don’t take them on, right? Wrong! Who am I kidding? Renovations are tough! They test you, push you to your limits, and make you question so many things about your vision.

Such was the case with interior designer and fiber artist Astral Riles’ mid-century home outside Chicago, IL. After having viewed over 40 properties, she stumbled upon this hidden gem and her interest was captured. The two-bedroom home boasted just the right amount of space and a floor-to-ceiling fireplace — not bad. The ranch-style abode did need one tiny thing, though: a total overhaul. Where some may have seen an insurmountable challenge, optimist Astral saw opportunity. Here was the decor enthusiast’s chance to get her hands dirty and make a house into a dream home. Going into the project she knew it wouldn’t be easy, but no one could’ve predicted the tough road ahead. Just like that, the five-week renovation turned into a six-month battle of missed deadlines and spotty work. The situation got so bad, Astral eventually had to let the contractor go, leaving her to find a new partner that could bring her vision to life.

Not one to let negativity dampen her dream, Astral forged ahead with a new right-hand man and a newfound determination to correct the bad construction and strip down the space. Thanks to that go-getter attitude, the mid-century ranch is a total looker nowadays, with each and every one of its “functional and comfortable” accessories adding to its colorful and inviting swagger. As you’ll see, vintage accessories mingle with newer furniture as glitzy wall mounts and layered textiles create an inviting vibe perfect for cozying up to the fire on a cold night. All in all, Astral has used every room in the space to bring to life one of her favorite looks, and I truly admire her perseverance. Click through to take a peek around the rest of the home. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by MGB Photo

An Illinois Home Proves Keeping Your Eye on the Prize Pays Off, Design*Sponge
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Gift wrap from Zazzle has given the craft room's computer closet a whole new look. Samples of Astral's fiber work hang to its right.
An Illinois Home Proves Keeping Your Eye on the Prize Pays Off, Design*Sponge
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Astral moved into her 1950s-era home eight years ago, and she hasn't stopped decorating it since. She cleverly uses each of its six rooms to bring to life many of her favorite decorating styles.
An Illinois Home Proves Keeping Your Eye on the Prize Pays Off, Design*Sponge
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Astral records her podcast "Can I Park Here?" from inside the converted closet.
An Illinois Home Proves Keeping Your Eye on the Prize Pays Off, Design*Sponge
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If you're looking for a taller desk with more storage and work space, do like Astral and skip the typical options. Her IKEA island has proven to be a way more functional option.
An Illinois Home Proves Keeping Your Eye on the Prize Pays Off, Design*Sponge
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The craft room's shelving proves how handy Astral is when tasked with a little DIY project. The piece started out as a set of simple IKEA cubbies. She then stained and installed the swinging doors and topped it all off with charming hardware. The prints are from Pardon my Fro.
An Illinois Home Proves Keeping Your Eye on the Prize Pays Off, Design*Sponge
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Keeping the walls of her living room white lets Astral play around with mixing in bright furniture and accessories without having to worry about whether or not they will clash with the room's overall hue. A Rowe sofa and West Elm rug are just two of the accessories Astral uses to achieve that "retro chic" vibe she loves.
An Illinois Home Proves Keeping Your Eye on the Prize Pays Off, Design*Sponge
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Astral's goal for her home was pretty simple. "I just wanted every room to be functional and comfortable," she says. The metal wall art above her TV is from Home Goods.
An Illinois Home Proves Keeping Your Eye on the Prize Pays Off, Design*Sponge
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Peppered amongst the vintage cabinet and dining chairs are newer pieces that keep the dining room from feeling too much like a throwback. The dining table is from Dania Furniture Co., and the chandelier is from Pottery Barn.
An Illinois Home Proves Keeping Your Eye on the Prize Pays Off, Design*Sponge
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In order to open up the kitchen to the rest of the home -- without having to totally tear down a wall -- Astral had this pass-through added when she renovated. It provides a great amount of extra seating for when guests pop in.
An Illinois Home Proves Keeping Your Eye on the Prize Pays Off, Design*Sponge
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It only took one simple swap to update the kitchen: new cabinet pulls. The dated, chrome handles were replaced with this mod, gold style.
An Illinois Home Proves Keeping Your Eye on the Prize Pays Off, Design*Sponge
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This 68" Restoration Hardware headboard was a major splurge for Astral. She adores how its stature "... makes [her] feel all warm and fuzzy inside."
An Illinois Home Proves Keeping Your Eye on the Prize Pays Off, Design*Sponge
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The workspace in Astral's bedroom isn't large, so she chose this slim, glass desk from IKEA to prevent the area from looking "too heavy or cluttered." World Market makes the pink chair.
An Illinois Home Proves Keeping Your Eye on the Prize Pays Off, Design*Sponge
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An Illinois Home Proves Keeping Your Eye on the Prize Pays Off, Design*Sponge
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The two-bedroom, ranch-style home was built in 1950.

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