The Colorful New Chapter of a Charming Victorian

Share It

When Natalie and Alan Papier began looking for a new home for their family, the diverse and welcoming Oak Park neighborhood just outside of Chicago, IL stole their hearts. The area boasts a wonderful mix of architecture, from numerous Frank Lloyd Wright houses to 19th-century Victorian homes. With an active arts community, easy access to the city and a charming downtown area, the couple couldn’t think of a better place to settle down. It was eventually a charming Victorian in the Pleasant historic district that would become home.

Natalie, a home stylist, and Alan, an investment analyst, met 12 years ago back when Alan was the singer in a band, and happened to be playing in their hometown one night. The couple’s love for music and arts has prevailed throughout their years together, and has filtered down to their kids Kellen and Maddie, as well as their home. Their old Victorian is truly an extension of all things creative, decorated with unique pieces that create a cozy and inviting vibe. “There are no decorating rules here. It just has to feel good,” Natalie explains.

Built in 1883, their three-floor house has all the quirks that you would expect of a 19th-century home. “It’s a drafty old house but full of charm and all the things we love,” Natalie shares. “Things are always falling apart and needing updating a little at a time. We envision a full kitchen reno and mudroom addition in the next couple of years,” she adds. The biggest project that Natalie and Alan have taken on so far has been the attic conversion, which they completed in the fall of last year. The raw and unfinished space was turned into a family room, complete with a kitchenette. The project turned out to be well worth it, as the attic is now an ideal entertaining space for the kids and the perfect spot for family movie nights.

The family’s home naturally reflects Natalie’s fun and unique style and her love for decorating. From the bold poppy print wallpaper in the entry, to the emerald colored velvet sofa in the lounge, it’s clear that Natalie isn’t afraid of big statements. The common thread throughout the home is her creative use of color, pattern and texture in a way that feels cohesive and most of all, happy. Since moving in five years ago, making the house a home has become an ongoing process that will probably never end — as time goes by, the family can evolve and change with the house, becoming part of its story, just as much as it becomes part of theirs. Sofia

Photography by Marcela Rafea | Kitchen and dining table shots by Natalie Papier

  1. Sarah says:

    This interior is so fun and classy. I love the detailing and colours used to create a grownup functional space

    1. Natalie says:

      Thank you so much! That makes my day to hear that!

  2. Elizabeth R says:

    Wow! This is my dream home, exterior, interior, decorating, etc. Even the dog is adorable! Lovely, in my top five favorites ever on the site! Reflects my dream style perfectly!

    1. Natalie says:

      I can’t even tell you how much that means to me!! I truly appreciate your kind words!

  3. Laura says:

    Wow! This is a gorgeous home! I love all the textures and colors! Great style!

    1. Natalie says:

      Thank you, Laura!! You are so kind! Can’t get enough color!

  4. This house looks so warm, cozy, and joyful. I spy some budget furnishings, too, just like mine… attainable ;) I love it.

    1. Natalie says:

      Yes! We are definitely budget conscious… ;) Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments!!

  5. Carla says:

    I need to know where that bag is from (random i know) it’s my favorite color!

    1. Natalie says:

      The bag in the foyer on the coat rack? If so, it’s a vintage score! I love that bag too…. :)

  6. Love Natalie and her eye for finding vintage! I’m lucky enough to know her and she is as warm as her wonderfully fun house!

    1. Natalie says:

      Thank you so much, Claire! You are absolutely an inspiration to me!! Hope I get the pleasure of catching up with you soon!!

  7. Therese says:

    Such a beautiful home! Love the unique style and the mix of low and high design!

    1. Natalie says:

      Thank you very much, Therese!!

  8. Natalie says:

    Thank you so much, Claire! You are absolutely an inspiration to me!! Hope I get the pleasure of catching up with you soon!!

  9. Bernadetta janik says:

    Thats what happens when LOVE, passion and person with such a great taste meet together. All details are beautiful and classy. Everything has its place in each room. So UNIQUE!

    1. Natalie says:

      Thank you SO much! What sweet comments…. :)

  10. It does feel happy–great job Natalie, and great photos, Marcela!

    1. Natalie says:

      Thank you Tom!! Your expertise definitely helped us accomplish that vibe in the attic. :)

  11. Rachel says:

    Ahhh where is that mirror above the fireplace in the living room from??

    1. Natalie says:

      World Market! It’s an older piece (maybe purchased 5 years ago?) and I updated it with this brass paint. It was black. :)

  12. Sarah McDermott Shell says:

    Love it!! It has such great personality! Colorful & quirky :)

    1. Natalie says:

      Thank you so much, Sarah! That’s exactly how I would describe us… ;)

  13. madlyn says:

    What fun,and lovely too!!!

    1. Natalie says:

      Thank you so much for your sweet comments, Madlyn!

  14. Katrina says:

    This is beautiful! I live only minutes from you and would LUV help with my victorian staircase (gallery wall) I’ve been stuck for 5 years now! I loved all of this. So refreshing

    1. Natalie says:

      Thank you, Katrina!! I would love to meet! Feel free email me through the homeecop.com site or on FB!! Yay!

  15. This interior is so fun. Usually, I am not a fan of having every room painted a different color. Although in this home it works so well. In part, I feel that this is because of their unique and story telling home decor. The way you decorate your home should always reflect who you are, they definitely accomplished this.

    1. Natalie says:

      I really appreciate hearing this, Charlotte! You are so kind! We are all unique, right?

  16. Margot says:

    Great house. Love the opening shot of the hallway with the mirror reflecting the stairs, the beautifully framed family portrait coupled with that mustard chair, and last but not least, the portrait of the family dog!

  17. Natalie says:

    Thank you, Margot!! I really appreciate your kind feedback. Especially on my dogs portrait! We love Henry :)

  18. Hi Natalie, I live in Oak Park too! I just love it. I am a Graphic Designer super into Interior Design too. We have similar decorating styles, I even have that same Stained Glass rug from CB2. If you want to check out my house here is my Houzz profile. Once our kitchen is done this summer I would love to get onto Design Sponge too, it’s pretty much one of my top life ambitions!
    We should connect, feel free to contact me through my houzz profile.

    https://www.houzz.com/pro/clairelouisedesign/__public

    1. Natalie says:

      Love it, Claire! You have great style!! Would love to connect sometime soon. :)

  19. Ruth says:

    OMG this is one of my favorite home tours ever. So quirky and fun!

    1. Natalie says:

      Thank you so much, Ruth!!!

  20. Sara L. says:

    This is definitely one of my favorites, as well! Love everything about it. The paint colors, the art, the mix of old and new, and that dog! Oh my gosh. I am trying to give my house a similar feeling, and hope I can succeed half as well. Inspiring!

  21. Carissa says:

    I think this home is beautiful and cozy. While it is colorful it still feels chill and like a place you’d love to attend a dinner party. It’s a charming mix of old and new. Well done Natalie!

  22. Sakinah Kelly says:

    Hi Natalie! Your home is beautiful! May I ask where the leather ottoman in the living room was purchased? Thanks! Sakinah

  23. Lolly says:

    Love everything

    …except the cat on the kitchen counter. “GET DOWN!”

    I love the repeated colors of cheerful orange, yellow, and teal. Just a winning combination. It cheers me right up.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.