On Chicago’s southwest side lies Little Village, aka the “Mexico of the Midwest.” Deemed so for its burgeoning population of immigrants, the neighborhood boasts one of the most vibrant cultural voices in the city. The undeniably spirited vibe of the area is largely in thanks to its bustling thoroughfares and close-knit community. Hit one up, and you’ll find yourself strolling to a soundtrack authentically Mexican. The tinkling bells of push-cart vendors hit the high notes, and shoppers’ bellies hit the low as they rumble from the smell of freshly-made tortillas.
Two big fans of the neighborhood are husband-and-husband duo Dom and James of Kingsman Labs. They love this community so much, in fact, for the past four years they’ve been remodeling two rental properties in one of its vintage walk-ups. Dom even left his job in advertising to handle the renovation full-time. And it’s a good thing he did. Once he and James got into the nitty gritty of flipping the space, it was clear there was a lot of work to be done.
One of their biggest challenges proved to be the garden unit’s revitalization. Situated on the ground level, the lower of the two apartments had flooded before Dom and James took over. The damage was so extensive that nearly every aspect of the space had to be recharged; from the kitchen, to the walls, to the bathroom. With James handling these plumbing and electrical setbacks, Dom went about drywalling and tackling the aesthetics of each room. The most ingenious decorating move he made has to be the use of Teddy Roosevelt’s biography to wallpaper the bedroom. Over the course of two days, Dom meticulously adhered each page to the wall, creating a written mosaic for their houseguests to enjoy.
This one-of-a-kind design trick isn’t the only eye-catching renovation move the couple has made. As you’ll see, each space has been given a rustic overhaul complete with vintage finds, trendy paint tricks and warm textures. Click through to take a look at both units’ facelift then head over to the couple’s Airbnb page to book a few nights in either one. Enjoy! —Garrett
Photography by Dom Cordilla
Image above: Handmade end tables and pages from a biography decorate the garden unit’s walls.