Interiorssneak peeks

A Chicago Home Filled With Reflections of Family, Culture & Love

by Rebekah Carey

When Mylene and Ramilo bought their 1948 Chicago Georgian home, they arrived with their dog, full hearts, and gratitude for their opportunity. In the four years they’ve lived there, they’ve added two sons (one of whom just came home from the hospital!), interwoven both of their cultures –Mylene is Puerto Rican and Ramilo is Filipino — and layered in thrifted, found, and garage sale finds to create a welcoming home that reflects them as a family.

“I remember when we first bought our home,” Mylene recalls. “It was empty and we brought in a bunch of pillows and fold-out small picnic tables. We ordered pizza and invited our closest friends and family over. We ate, played games, and then had a moment where we all prayed over our new home. It is one of the most beautiful memories I have here — friends and family all scattered around the house, in different rooms praying over the spaces. Also, of course, knowing this is the home my children have and will spend their first years is so precious to me, and simply the blessing of having a home makes me thankful enough.”

The love Mylene has for her family is clearly reflected in how she designed and styled her home, and the same goes for the actual items they bring into it. Mylene says they don’t adhere to a certain style, but more to the rule that they have to really love anything they bring into their home. She adds that a goal this year is to keep simplifying their home and to keep adding themselves into it. “The biggest decorating goal is to infuse us in the decor. For example, in our living room near our couches are watercolor prints of the Philippines and Puerto Rico. Over our nightstands are the words ‘I love you’ in our languages. I have small decor pieces throughout our home that are from our culture[s], and I desire to keep finding creative ways to represent us!”

The kitchen remains a space where Mylene dreams of knocking down a wall to create an open floor plan with the living room. In the meantime (or, in the event they end up moving some day down the road) she cleverly updated their kitchen with a twenty dollar can of “oops” paint and new hardware, painted the tile, added some additional storage, and most impressively covered the blue linoleum countertops with marble contact paper.

An equally impressive project is the “wallpaper” in their living room — except it’s not wallpaper, Mylene actually painted it by hand! “I knew I wanted a pattern on that wall and wallpaper was out of option, due to budget, so I pushed myself to think about things we already had in our home that I can use to create a feature on our walls,” she tells us. “That’s when I started to think of ways to represent us on that wall and came across the mud cloth idea! Mud cloth roots are African, and as a Puerto Rican my ancestors are African, Spanish, and Taino. So, I went at it, I had the paint already on hand and came up with a pattern that worked for me!”

Mylene’s background is in Elementary Education and after years of substitute teaching, she decided to take the leap to pursue her passion of interior design. While she was in her last semester finishing her thesis she became pregnant with her son, Ian. Now, almost two years since graduating with a Master of the Arts in Interior Design, she’s been hoping to one day offer e-design and create a vlog or blog of her own. If the intentions she’s added to her home can be any indication, we can’t wait to see where she goes from here! Rebekah 

Photography by Sasha Kisiel

Image above: “I love to repurpose things from various events and spaces. These paper airplanes I made for my son’s first birthday party were the perfect touch for over his bed. My son is obsessed with anything that flies, and planes are hands down his fave!” 

The Raspado Family In Their Chicago Home Tour On Design*Sponge

“Nothing makes a home a home like family does! Showing my bump at nine months!” Since this photo was taken, Mylene and Ramilo have brought home their new baby boy.

A Charming Shared Kids' Room Tour On Design*Sponge

The boys’ room. “This room was the first fully completed room in the house! It has less color than the majority of our spaces but it speaks well to our boys’ interests!”

Ian Anxiously Awaiting His New Little Brother Tour On Design*Sponge

Ian at play in his room that’s soon to have a new roommate!

A Favorite Quote From This Mother For Her Boys Home Tour On Design*Sponge

Mylene intentionally chooses her sentiments that are written throughout her home. Here, a hope for her sons hangs above the crib. “My prayer for my boys’ relationship: ‘Always be humble, and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowances for each other’s faults because of your love,’ Ephesians 4:2.”

A Colorful Living Room In Chicago Home Tour On Design*Sponge

Mylene reveals her keen eye (and inventive light fixture) and inspiration for her living room: “I love mixing colors and textures, as well as old pieces and new. The majority of the furniture in this room was thrifted. We have left out a coffee table for the time being to allow room for our boys to play freely. The light fixture I made from a thrifted beaded car seat cover!”

One Corner Of This Chicago Living Room Is Dedicated To A Kids Play Area Home Tour On Design*Sponge

“I recently just made this little area for my boys. It’s an old craft desk that I converted to kid’s size so my boys can have a place to build and color! The ‘Stay a while’ was made from a thrifted frame, leftover marble contact paper, and felt letters. It was my spinoff of a letter board,” Mylene explains.

A Vintage Couch That Dictated The Design Of An Entire Room Tour On Design*Sponge

Sometimes a piece of furniture can kick off the inspiration for an entire room, “We recently moved our couch in this position and it truly has opened up the space! The couch is vintage and reupholstered in this gorgeous fabric. The couch is what led me to choose the teal walls; I wanted a color that would allow it to pop!”

Contrasting Colors And A Mix Of Styles Creates This Inviting Chicago Living Room On Design*Sponge

An easily updated piece becomes a living room staple. “One of my fave thrift finds is our credenza! We simply showed it some love with paint and stain. It’s the perfect storage for all our boys’ toys!”

Wallpaper And A Bold Paint Color Create Contrast And Transition In The Living Room On Design*Sponge

“This has become my favorite view of our home. I just love how it all came together! That cute little stained glass was a thrift find and helps hide the eyesore of the glass block window,” Mylene admits.

Mud Cloth Faux Wallpaper Sneaks A Peek In The Living Room Of This Chicago Home On Design*Sponge

Budget-friendly and sentimental details can be found in this area of Mylene’s home as well. “So many things I love about this corner! The shoe storage that is practical and allows me to have a mantel-like feel in our home. The thrifted statue that reminds me of my husband and son. And last but not least, the mud cloth wall feature I hand-painted to represent our culture!”

Details In This Chicago Living Room Feature A Special Quote Tour On Design*Sponge

“We recently added this print and I love it! Speaks well to our home, ‘May your walls know joy, may every room hold laughter and every window open to great possibility.'”


A Small Bathroom With Creative Details On Design*Sponge

Another happy reminder of time well spent during a house project, “This room makes me smile again and again. Me and my father designed it together. The vanity was a clearance nightstand that we turned into a vanity! The wallpaper was just the touch this small room needed to make it inviting.”

Art Meets Intentions In This Chicago Home Tour On Design*Sponge

This corner of the dining room again infuses hopes for the home (and its inhabitants) with the art. “This area displays one of the many verses/quotes that speak to our home, ‘They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,’ Act 2:46. I’ve always desired our home to be a home that is welcoming and leaves people with a feeling of comfort and joy. This is also a place where I display some thrifted finds.”

A Small Dining Room That Always Makes Room For Guests Home Tour On Design*Sponge

“Our dining room is very tight! If you can see, the two chairs by the window are not accessible unless the table is pulled forward! This shows my biggest design regret — not going with a round table for this space,” Mylene admits. “I am always thinking ahead and since this table came with an extension, I thought it would suit us well in our next home. The banner on the curtain are remains from my son’s six-month mark, LOL. I often leave up party decor as [home] decor, from the fun memories tied to them!”

A Kitchen Upgraded On A Budget This Chicago Home Tour Is On Design*Sponge

Mylene updated her kitchen with a fresh coat of paint and even gave her countertops a DIY upgrade.

DIY Faux Marble Countertops Make A Dramatic Difference In This Chicago Kitchen Full Tour On Design*Sponge

Mylene is rightfully impressed with her dramatic (and simple) kitchen DIY. “I still can’t get over the marble contact paper and what a game-changer it brought to our kitchen, and it was totally budget-friendly! Also, paint — it does any space good!”

The Second Bathroom In This Chicago Home Gets A Moody Update Home Tour On Design*Sponge

“This little space has a special place in my heart,” Mylene says. “It’s the first room we fully renovated after buying the house. It also was me taking a bold step with a moody color at a time they were yet to be favored!”

A Headboard Made By The Homeowner's Father In The Master Bedroom Tour On Design*Sponge

“I don’t think I can ever get over this headboard, and my father made the perfect matching platform bed frame to match it! The nightstands were a great garage sale find that we showed some love with paint,” Mylene explains.

A Handmade Bed From The Homeowner's Father Shines In This Master Bedroom Home Tour On Design*Sponge

An inviting master bedroom features the beautiful bed Mylene’s father made for them, as well as more of her amazing finds.

A Sentimental Message Is Displayed Next To The Bed In This Chicago Home Tour On Design*Sponge

“I love the touch of ‘I love you’ displayed in Spanish and Tagalog — displaying both of our cultures,” Mylene shares.

A Found Vintage Dresser Holds Court In This Master Bedroom On Design*Sponge

“This is my absolute favorite find yet — I found this dresser in an alley! All I did was add some black paint here and there and brought it back to life!”

Affordable Accessories Dot This Home's Master Bedroom Dresser On Design*Sponge

Mylene’s bedroom dresser tableau is pretty and affordable. “I love that everything here was under seven dollars! I have always loved to thrift and to turn pieces people have left behind into new treasures! It is so hard for me to buy expensive pieces when I know there are so many unique pieces waiting for me to find at a thrift store, garage sale, or even alley! I really believe that a beautiful home isn’t made right away, it’s made through collecting pieces that truly bring you joy and excitement. By slowly weaving in aspects of the people who dwell there into the space. I also think this is why I am just coming around to really loving the design my home has come into now, four years later, because creating and collecting isn’t done overnight!”

The Office In This Lovely Chicago Home Uses The Same Wallpaper As The Powder Room To Be Budget-Savvy Full Tour On Design*Sponge

“This is one of our most recent projects that is still in process. We used the same wallpaper as the powder room to be budget-friendly,” Mylene explains. “I love finding ways to creatively add encouragement as much as I can throughout our home.”

The Raspado Family's Favorite Parts Of Their Home With Tour On Design*Sponge

“Our favorite thing about our home is it is forever evolving, just like the love and people who dwell within it,” Mylene shares.

Chicago Charmer House Plans With Full Tour On Design*Sponge

Mylene and Ramilo’s house plan.


Dining Room
Rug- IKEA, Alvine Ruta
Table- West Elm, Anderson
Gray Chairs- Target, Windsor Dining Chair
End Chairs- TJ Maxx
Curtains- Target, Threshold Basketweave Curtain and Threshold Chiffon Sheer Curtain Panel
Light Pendant: IKEA, Ranarp
High Chair: IKEA, Blames
Framed Tea Towel: Mary & Martha
Wall Color- Benjamine Moore, “Revere Pewter”

Marble Contact Paper- Amazon, DC Fix
Cabinet Color- Shermin Williams, “Stone Eagle”
Mugs- Crate & Barrel, Hue Dark Gray Mug
Tall Storage Canisters- Michaels
Mug Shelf- West Elm
Photo on window ledge- KarinaMoraPrints.com
Breadbox- Target
Sugar & Creamer- West Elm
Small Wider Storage Canisters- Crate & Barrel, Silo Canister
Letter board- Target
Macrame on window- Five Below

Living Room
Wall Color- Behr Marquee, “Walk Me Home”
Couch- Twice By Kelly
Rug- Wayfair, Olga Gray Area Rug
Wall Hanging- TJ Maxx
Floor Lamp- Target, Edris Metal Globe, Project 62
Small woven baskets- IKEA, Fryken
Rocking Chair and ottoman- IKEA, Poang
Pillows- IKEA, Target, and Hobby Lobby
Small white Table- Target, Hourglass Accent Table, Project 62
Pouf- Target
HI Pillow- Goodwill (via Target)
Storage Baskets- IKEA, Knipsa
Woven Ottoman- IKEA, Alseda
Shag Rug- Five Below
Curtains- Target, Threshold Basketweave Curtain and Threshold Chiffon Sheer Curtain Panel
Light Fixture- Homemade
TV Credenza- Thrifted
Blanket Ladder- Amazon, Towel Ladder
Round Mirror- Target, Round Decorative Wall Mirror Brass, Project 62
White Shoe Cabinet- IKEA, Hemnes
Woven Planters- Aldi
Print on TV wall- Cali Attwood Home

Powder Room
Wallpaper- Target, Devine Color, Wildflower-Sterling
Hanging Baskets- IKEA, Nordrana
Faucet- Menards
Vanity- DIY; bottom is a night stand from TJ Maxx
Mirror- Thrifted

Mirror- HomeGoods
Light Fixture- West Elm
Mudcloth- Etsy, Pineandbirchky
Small Wall Hanging- Target
Towel Hook on Door- Target
Paint- Behr, “Black”

Boys’ Room
Wall Paint- Benjamin Moore, “Revere Pewter”
Airplanes- DIY
Table- Land of Nod & Chairs (Repainted)
Bed- IKEA, Minnen
ABC Print- Paper Source
Rug- Target
Wall Hanging with tassels- Target
Paper scroll- IKEA
Pom Pom Garland- Hobby Lobby
Storage bins- Target
Octopus- Target
Stripe Blanket- IKEA
Lightbox- Michaels
Crib- Gifted
Panda Bear- Target
Print with Scripture- Hobby Lobby
Blanket above crib- Modern Burlap
Wire and Clips Tapestry is Hung on- IKEA
Blanket on Crib- Paper Source
Pillows- Hobby Lobby & Target

Master Bedroom
Paint- Behr, “Painted Turtle”
Headboard- Urban Outfitters
Pillows- Target and Hobby Lobby
Bedspread- Target
Nightstands- Garage sale
“I Love you” Prints- Etsy, Coco&Freckles
Wall Sconces- IKEA, Hektar
Watch holder- Target
Dresser- Alley Find
Hamper- Target
Plant Hanger- Five Below
Small wall hanger- Target
Frame- Thrifted
Pottery- Thrifed
Basket- Target
Rug- Target

Wallpaper- Target, Devine Color, Wildflower-Sterling
Desk- IKEA, Linnmon and Glasholm
Lamp- IKEA, Ranrap
Gray Chairs- Target, Windsor Dining Chair
Garbage Can- IKEA
Storage Bins- IKEA
Calendar- Target, Dollar Spot
“You Got This” Print- Hobby Lobby
Mini Banners- Target, Dollar Spot

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