Interiorssneak peeks

A Celebration of Punchy Colors & Delightful Kitsch in Chicago, IL

by Kelli Kehler

I think it is splendidly satisfying when a home reflects its owners through and through — when you walk into a home and know exactly who it belongs to without any prior debriefing. This is the complete opposite of someone who might be gregarious in their wardrobe or social pursuits, but prefers a stark and minimal home; or maybe a fun and outgoing home for an otherwise introverted person. I’m talking about the kind of home where the owner’s personality is downloaded, word-for-word, into every room of the home. When this happens in design, it’s downright magical.

Which is why I am so enamored by the Chicago, IL home of Anna Rafferty and Richard Schreiber (and their cats Bob and Barbara). Richard is an elementary school art teacher in Chicago Public Schools, and Anna sells fantastic vintage clothes — and their affinity for creativity is plain as day. “I have a vintage clothing brand called Barbie Roadkill Vintage; I sell on Etsy as well as in a retail space that I share with two other women called Festive Collective (it’s a colorful pink dreamland specializing in party supplies and vintage; you have to check it out if you’re in Chicago!),” Anna begins. “I’m attracted to the bold colors and prints I grew up with in the 80s and 90s, and my vintage shop and home decorating aesthetic reflects that. My husband Richard is an elementary school art teacher, and lucky for me, he’s a fan of color, too! He’s content to let me handle the decorating and I’m more than happy to let him do the dishes.”

Tucked onto the third (top) floor of a 1922 condo in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood, Anna and Richard bought this 1,200-square-foot home in August 2018. Crayons in hand (yes, crayons), Anna got to work sketching her technicolor plans for each room. “My main goal with our home was to inject as much color into each room as possible without it looking too gaudy,” she shares. “We didn’t have the budget for designer and mid-century modern furniture and decor that we love, so most of our things are secondhand from Craigslist or thrift stores, but we still sought out pieces that felt special and well-made. Ultimately, we wanted the space to feel impactful but still inviting and comfortable.” Anna’s vibrant plans are now reality — with some changes and tweaks made once the couple moved into the space and really felt it out — resulting in a pleasing blend of in-your-face color, joyful accessories and vintage sensibilities. It’s a home that’s sure to draw out a smile. —Kelli

Photography by Anna Rafferty / @barbie_roadkill & @thefestivecollective

Image above: The main bedroom. Anna shares, “We hired painters before we moved in, which we’ve never done before and it made a huge difference to have that done first. I made sketches (on paper with crayons, I’m not tech-savvy at all) of how I thought the rooms would look, but most rooms ended up quite different once we were actually working in the space. There’s only so much mapping and planning that can be done in advance; a lot of decorating is trial and error… It feels like home now, after six months, but there are still projects on my to-do list (and there probably always will be!).”


“Our bedroom is long but narrow, so it basically only fits our bed and my husband’s closet,” Anna says. “The light purple wall color (called ‘Confetti’) is my favorite.”


“We mixed in pops of bright orange for contrast with textiles and wall art. I love waking up here.”


The home’s vibrant entryway sets the tone for the rest of the space. Anna shares some decorating advice for others:

“1. My favorite finds came from thrift stores, garage sales, and Craigslist — mixing old with new gives a home more character.

2. Plants improve the mood of any room.

3. The kitschiest home decor is usually [found] in the kid’s section [of a store].”


“The foyer might be my favorite part of our house,” Anna begins. “My friend and local Chicago artist Sydney Veverka painted the gorgeous tiger mural on the entry wall before we moved in. It’s the first thing you see when you step into our home and it instantly lifts my spirits, no matter what kind of day I’m having. We recently found the piano on Craigslist and my goal for 2019 is to learn to play. Fortunately, we live right by the Old Town School of Folk Music where I plan to take lessons.”


“We love the decorative fireplace and built-in shelving in the living room, but when we first got the place, the walls were grey and the fireplace tile was a dark muted green — it felt too serious. We went with a seafoam green wall color and stark white paint for the tile surround which instantly made the space feel brighter and more inviting,” Anna explains.


“We have to be selective about upholstery on seating because our cats both have their claws, which is why much of our furniture is wood, wicker, or acrylic. Covering the chairs and couch with sheepskins keeps them from scratching and also adds more color (a win-win!).”


A fun melange of kitsch — Anna’s treasured finds and unique style on proud display in the living room.


Anna shares, “I love Moroccan textiles for the bold use of neon, so this rug was one of my favorite additions. I found the cheetah sculpture on Craigslist (I swear the Chicagoland Craigslist selection is the best!).”


“The second bedroom, which we refer to simply as the pink room, is a multi-purpose space that serves as the TV room/den as well as my dressing room,” Anna notes. “We spend a lot of time relaxing in here.”


The paint color [in the Pink Room] is called Gumball and I picked it based on the name alone.


Anna shares, “Decorating, in this home especially, taught me how to slow down and allow the process to happen over a period of time. I had a vision for how I wanted each room to look before we even moved in, and I had to be flexible when things didn’t go as planned (like furniture not fitting, colors not complementing each other, etc.). I wanted every room to be painted, furniture in place, and artwork hung within a week of moving in. Instead, and against my impulsive nature, I worked slowly room by room, making sure each one was 100% before moving onto another project. Still, I’ve already rearranged each room a time or two since then.”


Gumball pink paint uplifts Anna’s cheeky mix of decor, a signature style move of hers that is both maximalist yet refined in one swoop. “This is arguably the most colorful room in the house,” she adds.


“The dining room, which leads right into the kitchen, has the most vintage charm. The hutch (original from 1922) is built into the wall. The oak pedestal dining table is a family heirloom that I painted purple (sorry, grandma!) and the Stendig chairs are from a garage sale in Nebraska that my mom upholstered in green velvet.”


In the dining room, a family portrait by Hannah Chavez.


Anna says, “We fit a desk in the corner and paired it with my all-time favorite find — the lucite sculptural chair that I got thrifting on Chicago’s south side. The only regret I have about this room is the paint color, which I hoped would be more of a neon peach but turned out a bit subdued.”


A view of the kitchen from the dining room.


“The kitchen is the least used room in our home. Neither of us cooks, so we mostly come in here to pour cereal or heat up leftovers. Still, I love the blue walls with white cabinetry. Maybe this year I’ll learn to cook and break in the stove.”


“I got the iridescent shower curtain to use as a backdrop for photo shoots for Etsy, but it’s great as a shower curtain, too! The light comes through and casts a rainbow glow in the afternoon.”


A peek into the home’s spacious sunroom.


“The sunroom is the space that really sold us on the condo,” Anna shares. “We imagined it would be a yoga/meditation room, but the plants kind of took over. The wood paneled ceiling gives it something of a retro vibe, so macramé plant hangers and wicker furniture felt like a natural pairing. It’s the best room for morning coffee.”


A vintage wicker chair is perfectly poised amidst the plants and abundant natural light in the sunroom.


Anna’s assorted mix of taxidermy and other artworks are all thrifted or vintage.


Anna reflects on the process of buying their home, “When we decided we were ready to buy, we knew we wanted a condo (rather than a house) in an older building with a lot of character. Our place has well preserved vintage attributes (like the original hutch in the dining room) as well as modern updates like large windows and new bathrooms. The neighborhood, Lincoln Square, is charming and we have easy access to shops and restaurants, and the train is in walking distance. It’s also near the Chicago river and two large parks.”


Anna, Richard and cats Bob and Barbara sit perfectly content in their colorful home.


“What I love most about my home is the color.” –Anna Rafferty



Mural – Hand painted by Sydney Veverka
Entry table – handmade by Michael Gerlach
Artwork – vintage, thrifted
Janssen piano – vintage, Craigslist
Pink sheepskin – Etsy, Exclusive
Rug – Urban Outfitters

Living Room

Paint – Behr “Seafoam Pearl”
Moroccan rug: Etsy
Brass swivel table – vintage, Craigslist
Yellow velvet couch – Urban Outfitters
Pillows – Urban Outfitters
Tripod floor lamp – Amazon
Palm tree floor lamp – PB Teen
Armchairs – vintage Paoli
Blue sheepskins – IKEA
Cheetah sculpture: vintage, Craigslist
Mid-century petite sideboard – vintage, Shark Gravy Chicago
Acrylic on cut-out wood painting – Misaki Kawai
Lips wall charm: Great Lakes Goods
Ceramic cat lamp – vintage
Nude painting – vintage
Other artwork – vintage, thrifted


Paint – Behr “Crystal Falls”
Yellow chairs – IKEA
Rug – West Elm
Light fixture – George Nelson saucer pendant lamp


Shower curtain – Urban Outfitters
Tiger bath mat – Urban Outfitters

Main Bedroom

Paint – Behr “Confetti”
Bedding – Circa 78 Designs from Society 6
Rug – Urban Outfitters
Nightstands – IKEA
Macrame wall hanging – Etsy, Wall Knot
Assorted artwork – vintage, thrifted

Pink Room

Paint – Behr “Gumball”
Turkish overdyed rug – Etsy, 4 Ever Rug
Wicker chair – vintage, Mint Home Chicago
TV stand – IKEA
Couch – IKEA
Blankets – handmade in Mexico
Afghans – thrifted
Pillows – Urban Outfitters, IKEA
Dresser – thrifted
Clear pink chair – Modway
Pink faux fur footstool – Target
Orange table – thrifted, painted
Wall weavings – Lace & Loom
Girl & Tiger painting – Tae Lee
Beaded curtain – Urban Outfitters
Rainbow wall charm – Great Lakes Goods
Assorted artwork – vintage, thrifted

Dining Room

Paint – Behr “Citrus Delight”
Light fixture – Panton pendant lamp
Pedestal dining table – vintage, painted
Stendig bentwood cane chairs – vintage, garage sale
Wooden bench – handmade by Michael Gerlach
Turkish overdyed rug – Etsy, 4 Ever Rug
Mid-century desk – vintage, Furniture Underground Chicago
Lucite sculptural chair – thrifted, Treasures Depot Chicago
Yellow desk lamp – IKEA
Family portrait – Hannah Chavez
Wrestler painting – Tae Lee
Assorted artwork – vintage, thrifted


Cowhide rug – IKEA
Wicker furniture – vintage, Mint Home Chicago
Peacock chair – vintage, garage sale
Pillows – IKEA, Urban Outfitters
Chartreuse sheepskin – Etsy, Exclusive Rug
Assorted planters/plant stands – IKEA, vintage
Assorted taxidermy/artwork – vintage, thrifted

Suggested For You


  • This makes my heart sing…what a beautiful home! I was just thinking the other day how I’m so bored seeing white walls with wood tones throughout a house…I’m ready for more color!

  • You rock, Anna! Like the writer said, it’s amazing how much your home is a complete reflection of who you are – inviting, vibrant, deliciously sweet with a twist of edge. YOU and your home just make people want to smile!!

  • what a wonderful apartment! and that sunroom! how lovely to come home to all that colour and all those plants. the tiger mural and cheetah sculpture, in particular, are divine. also, fabulous names for the cats.

  • Gasp! that! mural! WOW. I hope it never gets painted over, it is fabulous. As one color geek to another (and who has never liked a white wall in my life), I salute you!

  • Absolutely nothing about this place is my style- and I love that!! Thank you Design Sponge for consistently showing us more than one style and telling us that is all that is acceptable and good. I am so so sad to see it go. Well done, Miss Bonney. You’ll leave an awful hole in the design and lifestyle world. Take care and best wishes.

  • This apartment is a true inspiration! So much so, in fact, that I went out and bought a sample of the kitchen paint color in hopes of a cheery addition to white cupboards. Is there a chance that the name of the paint is incorrect, because the Crystal Falls sample I got is a real sky blue without a hint of turquoise. Maybe a dud sample? Or the wrong name? Thanks for any input. xo

  • I love your home Anna. And I think the dining room color is great, it’s a very warm and inviting room.