Wicker Park Apartment Re-Vamp

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What do you do with 220 square feet?
Location: Wicker Park
Size: 220 Sq ft living/dining room (750 Sq ft total)

Post-makeover, the apartment now balances geometric attributes, combining the crisp, straight lines of Aaron Blackall's artwork with the bold curvature of Herman Miller's Setu Lounge Chairs.  When I said balanced, however, I meant it; this combination would not be effective without tidiness and organization. When it came to knick-knacks and accents, we tried to take a second to really evaluate each piece and ask, Do I really love this, or is it just crowding the space?


Another strength in this apartment is the boldness of color.  If Roy G. Biv were a real man, he would be mighty proud of us.  Around the table, the presence of color owes its dues to the bright red color of the Eames Shell chairs and the variety of vivid colors used in Aaron Blackall’s artwork. To pull color into the front of the room, we used the bookshelves.  When randomly spread throughout such a tall bookshelf, the color of the books could have easily been missed. To avoid this, we grouped books by color, allowing the purpose and organization to be obvious and eye catching.

Challenges: This space is crooked. Check out the image taken of the front door with tall shelving on either side and you’ll see what I mean.  It’s hard to create a clean-looking space without having clean, straight lines to work with. In the end, a few wedges to slightly prop up furniture were just about all we could to do solve the problem.

Room for Improvement: We focused on the main body of the apartment, leaving the kitchen area and bedroom in need of a bit of TLC.  While thrifting for the colored glass bottles, we came across a beautiful spice rack that will be going up shortly and will likely inspire a whole host of kitchen re-vamp brainstorming sessions. We’ll also be installing an Ace Hardware-inspired colorful coat rack shortly. As far as the rest of the space goes… well, I guess the wave of inspiration is on its way. :)

Before And [Happily Ever] Afters:

See how the widest piece of furniture in the room, the kitchen table, is taking up space in the narrowest part of the room? Not very conducive to the traffic of life, is it? The initial inspiration for this entire project came from the need to move this table. It was, at first, placed here in order to accommodate the ceiling light fixture and fan, but, at the end of the day, when you've got a ceiling fan in the middle of a tiny room, it's just not worth ruining the floor space in order to keep things semi-centered. 

We ended up moving the table into the back corner, where it's out of the way and frees up a lot of walking space. Its old "home" is now filled by a sitting area that allows for easily movable lounge chairs and makes the space feel more fluid.

Ah! So messy.
Also, please note the lack of legitimate, lounge-able furniture. How's a girl to sit back and... do whatever people do when they... relax?

Ladies and Gentleman, meet Herman Miller's Setu Lounge Chairs.

The chairs, while obviously functional, were ten years and a civic center banquet old. 

Along with moving the table into a more functional space, we added red Eames Shell chairs with wire bases in a color that pops out of one of the focal art pieces in the room (Artwork by Aaron Blackall via Unwithered).  

C-l-u-t-t-e-r. Disorganization. Last but certainly not least, a visible, open air, college dorm style "pantry" like means of shelving food.

The bookshelves? I'm in love with them. Why, you ask? Because Justin organized the books by blocks of color. To the right of the door, oatmeal and bread and bags of brown sugar are no longer out to play. Instead, we swapped the furniture around to place these enclosed cabinets next to the kitchen. The swapping of furniture also lead to a more efficient stacking plan (the furniture was in stackable segments), which helps add more height on both sides of the door, making the space feel "higher" and larger while also freeing up floor space.

Want the rest of the tour?

Instead of a Christmas tree (we toyed around with it but ditched it in favor of this gem), we ended up with these metallic branches in thrifted colored glass vases. Adding a handful of baby red ornaments helped legitimize the desire to go alternative when it came to Christmas decor.  Check out this post for a tutorial to make your own.


  1. Wow. An apartment even smaller than mine. You're right. A bright braided rug would totally work.

  2. I love it! I used to live in Ukranian Village (Augusta and Damen, more or less)...I'm familiar with creative apt finagling. Great job! Love those loungers...


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