A 100-Year-Old Chicago Condo Was Given New Life with Paint, Wallpaper, and More

Lifestyle

Name:Julie Mitchiner, my husband, Nick Dwayne, our son, Teddy, and our dog, Walter
Location: Roscoe Village, Chicago
Size: 1400 square feet
Type of Home: Condo in a three-flat building
Years lived in: 3 years, owned

I saw our condo online but it was under contract, but I kept stalking it and the original deal fell through. We went and saw it as soon as it went back on the market and made an offer the same day. I love the original details like the millwork, fireplace, built-ins, and bay window. Functionally, I love the layout and it has good space for a two bedroom, one bathroom condo. It’s a 100-year-old three-flat walk-up in the Roscoe Village neighborhood of Chicago, and honestly we spend most of our time dreaming and scheming for the next home project.

After working for other Chicago interior design firms for over 10 years, I recently branched off on my own with JAM Interior Design. It might be crazy to do that in the middle of a pandemic with a newborn but I’m so excited to help others make their house a home. 

My Style: Can I choose them all? MCM, vintage, Scandi, boho, and classic 

Inspiration: The condo had great bones. I didn’t want to take away from the character of this classic Chicago home, but still wanted to make it our own. My goal was to make it cozy, layered, and unique, while still highlighting the original details. The rooms complement each other while still having their own personality.

Favorite Element: The bay window in the living room. While touring houses I always had to envision where a future Christmas tree would go and this one was perfect! We made a cover for the radiator so it now functions as an inviting window seat and favorite spot of our dog, Walter. I also love the wallpaper we added in both the front and back entries—such a fun way to be greeted. 

Biggest Challenge: The kitchen layout. The refrigerator was originally blocking the only window in the kitchen so we had to find a new place for it when we reimagined that room—which is no easy task in a small galley kitchen. We were able to steal a little room from the closet in the nursery and sunk the fridge into that wall which completely opened up the kitchen and gave us a functioning window.  

Proudest DIY: The nursery. We did all the board and batten and installed the wallpaper ourselves after the pandemic hit in March and we were under quarantine. 

Biggest Indulgence: The kitchen. There was virtually no counter space before and the refrigerator covered the window. It was the first project we tackled when we moved in and we are so glad we did. We use it all the time—especially now! The alcove under the window is where the original ice box was—we added shelves for more storage. 

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? The vintage MCM dresser in the nursery is a favorite—the black and white paint brought it back to life! 

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? The small sunroom initially had three doors to it. We ultimately decided to close up the one that led from the nursery to the sunroom which actually made both rooms feel bigger and more functional. 

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Make rooms have multiple uses! We added a desk to a corner of our dining room so it can function as both a dining room and an office. We also added a daybed to the sunroom so it can function as a guest room when grandma is in town. The sunroom also acts as our mudroom, additional dining area, lounge area, and ideal squirrel-watching spot for our dog, Walter. We put that room to work! 

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Take your time! Don’t force it and wait until you have a clear vision and find things to fill your home that you absolutely love.  And, always keep your eyes open when walking down alleys—someone else’s garbage could be your treasure! 

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