Chicago Kitchen And Living Room - Details and Sources

Well it took me a million years, but I'm finally back to talk about the living room/kitchen (as promised) with a huge photo dump as I work you through the furniture and decor. I'm not going to list every single thing, but I'll try to hit a few of the things I've been asked about and highlight some of the process. If you missed it, here's the background on the renovation.

Also, I do want to give a huge shout-out to my dear friend, Joanna. She and I have been friends since I moved to Minneapolis and she has a great eye for design - which I used to my advantage as I began decorating our house. She and I are always swapping home ideas and talking about the latest decor trends, and she was a huge help in being someone to bounce ideas off of as I was working through decisions. I truly could not have done this without her! 

If you've been a long-time reader, you might remember our old house in Minneapolis - it was tiny. When we moved in, most of the rooms in this house were completely empty since it's so much larger. If you're wondering, most of our old living room furniture ended up in the front room (which isn't finished yet), but you'll spot few old things that did end up in these rooms.

You might recognize the card catalog, still my absolute favorite piece of furniture in my home and I knew I wanted it in a prominent spot in this house as well. It's fun to look back and see how many different ways it's been styled over the years! 

Every time I sit on this couch (from RH), I close my eyes and my tiny little heart flutters. We wanted something that was timeless and would stand up to the kiddos over the years. So far, so good - it's one of those things that just looks better with age.

Those white bookshelves are from Ikea. I spent a full week spray painting them from black to white - and wouldn't you know, one month later Ikea comes out with these shelves in white. I nearly died right there in aisle 1.

I filled the shelves with all sorts of things, some have meaning, some are just from the clearance racks at Home Goods, Crate & Barrel, Target, etc. It's not perfectly styled yet, but I figure it'll evolve over time as I find the right things. The baskets on the bottom are from Ikea, and each one is filled to be brim with toys or books - making them easily accessible for the kids.

A lot of people ask me how I can have "nice" things at the kid's level in the house and really, I've found that as long as I tell my kids "that's not a toy," they're really good about leaving stuff alone. I think it's good for kids to understand that everything in the world is not theirs to manhandle and do anything they want with, and as long as I'm diligent to teach them at the beginning, they understand. Every once in a while I'll find small toys in the vases, or cars lined up on the books, but I don't mind at all. Nothing in our home is too precious to break - if it was, we wouldn't have it!

The pillows on the grey chairs are from one of my new favorite Etsy shops, Thimble and Cloth. If you can't tell, I'm a little obsessed with indigo dyes and mudcloth. They're all over in this new house!

The pillows on the couch are from all over the place, Etsy shops, CB2, West Elm and - recycled from our old basement.

The mudcloth fabric over the back of the couch is also from Thimble and Cloth. I wanted something to break up the solid back of the couch and this worked perfectly to add interest, yet sill show off the leather. 

That black lamp is actually from Target - it's this white one, I just sprayed it a matte black finish to get the look I wanted. The vase is filled with eucalyptus from Trade Joes - it lasts a long time, but I need to figure out a more permeant solution as I don't like to have to go monthly just for one item. 

Although, it's probably worth it, right? I mean, look how pretty it is. 

I really wanted a round table in the kitchen as you can usually fit more people around it for the size, and I thought it would help break up all the rectangular shapes in two rooms. I found a tulip table knock-off on Amazon and it ended up being the perfect fit. We eat most of our meals around this table, we just pull up Colette's high chair (from Ikea) when it's time to eat. I removed the tray and she eats directly on the table, making clean up super easy.  

The kitchen hardware is from Home Depot. I originally wanted to go matte brass, but because we decided not to change the counters, I went with the safer, silver choice. The rug is an Ebay find. Searching for affordable and unique pillows and rugs on Ebay has become a new obsession of mine. I love the thrill of the hunt and finding something that's lived many lives before it comes to our house - which is also perfect with kids

The stools are Target - they spin to raise them higher, which I thought might be a nice feature for kids, but in reality, it's awful. Eli's favorite game is to set his toys on the seat and spin it as hard as he can until it flies off - denting the wall. I'm thinking we'll need to find some hardware we can add on so they don't spin anymore ...

The lights over the island are from West Elm and the wood blinds are crazy-affordable from Overstock, though what they lack in price is made up for in lack of function. They're a little hard to raise and lower, so you need a bit of patience. But most other roman shade options I looked into were well over $1,000 and these were $60. So, call me crazy, but I guess I'm willing to have to finagle them a little for the cost savings. 

Overall, I love the way this space functions so much. It's been a game-changer to have an open-concept house, and these two rooms work so, so hard for our family, it's been worth every ounce of work to renovate the space and the headaches I've faced while decorating it. And just for fun, I've included a few progress shots - so you can see how evolved over about the eight moths I was working on it. It just goes to show that decorating is hard, it's a slow process, and how it takes patience and time to find your style. Especially if you look at our old house compared to this house - my style is pretty different!

Looking back at these photos makes both my stomach churn remembering how hard it was sometimes, and makes me grateful it's all over! Don't get me wrong, it was worth the work, but it's so nice to be at a place where we can enjoy our home and I don't feel like I'm constantly tweaking it (at least these rooms, that is!)

Please let me know if you have any other questions and I'd be happy to answer!


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