Intro and photos first appeared on Apartment Therapy, May 13, 2013. All photos by (the wonderful, amazing, gracious) Carolyn Purnell. (Edit: As I make changes to my apartment, I'm updating the photos! So not all are from Carolyn, some are now from me. An easy way to tell is to find which ones are shitty, because I probably took those.)
"If there's a principle that has been proven time and time again, it's the idea that with constraint comes creativity. Whether it's a small space, a tight budget, or the limits of a rental, restrictions can lead to the most innovative, personal solutions. Meg and Andy, working under all three of those limitations, offer yet more proof of this principle, and by keeping a positive attitude and seeing the radical possibilities of their space, they've managed to build an imaginative, resourceful, and intimate home.
Impressively, everything in Meg and Andy's apartment has been purchased for a song: Craigslist, resale shops, flea markets, and furniture liquidators are among their most common sources. The creative application of paint, duct tape dots, and art collected from budget sources or created using affordable materials, gives the apartment a warm, fun, and welcoming atmosphere. Instead of being limited by the dated fixtures and finishes of their old-school Chicago apartment, Meg and Andy worked with the vintage feel, crafting a character-filled space that seamlessly blends antique furniture, modern art, and quirky, curious objects.
Meg and Andy are, to put it plain and simply, cool. They are the types of people with whom you want to grab a beer, share music, watch movies, and spend hours chatting. When I met Meg, she was wearing a vibrant yellow dress and equally vibrant red lipstick, and her smile lit up the room. Andy, a serious music lover, was affable and easy-going, and Lucille Austero, their adorable rescue dog (named after Liza Minnelli's character on Arrested Development), was eager to cuddle. This ease, warmth, and relatability clearly shines through in their home. An extra-long dinner table, frequently filled with friends and laughter, greets you as soon as you walk in the door, as does a cheery "Hello" sign. Cozy seating, lush plants, and bright colors make the apartment instantly inviting, and I can easily imagine marathon conversation sessions or warm nights spent listening to records and drinking cocktails.
There's nothing false or put-on about Meg, Andy, or their home. For instance, for the house tour, they opted to leave out Andy's bicycle and Lucille's dog crate (covered with a sheepskin and converted into a makeshift side table) instead of hiding them from the camera. In Meg's words, "Those things are a part of our lives. It wouldn't really be a tour of our place if we hid everything that we actually use and staged it like a model home." Additionally, a blog named after a Bikini Kill lyric, a riot-grrrl sign, other feminist art betrays their deeply held social and political leanings, and a dedication to living with things that have personal meaning.
Taken together, all these creative expressions, meaningful moments, and a commitment to having a guest-friendly space show that Meg and Andy have truly figured out how to live large, even in a small home."
To see a before and after of the entry way, as well as how to make the giant art print yourself, click here. Rug is a gift from a friend in Abu Dhabi, dresser is from Brown Elephant, deer is a Christmas decoration from Target, gold ball thingy (technical term) is a thrift find, art on dresser is DIY, and mirror was made in a Make It, Take It workshop at The Rebuilding Exchange.
Table- Brown Elephant Chicago; Folding chairs- Ikea; Pink chairs- Craigslist; Bookcase-Windy City Hotel Furniture Liquidators; Map- gift from a friend who found it in the garbage her university job; Dishes and Accessories- thrifted; Ceramic bowl- Christina Della Morte ceramics; Family portrait - painted by Meg; Table runner - DIY
Table, DIY (instructions here!); duvet and pillowcases, Ikea; lamp, spray painted one from target a million years ago; headboard, DIY (instructions here!)
Dresser - Craigslist; Bookcase- Ikea;
Table - Windy City Hotel Furniture Liquidators; Kitchen cart- Ikea Hack; Radical Possibility needlepoint - gift from a friend
Desk - Stuff, Etc (Iowa City); Bookshelf- Ikea via Craigslist; I Love You Because print - Row Boat Press; Dear Patriarchy print -Modern Girl Blitz
Bed- Ikea via Craigslist; Chair - Craigslist; Pillows- handmade; Botanical print - Ikea; Bedding - Ikea; No Whining Print - Urban Outfitters. For a full before and after of the guest room, as well as a tutorial on the industrial closet pipe, click here.
For ease, everything in this room is thrifted except: Polka dot wall- DIY; Bar cart- Craigslist; Credenza record player - New Elephant Resale Shop; Rug- Ikea; White and gold side table - DIY; Chevron wall - DIY, "I Want To Be Ordinary" prints - freebie from Chicago Cultural Center event; "Hello" greeting - DIY
So that's my home. I am the luckiest person ever, with a great cheap apartment, lots of great thrift store finds, wonderful neighbors, the smelliest dog, and people like you guys here to share it with.