Living Room Layout

The seating area is coming together with the addition of artwork and furniture transitioned from the loft. As a reminder, this is what the living room looked like in the listing (staged).

Living room in the listing photo

And, the living room when we moved in:

Delivery day!

The living room offers a good amount of space and light but as I’ve mentioned before, the paint job was not high quality (stray painters tape, drips and drops) and I am not a fan of gray, so our first step was to paint the entire space Wimborne White and start FRESH.

The moldings, walls and ceilings were all painted Farrow & Ball Wimborne White

The paint made a huge difference in unifying the space and making the moldings pop!

A fresh coat of paint unified and brightened up the space 

The paint brightened up the space and highlighted the woodwork, providing a great fresh slate for furniture and art, beginning with the Pink Eyeshadow Monkey.

The Pink Eyeshadow Monkey fit perfectly in this nook (Ralph Lauren upholstery)

The living room will have two seating areas and each will be anchored with two matching rugs. After some time spent swatching, I decided on two Restoration Hardware Teen rugs that were on sale in 10×12 size. Unfortunately they will not be delivered until August, but they were relatively well priced and the colors fit the space.

Our choice RH rug with neighboring fabric swatches and papers (Gucci, Room & Board)

We faced the chairs away from the fireplace which is a trick I first noticed at Twin Farms in Vermont and I like it here because it includes the couch in the conversation vs. facing the chairs towards the fireplace and away. The Sapien bookcase, artwork and furniture came together nicely to frame the fireplace until the rug comes in.

Final furniture layout in first seating area, pending rug

Our real estate agent purchased the horn vases for us in Africa, the bookcase is an Amazon find, the coffee table was a floor sample from Molteni, the chairs were reupholstered in Ralph Lauren fabric and the chaise couch is from Room & Board.

almost forgot. 🙂

I almost forgot the flowers!

Ann Sacks Kelly Wearstler custom floors

Initial renderings and final decision made

The custom Kelly Wearstler floors are in production and will be delivered in 4-6 weeks. You may remember that we initially planned to incorporate a green stone. We ultimately swapped out the green in favor of a striped Zebrino and it looks great. The best way to make a decision on stone, particularly geometric stone patterns, is to look first at the swatches in the showroom and then have the showroom pull the lot photos from the stone yard. The lot photos often look much different than the smaller swatches available in the showroom so it is important to at least see a photograph of them. The current lot photo of Zebrino is below and it is less warm than the swatch would have led me to believe. However, I like it.

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Zebrino lot photo

The Ann Sacks showroom mocked up two variations to decide between based on the swatches we looked at in the showroom and the lot photos that were ultimately pulled.

Emperador Dark (brown) stone stripes

The Emperador Dark was an afterthought at the drawing board, but we looped in this brown-striped option and decided to have it mocked-up by the Ann Sacks team.

emperador dark-3
Emperador Dark lot photo

The brown stone was beautiful and has so much variation!

Rubicon (black) stone stripes

The black stone is a classic match to the Calacatta Oro, Zebrino and Travertino Red.

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Final stone colors for the Kelly Wearstler design from Ann Sacks – samples from the stone yard

We ultimately decided on the Rubicon stripes, my original instinct and a classic choice that will pair nicely with the brass finishes. The stone samples above are all current from the current lot. When comparing to the showroom stone boards, the difference between the Zebrino current lot and the Zebrino swatch above is particularly noticeable to me. Overall, contrast is what makes these geometric floors awesome and you almost cannot go wrong in mixing and matching stones, so pick the stones that you gravitate to and go with it! I never planned to have orange stripes but I loved the color and feel of this stone in person which is why we leaned into it and made it a material part of the project.

The “before” photos

the listing photos

I have saved all of the listing photos of this unit so I never forget where this project started. The apartment is beautiful and the prior owner kept this apartment so clean and took such impecable care of it.

astor entry
Circular entryway with Scalamandre Ming Circus wallpaper
Kitchen with double height cabinets
Double living room with wood burning fireplace

I have a lot of ideas to breathe some new life into this place and am excited to start. The goal is to make smart updates that have big impact. The plan is to paint the majority of the rooms, selectively introducing wallpaper for the guest, front entry and back console. While gray has been a very popular color, I don’t care for it now and am excited to shift to neutral white and cream to showcase artwork.

astor dining
Dining room with second fireplace
astor den 2
What will be a den, with third fireplace
astor bedroom, kids
Guest room
astor hall 1
Main hallway
astor bedroom 2
Master Bedroom

First I will work with my favorite paint expert to select Farrow & Ball colors and get to work on carefully painting and stripping this wallpaper.

La Voliere Light and Vertigo Home

I shop for home goods while visiting Laguna

I stumbled across Vertigo Home with J while in Laguna at a wedding. This shop is beautiful and I fell in love with what I believe to be one of the most unique and beautiful lamps. Behold!, the bird cage lamp by La Voliere, a la Vertigo Home, Laguna.


I waited approximately 3 hours to make the decision that this lamp had to be mine and another 2 months to receive it, but alas, it is here. And, it is gorgeous…


Okay, this is not my house, but here it is in the box and I can’t wait to install this beautiful light somewhere!


Thank you Vertigo Home for making the process of sourcing this hand-painted bird lamp all the way from Paris and for delivering it to me safely. You are awesome!

DIY: Woven leather folding chair

a beach chair gets a leather woven makeover

I made this chair with J and it’s now his favorite reading nook in the house. The chair was less than $150 and was made from an old beach chair that I bought on Ebay and some leather strips that I bought online.

Beach chair strips removed
Clean chair ready for new leather straps
Attaching leather straps
Finished chair with straps attached

The directions are limited because the process is simple. You simply replace the original straps with leather, using the original leather straps as a guide for cutting the leather to size and for attaching to the frame (poke hole, simple screw).

It’s easy and it’s chic and it patinas over time! (See photo at top taken months after the chair was assembled).

The one that got away 

Perhaps anyone who has house hunted has found the “almost perfect” house before finding “the one”.

We each found our own “perfect” house but unfortunately it was not the same house, so we went with neither and had to move on. However, from time to time i still think of this one…

This house was even better in person and I loved every detail. It was impeccably clean and looked like it came straight from Architectural Digest.


The molding was fresh and new (no cakey old paint) and the cream walls were the perfect backdrop for art. There was an incredible flat marble fireplace that was the perfect touch of modern for the space.

The dining room windows looked out on Lincoln Park and I loved the books and beams.

The back of the house didn’t have the best view, but that was the only slight downside that I saw.


The endless closets were a great plus!

If you like what you see – this beautiful place is still up for grabs!

A rental loft: my first Chicago project

a breezy loft gets a post-modern rental makeover

With their open floor plans and soaring ceilings, lofts are one-of-a kind residences and why this loft stood out among a sea of rentals. Interestingly, I had come across photos of our loft online when I lived in New York, before we moved to Chicago, when browsing the internet. This was before I had ever contemplated living in Chicago, so to end up in this exact building by chance is either an amazing coincidence, or a great example of the powers of the internet on predicting consumer choice!

Coffee table: Molteni, Chaise: Room & Board, Chairs: InMod, Bookcase: Sapien / Amazon, Art: designers own

The furniture chosen for this loft was intended to be low profile and transitional so it could move out of the rental someday and into a more permanent spot. This explains the lack of a full couch, which would have been a big commitment, expensive, and potentially hard to incorporate well in a new space. This couch is perfect because it can just as easily serve as the main seating as it is here, or divide a large room.

Chairs: InMod, Couch: Room & Board, Barstools: Eric Trine, Coffee Table: Molteni

The chairs from InMod have custom cushions that were made by Patio Lane with Ralph Lauren fabric. The original InMod cushions were very low quality but the chairs are solid walnut. The Molteni coffee table was purchased off the floor as a sample for 50% off.

Monkey painting: designer made, Woven chair: designer made, Bookshelf: Sapien Amazon, Chairs: InMod with Patio Lane custom cushions, Table Lamp: Neiman Marcus

What made this apartment fun was I had to start from scratch. This provided a lot of fun challenges to get the best deals and make the most from the least. So many elements in this home were made by hand such as the dining room table, the dining chairs, the woven leather chair, most of the artwork and the bar cabinet.