The den, in process

Painting in process

The den is draped in a lovely shade of Wimborne White paint. Walter and his team from Tapia’s Works carefully painted the detailed mantle, trim and ceiling. The den is now ready for a coat of Railings which will be a dramatic update for this space and make it a super cozy place to hang out.

The window boxes and trim have been painted Wimborne White

I’m excited about this room because it will be painted Railings, a softer alternative to black. You may remember what the room looked like before we got started. The brick on the fireplace was the inspiration for the wall color.

Hmm… a pink surprise underneath the mirror…

It is funny to me that the previous owner painted around the mirror, but  not underneath it. The mirror was purchased from the prior owner for $500 and will be re-hung once the painting is finished.

We will not be keeping the pink square!

I am excited to move into an era of paint that is NOT gray. I am tired of the gray paint that I have been enjoying for the last 10 years (aren’t you?!).

The bookcase has been taped off and the door has been separately painted

The finish of Wimborne White on the trim is Estate Eggshell and the walls will be painted Estate Emulsion, a chalky finish.

Original details of the fireplace have so much character

One of the neighboring units did restore their mantle to original wood and it was gorgeous, but out of budget (and time!) for us to restore, so we have kept with white paint and will enjoy the character with fireside drinks with family and friends!

The dining room, before

A high-gloss finish in process

The dining room can be closed off from the living room and hallway by two original sets of wood pocket doors. The ceilings in this house are 10 feet and this room will have a chandelier when the paint is squared away. Here is the dining room today

The dining room has beautiful original wood pocket doors

The room will be painted lacquer olive, Wendy’s Green from Farrow & Ball. The molding and trim will be painted Wimborne White to make it easier to update the wall color in the future, although I do love a full high-gloss (including ceiling!) room.

There are two built in bookcases and a large street facing window

The mantle is marble and was sourced from New York by the previous homeowner. The previous owner also refinished the doors, so they are in good condition.

Guest bedroom, in process

Painting has begun

The guest bedroom, along with the rest of the house, is getting a fresh coat of paint, starting with the molding. Of course, all of the molding and ceilings will be painted Farrow & Ball Wimborne White. We chose Wimborne White because it is beautifully suited to the warm eastern exposure of the home. All of the painting and wallpaper hanging is the work of Walter from Tapia’s Works, and his team. As you can tell from the photographs, Walter and his team have done an exceptional job prepping the space and protecting all surfaces.

I was a bit skeptical that the Farrow & Ball finish was truly superior to the less expensive paint options, but as many would agree, it is. There is a beautiful texture to the paint and depth of color that was very noticeable to me, particularly after looking at the shiny paint that had been applied so poorly prior. For a historical home like this, I wanted the paint to be perfect and it is looking great so far.

Wimborne White sprayed on the trim in the guest bedroom

The walls of the guest bedroom will be papered in Bird & Thistle.

The floral radiator also got a coat of Farrow & Ball paint

One of the best tips I received while planning out the paint colors and wallpapers was to keep the window boxes consistently painted white, including the empty box below. The molding was a unique challenge that this tip solves nicely for. Each of the windows will be framed out as its own piece, with white trim and box underneath. Wallpaper will flank each side.

The entire window box has been painted white and the walls will be papered Bird & Thistle

The window treatment will likely be a mix of natural grass and custom curtains, made from Bird & Thistle fabric to match the wallpaper. I have been keeping an eye out for fabric on Ebay and Chairish that is discounted and am expecting I will find something over time.

Walter and team from Tapia’s Works have protected the built-ins

The built-ins were not wood, so they will not be painted. Instead, the shelves will be finished with wood moldings on the face of the bookcase and filled with “things”.

The entrance to bathroom and closet have been sealed and the doors have been painted

It is exciting to see the painting come together so quickly and the finishing being done so well by Tapia’s Works, who have been great to work with on this project.

Floor plan 2.0

The plan for paint has evolved slightly since Julie came to visit. When we last parted ways we agreed to continue to think through the wallpaper choices and the color of the dining room, which will be high gloss. While we have decided on Bird and Thistle wallpaper for the guest room, the front entry and the back console are still to be determined and the dining room is still on hold. However, we have some options to consider. Here is the updated floorplan:

Astor 1210 Floorplan4
Wallpaper choices for the entry from Farrow & Ball

We found the perfect grass cloth from Brunschwig & Fils that we will use in the back console and purchased the Bird and Thistle for the guest as well. The front entrance choice changes every day, but we are getting closer to final decisions as the work continues to progress.

2018-01-15 13.10.16
Grasscloth with a dark background for the back console, from Brunschwig & Fils, ties the Farrow & Ball Railings den together with the Wimborne White master bedroom.
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Continuing to consider which paper we select for front entry. Here is a Kelly Wearstler design.

I always keep the entire home in mind when selecting colors so that everything flows, even when using a lot of pattern, colors and texture.

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.

Floorplan 1.0

Chicago gold coast condo

After living in Manhattan for the last 13 years, we grew accustomed to not having a car, being centrally located and walking to our favorite spots. For us, the latter two items were ultimate must-haves so location was very important in our search and we kept coming back to the Gold Coast for its convenience and proximity to the lake. The Gold Coast has beautiful tree-lined streets and lovely architecture. It is currently beautifully decorated for the holidays and we love to take walks in the neighborhood. For all of these reasons and more, we are excited to move into our new pre-war apartment, built in the late 1890’s. The Gold Coast neighborhood does not require a car, and all of our favorite restaurants from Somerset to Velvet Taco, to Lou Malnati’s, are only a few minutes walk.

We love the space and will “live in every room” as our real estate agent Debbie encouraged us to do.

Floorplan
Floorplan of our new home

I’m looking forward to the decorating projects ahead and for sharing them here!

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!