new apartment (before)

 

Since getting back from our elopement I have had one major project on my mind whenever I’m not working: decorating the new apartment.

Decorating and design is literally my favorite thing to do on the planet. And the chance to start with a fresh canvas makes me giddy.

Thankfully, Mr. Lively appreciates my interior style (excluding lucite). So the meshing of our styles has been relatively easy. Not a cakewalk, but definitely pretty peaceful. He also has listened to me talk on, and on, and on about the new apartment and how we will decorate it.

God bless him. He is a patient man.

But you know what’s funny? As much as I’ve been prepping, planning, and preparing, I haven’t given you a tour yet!

So today, I’m giving you a tour of the soon-to-be Lively home.

But first, a bit about the building and apartment itself. We found the apartment building just three blocks from where we live now by talking to a local apartment building company. Though we could hardly believe it, they were in the process of renovating an old building which had new units available the day my lease ended. So though we planned to break my lease in July when Mr. Lively’s lease ended, we decided to stay put in my place until the new units were complete.

The building seems to have been built around the 1930’s and is a three story walk-up. Which, after living in high rises for five years, has the homey condo feel we were looking for. However, since they were completely gutting and building re-doing the inside from scratch, we also got the brand-new feel and amenities that a high rise offers. Plus, it is one block from the lake and a few blocks from the dog park for our future puppy (who was born on Labor Day!).

It really was a match made in heaven for us. And compared to the tiny studio apartment I lived in when I moved to the city five years ago… it blows me away. 

I will also be honest and say that without my business being at home, an apartment like this would not be an option for us. But since I have intentionally chosen to work from home instead of rent or lease a separate office space, we are able to splurge on a nicer home/studio. This is a trade off I’ve made all five years of my full-time business. Because my home is so important to me, I could not be happier working in it as well.

So without further ado, on to the tour!

When you walk into the apartment you find yourself in the main room. Looking to your left you see the (gas) fireplace and patio. As you can see there is an exposed brick wall which runs the entire length of the open concept space.

I dearly wish we could paint the brick white, but since that’s not allowed, I’m working with the brick instead of against it in the decor to follow.

Here is a view of the back wall of the living room, which is on the same wall as the entry door. The coat closet is that door on the left. I’m hoping that my desk will work in this sunken in space on the right.

When you walk out onto the patio you see in this photo they had not divided the shared outdoor space just yet. There will be a divider where I drew the white line to separate our patio space from our neighbors next door.

The view from here is north-facing north and looks onto some rather unsightly buildings… but considering we’ve never had our own outdoor space in the city before we are still thrilled.

The right side of the main space opens up to the kitchen. It is everything that Mr. Lively (the cook) could ask for. That island is literally the size of my first apartment. I kid you not. It’s about nine feet long. We plan to have some counter stools there for a breakfast bar. And the empty space on the right is for the future refrigerator.

Again, here’s another view, when standing with my back to the fireplace. The coat closet is on the right, then the entry door, and finally the back hallway which leads to the bathrooms and bedrooms.

This is a view of the hallway from the guest room and guest bath looking down to the master bedroom. As you can see there is more exposed brick and a long white wall perfect for art.

A gallery wall is definitely in order.

The first hallway stop is the guest bathroom. It’s pretty basic, but nice. And there is…. wait for it… a real shower stall!

In Chicago that it is extremely rare to find an apartment with a shower stall instead of the bathtub/shower combo. In fact, we are planning on using that guest shower more than the bathtub combo we have in our master bath.

For all of the space we get in the front half of the apartment, we lose it in the bedrooms. This is the guest room (as best I can shoot it). It measures 10’x12′. But it does have a little walk-in closet which is nice.

And if we thought the guest room was a bit on the small side, the master bedroom all the way in the back is even smaller at just 9’9″x12′. It also has just one window which looks into another unit and gets pretty poor natural light.

But despite the design challenges, I’m determined to make this little guy a jewel box. I have big plans for this space. Big plans in a tiny footprint.

So there you have it! A quick little peek at the space as it continues to be completed. We get our keys for the new space next Friday(!!!!!!). This leaves us until Sunday to have ourselves completely transplanted to the new home.

I can’t wait to share how I’ve been designing these rooms with intention… and actually see it come to life!

As with a lot of new builds, this space is very nice, but lacks unique character apart from the brick. So I’ve been working to create personality and style in the decor to fill these rooms and make the space our home.

 

This Post Has 46 Comments

  1. Anni

    Love this, and can’t wait to see it when you finish decorating! I agree with you on investing in your space when you work from home. Instead of renting a separate studio, we live in a loft in the West Loop where I can still meet clients and have a great work/live space. I love it that way.

  2. Anni

    Love this, and can’t wait to see it when you finish decorating! I agree with you on investing in your space when you work from home. Instead of renting a separate studio, we live in a loft in the West Loop where I can still meet clients and have a great work/live space. I love it that way.

  3. This is such an amazing space girl! And IMO, thank God they wouldn’t let you paint those bricks-I think they are so awesome! You will love them, just wait and see. Especially when you have the gallery wall in your entry hall. It’s going to give a slight bit of urban, industrial character to the place and I’m diggin’ it.

    Congrats to you both! Such an exciting time with big, fun changes!
    xo

  4. This is such an amazing space girl! And IMO, thank God they wouldn’t let you paint those bricks-I think they are so awesome! You will love them, just wait and see. Especially when you have the gallery wall in your entry hall. It’s going to give a slight bit of urban, industrial character to the place and I’m diggin’ it.

    Congrats to you both! Such an exciting time with big, fun changes!
    xo

  5. Obviously I would love this post! What an amazing new space! Ryan is my cooking man too, and he would love that kitchen. So much counter space! Maybe a trip to Chicago is in order 😉

  6. Obviously I would love this post! What an amazing new space! Ryan is my cooking man too, and he would love that kitchen. So much counter space! Maybe a trip to Chicago is in order 😉

  7. Jess

    Thanks, chicas!!

    Julia, I work in the main living room at my desk, but I plan to consult in the guest room as well. Though it will be outfitted with a bed and “look” more like a guest room than a consulting station. : )

  8. Jess

    Thanks, chicas!!

    Julia, I work in the main living room at my desk, but I plan to consult in the guest room as well. Though it will be outfitted with a bed and “look” more like a guest room than a consulting station. : )

  9. Jenny

    Looks amazing! Can’t wait to see how you decorate it and make it your home! I love the exposed brick, you’ll grow to love it too. A few years ago my husband and I rented an apartment in a renovated/repurposed cotton mill here in town. The floors were wonky and still had the red stripes that marked where the looms were/safe walking spaces. I was a little weirded out at first but quickly grew to love those uneven floors. It probably helped that my hubby and I are both textile people (him in manufacturing and me in design).

  10. Jenny

    Looks amazing! Can’t wait to see how you decorate it and make it your home! I love the exposed brick, you’ll grow to love it too. A few years ago my husband and I rented an apartment in a renovated/repurposed cotton mill here in town. The floors were wonky and still had the red stripes that marked where the looms were/safe walking spaces. I was a little weirded out at first but quickly grew to love those uneven floors. It probably helped that my hubby and I are both textile people (him in manufacturing and me in design).

  11. Blair

    Like you, I’m obsessed with decorating, editing and redecorating my home. I’m sure my roommate thinks I’m crazy. Your new place is so charming and I absolutely adore the exposed brick walls! Can’t wait to see the finished place!

  12. Blair

    Like you, I’m obsessed with decorating, editing and redecorating my home. I’m sure my roommate thinks I’m crazy. Your new place is so charming and I absolutely adore the exposed brick walls! Can’t wait to see the finished place!

  13. Eleanor

    Your new place looks fantastic! I especially love the fireplace and the kitchen, and it looks as though there is a lot of storage as well (always a plus). I can’t wait to see what you do with it!

  14. Eleanor

    Your new place looks fantastic! I especially love the fireplace and the kitchen, and it looks as though there is a lot of storage as well (always a plus). I can’t wait to see what you do with it!

  15. Can’t wait to see what you do with the space! Looks great! I love the brick. Also can’t wait to see pictures of the puppy… maybe I missed it before, but what kind are you getting?

  16. Can’t wait to see what you do with the space! Looks great! I love the brick. Also can’t wait to see pictures of the puppy… maybe I missed it before, but what kind are you getting?

  17. Jacki

    Oh, I love it! Can’t wait to see the rooms you have planned 🙂

  18. Jacki

    Oh, I love it! Can’t wait to see the rooms you have planned 🙂

  19. Janna

    Moving to a new place is always so exciting – I think you are going to love both the gas fireplace and having an outdoor space. Cold weather is SO much better with a fireplace!

    I ordered one of your scarves and it is beautiful – and my initials are JC!

    Planning on purchasing a candle and lighting only one wick – never thought of that before – great idea for making it last longer.

  20. Janna

    Moving to a new place is always so exciting – I think you are going to love both the gas fireplace and having an outdoor space. Cold weather is SO much better with a fireplace!

    I ordered one of your scarves and it is beautiful – and my initials are JC!

    Planning on purchasing a candle and lighting only one wick – never thought of that before – great idea for making it last longer.

  21. Bettina

    This space is so lovely! And, I totally feel ya on the lucite, I don’t know why they don’t like it it’s clear!

  22. Bettina

    This space is so lovely! And, I totally feel ya on the lucite, I don’t know why they don’t like it it’s clear!

  23. kelsey

    So fun! It looks really nice, Jess. Have you considered switching the guest and master bedrooms and baths? We didn’t get to see your bathroom (or closet), but I was just curious since you said you liked the guest shower and size of guest bedroom better than the master. I’m assuming the closets and bathroom size are the reason you made your choice? 🙂

  24. kelsey

    So fun! It looks really nice, Jess. Have you considered switching the guest and master bedrooms and baths? We didn’t get to see your bathroom (or closet), but I was just curious since you said you liked the guest shower and size of guest bedroom better than the master. I’m assuming the closets and bathroom size are the reason you made your choice? 🙂

  25. Lori

    How lovely! I can’t wait to see how you and Mr. Livey decorate your new space!

  26. Lori

    How lovely! I can’t wait to see how you and Mr. Livey decorate your new space!

  27. Amanda

    It looks like a great apartment! I can’t wait to see the “after” photos!

    I’m surprised you seem to prefer a shower stall to the shower/bathtub combo. I have a roomy shower stall in my apartment but would LOVE to have a bathtub. I don’t take baths very often, but it’s nice to have the option.

  28. Amanda

    It looks like a great apartment! I can’t wait to see the “after” photos!

    I’m surprised you seem to prefer a shower stall to the shower/bathtub combo. I have a roomy shower stall in my apartment but would LOVE to have a bathtub. I don’t take baths very often, but it’s nice to have the option.

  29. Cait

    Looks amazing! Can’t wait to see what you do with it – really seems to have limitless potential & it has to be SO exciting to start with such a clean slate.

  30. Cait

    Looks amazing! Can’t wait to see what you do with it – really seems to have limitless potential & it has to be SO exciting to start with such a clean slate.

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