CHI House Tour: Dave's New Place

CHI House Tour: Dave's New Place

Janel Laban
Mar 6, 2008

Name: Dave (you may "know" him from his old apartment)
Location: Chicago
Size: 900 sq. ft.
Years lived in: 8 months

Welcome again to Dave! His previous home was the subject of of this Andersonville House Tour, he heads up the Brown Elephant window project (which is expanding and can always use more creative and fun folks to get involved), he works as a pro designer, and as an fyi...(in his own words) he's "single again (the bastards)"!

He recently wrote to AT: "I found myself trolloping around my old place in Andersonville all by myself and decided that it was silly to have so much unused space. I would also wander around late at night dusting things with my nightshirt...not a healthy situation.
With the help of a fantastic AT blurb, I managed to sell almost everything on Craigslist (although I could not find a buyer for my old Latrine chair) and started over for the new flat. Ironically, I have seen several of my old pieces of furniture on other house tours on AT...the day I saw my old nightstands living by another persons bed I got a little sad.

So on moving day the truck was loaded with a bunch of boxes of 'stuff', enough clothing to outfit the Gabor sisters, and about two hundred pieces of art."

Photos by Andrew Wehde


"The new place is about half of the size of the old and is located in a much more vibrant area of the city. The place was a generic white washed mess when I saw it...but it had fantastic dark wood floors with a really high shine to them....and was blessed with fantastic light in the main rooms. The place had about 30 coats of semigloss paint on every door, wall, piece of trim, fireplace, and even ceiling fans. (Oy god)
The transformation that happened when I painted all of the walls with C2 'Trenchcoat' and the interior doors with Pratt and Lambert 'Derby Green' was amazing....the space totally transformed. I also ripped out all of the heinous black, brass, and semi gloss painted ceiling fans that were everyplace.
I think that it turned out rather well, actually. I can only display about 5% of my art at one time...which is sad but also allows me to trade things out and really enjoy the pieces that I have.
The kitchen is in the middle of a pretty dramatic remodel. The space was great but the actual kitchen fittings looked like something from Stephen King's Carrie movie. When it wraps up I will forward images of it to you...I think that you will be amazed at how you can remodel something on the cheap even in an apartment. "


AT Survey:

My Style: these days is all about artfully arranged piles of crap. In each place that I live my style shifts slightly to reflect the environment that I am settling into.

Inspiration for my home:
is all about the graphic play of dark versus light. All of the floors are dark, all of the trim is white, all of the walls are the color of an old trenchcoat, and all of the doors are blackish green. I wanted to take a vintage space filled with vintage items and still make it feel masculine and up to date.

Favorite Element: is impossible to call out. I look at each pile of stuff and waffle between what I love and what I like. If anything, I love it when I come home and sit on my sofa in my underwear and just soak up the vibe that my apartment has.

Biggest Challenge in designing my home:
was working with a very irregular floor plan. The apartment was graced with a massive light filled formal dining room and a bedroom that looks into a light shaft; I made the difficult decision that I spent ten times as much time in the bedroom as in the dining room and that warranted making the dining room into the bedroom.

What Friends Say: is the proverbial 'did you finally buy this or are you renting?' Renting makes me feel good that I can pick up and start over at the drop of a hat if I want to....and I refuse to give up things like custom made shower curtains and nice floors even if I am renting.

Biggest Embarassment: is stupendously awesome six foot tall 1920s steel cabinet with the original faux mahogany paint and massive Bakelite crank handle. I had it cut down to be 4 inches deep and hung it on the bathroom wall instead of the existing 1970s medicine cabinet nightmare.....I just have not gotten around to fitting some shelves into it and have to rummage under the sink every day to find my toothbrush.

Proudest DIY: is a toss up. I installed a fantastic walk in dressing room with fitted racks and space for every garment that I own (well, almost) and assembled a wall of tall galvanized steel shelving from 16 sections of Ikea garage shelving.

Biggest Indulgence: is the new kitchen. The apartment was blessed with six linear feet of 1970s sticky kitchen cabinetry and a refrigerator centered in front of a window when I moved in. It gave me a rash every time I walked into the fantastic kitchen space and looked at what had been done to it. I have been fitting a very modern European kitchen system into the space with rift sawn wood cabinets and stainless steel countertops. I work on it during the weekends and it is almost complete.

Best Advice given or received:
is to take the time to make your space into a home. I know so many people who use apartment living as an excuse to not grow up and live life well. There are so many options out there at so many different prices for things that will let your surrounding reflect your personality and make you happy when you come home.

Dream Source: is a hard thing to answer. I find great things everywhere I go and really find myself limited by the dimensions of the cargo area of my Jeep and my willpower to schlep. If money was no object I would be in the front row of the yearly mid 20th century modern sale at Christies with my paddle up.



Bed is from Crate and Barrel.
The throw is a vintage (IE used) Hermes cashmere blanket that I bought on Ebay.
The bedding is Thomas O'Brien from Target.
The red Jesus is a velvet covered bank that was given to me years ago; I have no idea where it came form but I love it.
The floor lamp is a vintage piece that came from the Brown Elephant.
The odd swirly table is another piece that I found at the Brown Elephant and spent ten hours of my life painting and messing with.
The curtains in the space are custom made in a semi sheer white linen; I floated the bed in front of the windows and curtained the entire wall behind the bed.
The bookshelves are from Ikea and started life as three foot tall boxy garage shelving. I reinvented them to fill an entire wall in the room and be nine feet tall.
The framed centipede is from the Kane County flea market; I have a huge collection of strange bugs that I bought. I took them all out of the original plastic frames and had them professionally mounted.
The brown glass vessels are vintage Venini pieces that came from the Wright auction house.

Living Room:
The sofa is form Crate and Barrel but I had it redone in embossed linen velvet and a new down single seat cushion made.
The chimney pots are mostly from the mid 19th century and are from the Chicago Botanic Garden sale. They originally capped off the tops of masonary chimneys.
The coffee table is from Holly Hunt
The lamp is a vintage 1950 Venini glass piece that my mother gave me.
The baby head sculpture is by a favorite artist of mine named Jay Strommen.
The table features electrical insulators that I seem to buy everywhere; they are my new collection addiction.
The antique ceramic letter balls are from the worlds most amazing shop called Aero Studio in New York. I found them there and schlepped them all over NYC without breaking any of them.
The red fuzzy chair is a teak thing that I found in the alley behind my house and had it completely redone. The fuzzy look is because it is upholstered in shorn Edelman goat hide. Don't sit on it in your underwear.
The vintage lockers came from Scout.
The vintage medical lamp also came from Scout.
The rolling stool is the base of an old rolling desk chair with a new upholstered poof seat attached to it.

Living Room Mantel:
The lamp is from Holly Hunt and is made of hand blown Italian glass.
The 'shirt' is actually made from clay and is something that I bought in Montreal. I thought it was so very cool.
The drawing is by Georges Braque from the mid 1950s and was framed by Armand Lee. It is a pencil drawing study for collage that actually hangs in the Met.
The candle sconce is vintage from a great shop called Mecox here in Chicago.

The Bath:
The shower curtain was custom made for the room; it is over 9 feet tall and is great for early morning theatrics.
The towels and rug are Thomas O'Brien from Target.
The collage is form the SAIC annual art sale; I don't know the girls name who did it but it features a page from an old anatomy book on the digestive system. Typewritten onto it is 'the gardener tends to his greens'...something I thought very fitting for a bathroom.

Thanks Dave!

Got a house tour you'd like to share with all of us? Email us today and we'll arrange it:

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