Hello again friends! Today I’m sharing a recap of my first design trip for the Chicago Condo Project.

Project Background

As many of you know, I recently returned from my first trip to makeover a condo in Chicago.  I first fell in love with Chicago – and met this client – while working for an ad agency there. This was my first trip back as an interior designer and it was great to be there at the start of fall!

To get the makeover started, we are focusing on the living room first, while making a few  decisions that will impact the overall design of the entire condo.

The client had 3 must haves for this project:

  • A vibrant condo with lots of color
  • Smart organization to show off all of her cool things
  • A new life for things she already owned

Chicago Design Trip

I was obviously so excited to help her and get started!

Project Planning & Inspiration

Through Pinterest, text and email we started narrowing in on a palette before the trip. The client found two pieces that really spoke to her: a paint color and a curtain panel. From here, inspiration was born.

[color inspiration]
Chicago Condo Project - Color Inso [curtain panel inspiration]Chicago Condo Project - Fabric Inspo
Since I’d be in Chicago for only 4 days, I pulled paint samples, fabrics and catalogs to help guide us on the pieces we’d be replacing or adding.

Chicago Condo Project - Ready to Travel

Chicago Condo Project - Paint Decks

Fun side story – The paint decks triggered a bag search at the airport. Those are always exciting.

“Are you a designer?” the TSA agent asked, looking at paint decks, fabric samples and measuring tape in my carryon.

“What gave it away?”  🙂

The Condo

The client recently moved into a condo in a northern neighborhood of Chicago not far from anything and walking distance to Wrigley Field.

Wrigley Field

The building is over 100 years old and there are only a few units.

[view from the back]Chicago Condo Project

I had some solo time when I first arrived to get measurements and take plenty of before photos.

[hallway from front door]
Chicago Condo Project - Hallway

Chicago Condo Project - Living Room Entry WayChicago Condo Project - Entryway
[living room]
livingroomvisit1fireplacebeforeChicago Condo Project

[sunroom]Chicago Condo Project - Sunroom

Selecting The Foundation

The client had painters coming the following week for the whole condo so it was our main mission to find paint colors during my trip. After photographing the space I got straight to work.

I bought paint samples from a store called Thybony. This was the first of many stores I would visit – and love – that I’d never seen in the South. Thybony had great customer service and a full service fabric and upholstery studio in house! I went there several times during my trip.

Chicago Condo Project - Tipony

I painted the same colors throughout the condo so the client could see how different each would look based on the amount of natural light.

Chicago Condo Project - Paint Color Samples

We decided on a few complimtery grays and a teal accent for the paint colors. The client even agreed to paint her living room ceiling a light shad of gray.

And, to add even more color (and work with the existing rug) we added in slate, mustard yellow and navy as accent colors. You’ll see those colors popping up in some of the new decor later.

Chicago Condo Project Color Palette

While writing this post I got an in-progress painting shot. Check out that accent wall!

Chicago Condo Project - Painting progress

Mixing Old & New

Like most homeowners, this client wants to reuse pieces she loves, replace only what she has to and create a space she can live with for a long time. Luckily we were starting with some really great pieces – like an old armoire, two similar wingback chairs and an antique rocking chair.

To give these pieces a facelift, the client is planning to reupholster the chairs with fabrics in the mustard or teal family. I’m still hunting for the perfect fabrics so feel free to leave me a comment below and tell me where I should look!

To this we added an industrial book shelf –

This new sleeper sofa from Art Van (minus those pillows!):
Chicago Condo Project - New sofa

This brown/black coffee table from IKEA:

Chicago Condo Project - Coffee Table

This awesome adjustable cocktail table from Roy’s Furniture:

Chicago Condo Project - Puzzle Table

The client is also an avid traveler so most of art and decor will come from items she’s curated from around the world. I’m really excited for how this room is going to turn out.

Accents Make the Room

We did pick up some fun accents on this trip, like a beautiful teal mirror that we are going to hang over the entryway table.

Chicago Condo Project - Entryway mirror

Speaking of  the entry way table, after much debate over the value of painted wood furniture I think I’ve finally convinced the client to paint the existing table dark slate. Sort of like this inspiration piece:

Color Inspiration

We also picked up a few antique pieces at an amazing place called Rebuilding Exchange Chicago.

You guys have to check this place! It’s a treasure chest of old things and with a little vision we are going to make these old metal grates and doorplates into pieces of art.

Chicago Condo Project - vintage grates

We are also going to repurpose this old iron fence as a towel rack in the client’s master bathroom.

towelrackfront Chicago Condo Project - Vintage fence

Plans for Phase Two

Over the next  month or so the new furniture pieces will come in and others will go out for new fabric. We are planning the living room install for the next trip. For that trip I’ll be adding built in shelving, organizing, making gallery walls and styling.

We are thinking a Spring trip this time which means the lake won’t look like this anymore – it may be thawing 🙂


Can’t wait to see this come together and share more with you!





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