Do you ever get bored with your space? I adore the things in my living room- they remind me of important people in my life and the places I've been, but lately the room has lost its mojo. There are a couple of projects that I have not finished, which is not helping my state of mind when I spend time in this space. 

I decided it was time for a room refresh. I'll give you the full blow by blow and an update when I am finished. My goal is to keep the budget low, DIY, buy local and buy handmade when I can. 

Before I start I wanted to give you a review of the living room in its current state, including what each item cost, where I bought it (if I can remember!) and when it was purchased. I've had some of the items in this room for quite some time and I anticipate having them for some time to come. 

Here is a very rough idea of the layout of the room. The top of the layout is North. 


Starting in the Southwest corner we have Mrs. Bertha Palmer, which is my dress form from the late 1880's. She is named after Bertha Palmer, the Chicago socialite whose husband opened the famed Palmer House Hotel here in Chicago. Mrs. P was a bit of a fashionista in her time and just look at those hips.
I found Mrs. Palmer at the Chicago Antique Market in 2011 and forked over $125 for the pleasure to bring her home. The two gentlemen who were with me looked at me, looked at the dress form, looked at me, looked at the dress form and then I realized they were trying to point out she was not my size. Well, I think her hips are close, but her waist is tiny! It did not matter to me because I wanted to take her home. We packed her up in my friend's Mini Cooper (holy cow you can pack a lot of stuff into a mini) and I tucked her in the corner of my living room. Of course then I scared the bejesus out of myself when I walked past her in the middle of the night and thought someone was in the house. The two gentlemen predicted that would happen. Whatever. Today I use her for photo shoots. 

Next to Mrs. Palmer is a piece of art that I bought at a Heartland Alliance auction for $150 (it came framed). I think I bought it around 2009. I went to the event with some friends and let's just say that it is very smart to give people free booze and then tell them to bid on art. I ended up buying the piece because I drank a lot of free alcohol,  I liked it (some people have asked if it was me!) and the artists name was Candy. It was kismet.  

Now switching over to the Western wall-
This year I decided to switch out my heavy lined winter curtains for something a little lighter. I bought the curtains from West Elm this spring for $120 (normally I wouldn't spend this much, but they were exactly what I was looking for). 

The Jasper sofa from Room and Board was purchased in 2004/2005 for around $1000. I love this sofa. It is comfortable to sleep on. If you remove the two back pillows there is room for two people to lay on it. It has withstood the test of time. Since it is such a classic design it feels timeless. 

The wool quilt laying along the back of the couch is made out of suiting fabric and lined in a thai silk. It was made in the 1920's and I purchased it at a sidewalk sale in Wicker Park in 2011 for $75. 

The pillows are all West Elm (I really like their inserts) for a total cost of $120. West Elm is one of the few big box stores that I like to shop at. They have made a real committment to making sustainable goods, supporting communities, and supporting makers.  

The 1930's standing lamp was purchased from Ravenswood Antique Mart in 2012 for $135. I prefer this light over the overhead light.  
Along the Northern wall-
The French Victorian gold secretary desk has been with me since I was in high school. It's a bit beat up and it needs some love. As an antique it's so worn that it doesn't have much value, but I really do adore it. 
On top of the secretary desk is a candle stick made out of upcycled car parts that I bought some time around 2005 at an art fair in Bucktown. I think I paid $40 for it. At that time it was the beginning of the handmade movement and I adored the fact that someone had taken the time to scrounge pieces and put them together into something functional. 
A print in a bottle from local artist Quang Hong. There used to be this awesome shop run by him and his wife in Ukranian village called Monkey Business. I was so sad when they closed. I purchased it for $25 back in 2006 or so. 

The pottery is Danico, which is a Danish company and was made probably in the 1930's. I purchased it in Denmark in 2011 for approximately $60. What is so interesting is they use horns to paint the pottery. My friend Dan was with me and basically said if you don't buy it then I'm buying it! 

In the next blog post I'll go over my wall of art. 
Photo credit Kandy M. Christensen

Originally Published 6/27/14

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