Friday, January 7, 2011

Our apartment

I meant to do a post a long time ago with pictures of where we live for those of you who live far away from us. I know I like to picture where people live so maybe you do too. I also like to capture things in photos so warning: there are lots! Oh, and I also love our furniture and things with stories so get ready for those too.

This is the courtyard of our building. I took these pictures in fall when the leaves were bright yellow and beautiful.

Courtyard looking out the other way.

And here is our door. Fascinating, right? Our building is over 100 years old, which I love cause that means it has some character.

This is what you see when you walk in our door. On the left wall is a special picture to us that I took in Bolivia as an anniversary gift to Matt. Straight ahead is the bathroom; straight ahead and to the right is our bedroom; to the left is our living room, dining room and kitchen.

Bathroom. Small but functional...and bright.

Bedroom. I love our bedroom because it is bright during the day and cozy at night.

Hanging on the mirror are all the Nepali bead necklaces I've received from clients. Wearing these necklaces means you are married in their culture.

Living the right of the entryway. One of my favorite finds among all the antiques that I have acquired so far is the bench to the right. They are actually old theater seats from a theater in Chicago close to where we live. We bought them from a woman who was a costume designer 30 years ago at this theater. She said one day the whole staff were told very abruptly that the theater was shutting down and there wasn't enough money to pay the employees what they were due. They told the staff to take anything from the theater that would equal their pay. This woman took these seats, a sewing machine and some other stuff.

If you have lived in Bolivia you may have noticed the map in the picture above. Here is it close up. It is a map of South America as it was in 1775 and it looks old but I don't think it actually is. There was a man that used to walk around Cochabamba selling these maps and told us, "You have it to buy it now if you want it because I am leaving town tomorrow!" So we totally bought his story (and some maps) feeling like we would have these unique and awesome maps because this guy was only in town today! My plan was always to hold onto them until we moved back to the States and do something wonderful with them. Well, lo and behold, we saw this guy probably once a week every week for the next year; selling the same maps to everyone around town (and probably giving them the same story).

Anyway, I'm glad we bought them and they really are unique now that we are here. I found this awesome and beautiful frame for one of them at a church rummage sale for super cheap. I mean, framing is not as cheap but it is worth the investment. And when we look at the map it reminds us of Bolivia...and all the times we saw that map salesman guy...and all the places we saw that map.

more living room...

and more.

One of my favorite finds in this room is this leather couch/chaise that I found at the same church rummage sale where I found the frame mentioned above.

But maybe my most favorite of the room is this trunk that we use as a coffee table. I found it in Eagle River, WI at an antique show in the small town's high school. The dealer told me that it was actually a carpenter's working station. This is evident by the well worn metal on top and the leather hammer holders and wood tool trays on the inside. When I bought it, it was bright red and green which I didn't love. I ended up using a water-based umber-colored gloss to make the colors darker and now it's perfect!

Yes, the pumpkin is lit too.

Continuing into the dining room.

And of course this table has a story. It used to be my brother Eric's friend's table. It is actually an old cellar door that he found in an alley by North Park. He had made it into a make-shift table with some two-by-fours and was getting rid of it because he was moving. I happened to be hanging out at Eric's place when he was saying he was going to throw it out so I took it with me that night. I brought it to my parent's house because we didn't room for it yet and my dad couldn't resist a project. He found an old table to make a base for it and started to work on it that day. I love the finished product! And I was able to find some great antique chairs that go with it from the Kane County Flea Market.

You can still see where the hinges used to be.

On the other side of the dining room is our little office nook.

Our old Washington license plate...good times with the Saturn.

And part of the kitchen. It is probably the least aesthetically pleasing room of the whole place but where I love to spend time cooking. The cabinets are pretty awful but oh well.

And there you have it. Now you can picture where we spend our days (of course I've changed some things around since taking these pictures). We will probably only live in this place through the end of our lease in June but that will just mean making a new place our own!


Renae said...

Hi Elsa - I thought I'd have a quick look at your blog to see what you guys are up to and ended up staying forever! You have an amazing and inspiring house, I loved looking at the photos. Might see you when we visit the US very soon :)
Love Renae (Adrian's wife)

Tricia said...

Elsa, your home is lovely! Seriously, I would like to hire you and Linnea to come and redo my whole place! I especially love your serene bedroom-did you just buy yards of fabric for the curtains or were they already made? I am so inspired to hit up the Kane Cty Flea Mkt with my mom, she always wants me to come, AND to finally get to the Cov yard sale! Thanks for the ideas!

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