A self-proclaimed thrifting enthusiast, Dean Fisher picked up 90% of the bits in her house from thrift shops or antique shops, or found or inherited them. “I love owning items using a background,” Fisher says,”and can frequently linger when I pick up something from Craigslist, pressing the seller for any backstory they can give me.” Fisher, that chronicles her apartment decorating experiences on her blog, My Small Apartment, has a flair for an eclectic combination of 1970s and mid-century modern style.
in a Glance:
Who lives here: Dean Fisher and her corgi-beagle combination, Bunny
Location: Logan Square, Chicago
Size: 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom
That’s interesting: The mirror in the living area is constructed in and was original to the apartment — it’s what ended up completely selling Fisher on the area.
Fisher moved to Chicago from Los Angeles, and a lot of her style reflects the laid-back desert vibe of her prior city. “I feel as if I’m subconsciously echoing the bright desert with whites, wood tones, woven patterns, succulents and pops of yellowish,” she says. The vintage yellow chairs include a bold statement to the room, but Fisher expects to upholster them in brown leather day to make them even more timeless.
The coffee table is in fact two distinct parts — Fisher found the foundation in the Rose Bowl Flea Market at Pasadena first, and then found that the glass top on Craigslist.
Yellow chairs: vintage; lamp: Arco floor lamp; carpeting: Tangiers Rug, Pottery Barn; side table: IKEA; coffee table, couch, and green lamp: vintage
Like every homeowner, Fisher would love to have high-end cloths and expensive accessories, but it’s just not necessarily within her budget. “I have a really tough time paying a lot for something I know I can find in a thrift shop,” she says. Fisher’s mom found these amazing green chain-link lamps in a flea market in Kentucky — in fact, Fisher’s mother has grown into one of her favorite thrifting resources.
Built-ins beneath a hallway cabinet are filled to the brim with gathered architectural magazines — most of which Fisher obtained for free on Craigslist or from design firms.
An entirely outfitted vintage bar in the dining area also acts as a place to save some additional National Geographic copies. Obviously, there’s a story behind those magazines also. “I picked up all of the National Geographics from a guy out in the suburbs whose father gathered them,” she says.
Fisher made the golden fringe garland in her entryway for a Cinco de Mayo–themed frock swap, and loved it so much she decided to store it there. The bentwood chairs were a steal at $10. “I’m a bit of a chair-oholic,” she says. “I can’t wait to give these a facelift and re-cover the homemade seats in a rad South American weave!”
Leopard-covered seats: vintage; rug: vintage, found at the Southwest
Although Fisher has redone several of the bits in her house, virtually all of them were done out of pure necessity. The table is made out of a hollow core door and two sawhorses from the Home Depot — a configuration she came up with the night before a party, after realizing that there wasn’t any place to serve the food.
The console just behind the table is an old radiator cover that she found at a flea market at Kentucky. “I’ve been lugging it around with me for nearly 10 years. I’m hoping to get it refinished and powder coated someday,” she says.
Chairs: vintage Cesca knockoffs; cowhide: vintage; casing lamps: eBay
Here, Fisher’s corgi-beagle, Bunny, gets comfortable on a vintage rug. “I love that the apartment feels like me,” she says. “It’s assembled but laid back and willing to party. It’s important that I can have friends, kids and dogs not really worry about my stuff.”
The well-worn farm dining table in the kitchen was in her family for quite a long time. The beautiful antique piece works nicely with the flat’s original (and charming) black-and-white checked floors. Wall shelves from IKEA include extra storage within her kitchen.
A miniature butcher block island gives Fisher some extra workspace, because she was lacking in counters. Rows of photo-booth shots line her fridge for a little kitchen flair.
“My method of setting out a room is to just go for it,” she says.” You can consider it, draw it, CAD it, but nothing works as well as you, some muscle and also a room full of furniture.”
Painting the bedroom black might not be the first thing that occurs to tenants with little spaces, but it’s made Fisher’s bedroom feel much more cozy and natural. “I wish I had done it a year and a half ago,” she says. “I still can’t tell whether the room looks bigger, but it feels incredibly cozy and like a great small cave. I love it. Do not be afraid to paint small rooms dark colours!”
The side tables were another Craigslist find. The seller told Fisher that his father had made them when he was stationed in Italy during WWII, along with the masonry shirts have his signature at the floor.
Bedframe: Ikea Redalen; paper pendant: Craigslist; suzani cloth: vintage; wall paint: Benjamin Moore; side tables: vintage
Vintage treasures and jewellery jumble her bedroom dresser at a elegantly styled vignette.The bedrooms are really difficult to design and put out, as they’re both little and also the master has an odd shape. Neither gets great all-natural light, which has been difficult to work with also. Lack of direct sunlight is the one thing Fisher wants she could change about her apartment. “It’s nearly impossible to keep plants alive,” she says.
Employing a trick she learned from a roommate’s mom, Fisher curtained two walls at the guest bedroom to soften the space and make it feel larger. Vintage cloth and a pair of antique Chinese hats add style and texture to the very simple and relaxing area.
Bed frame: Ikea; cloth: vintage wool weaving; side table: IKEA; floor lamp: vintage; blanket: Ikea
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