Spaces and interiors have been a fascination since I was little. I made paper doll ‘houses’ with old JC Penny catalogs. Set up ‘houses’ for my stuffed toys with items found around the house and I got a drafting set when I was kid and drew dozens of spaces that probably had no viability engineering wise, but they certainly had an abundance of towers and windows. I like to look at a space and see how I can transform it. My favorite assignment during my 2009 internship with Big Shoulders Digital Media in Chicago was the design and home shows. My favorite part of Halloween when I was a kid? Getting to peek behind the adult to look into their living room.
Thus, I redid the den recently. Relatively recently. One roommate moved out, another moved in and I took the opportunity to make the den over. I resisted for a while. I didn’t want to spend any money. But it became too much to bear and any of you who like a nice space will see why. The before and after is a transformation I’m proud of, on a shoe string budget, and something I enjoy doing when the opportunity presents itself.
I liked that I could decorate the room, and none of my roommates would care. Being guys, it only mattered that there was a couch and TV. So I combed Craigslist, communicated with sellers, rented cars through Enterprise Car Share, and transformed the space, all by myself. It was a huge task. Each time I rented a car it was a bus trip to the car, a drive to the item, and drive back home to drop off the item, a drive to drop off the car, and a bus back to the apartment. I repeated this process 3 times. At one point I was carrying a bright red Crate and Barrel wool rug on the bus. I was damned if I was going to get in a cab, especially after what I was going to spend on a couch and possibly on other items. Finally I had the room decorated to my liking. No there’s nothing on the walls yet, and perhaps the space needs a floor lamp but on the whole it’s inviting and not too cluttered.
A clean and simple space resulted and it looks good. I can take pride that it’s a project I did entirely on my own, though I will thank my roommate for helping me carry the couch down a flight of spiral stairs. Oy.
You never know what you can find when you get things second hand, and I made it to Bucktown, South Loop, West Town, and Lincoln Park in the space of two days to complete my den. Enjoy the room tour!