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Shelby's Lots of Character




Chicago, Illinois



Square Feet:


What I Love About My Home

Even though the space is very small, the lofted area, decorative railings, built-ins and fireplace give it a lot of character. The high ceiling also makes it feel much bigger than it is.

Biggest Challenge in Furnishing My Home

I had to carefully measure the apartment since there is not much room for error. I ended up getting rid of a lot of stuff from my previous apartment and bringing in only what could fit. The radiators and non-working fireplace take up a lot of square footage that could have been used for furniture, although I like the way the look.

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Comments (80)

This is a sweet place, nice work!

posted by MVickers on April 6, 2011 at 5:28pm
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I LOVE that lofted area!

posted by CIP on April 6, 2011 at 10:14pm
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I love your bedroom upstairs. For a tiny space, you make it look spacious. I love your place.

posted by Cameron(House Sale) on April 11, 2011 at 11:12pm
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Your flat has a lot of character indeed. But the carpet in the front of the couch freaks me out to be honest. Aside from that I really liked your flat!

posted by hotpaprika on April 6, 2011 at 9:27am
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Also not a fan of the scary rug, but love the rest of the place :)

posted by stationeryfiend on April 6, 2011 at 9:58am
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Beautiful. Gorgeous living room with incredible warmth.

posted by azaleasmoke on April 6, 2011 at 11:42am
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I would love to know where you got the curtains or, if they're homemade, what the fabric is. Love it.

posted by azaleasmoke on April 6, 2011 at 11:45am
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I was just about to say that I can judge how much I love the rest of the place by my reaction to the curtains ("replace! replace!") So I'm not feeling love for the curtains because, for me, they seem the only sour note in what is otherwise a seamless flow of awesome.

posted by Juliet___ on April 6, 2011 at 11:52am
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I particularly love how you have handled the fireplace. :)

posted by Juliet___ on April 6, 2011 at 11:54am
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What neighborhood are you in?

posted by lunazzurra on April 6, 2011 at 11:59am
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I personally love this place, full of characters and potential. The only thing I'd suggest is to add more colors that pop. Good luck!!

posted by pier723 on April 6, 2011 at 12:01pm
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Love the rug... doesn't scare me. :)

posted by tvgrrl on April 6, 2011 at 12:28pm
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it's cute, I prefer a bit of color for me. :)

posted by missmae11411 on April 6, 2011 at 12:58pm
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Down with non-working fireplaces! >:O

There are a lot of nice architectural detailings here, though... are those real drawers behind your bed? Also, is the lofted area included in the square footage?

posted by lepidoptery on April 6, 2011 at 1:09pm
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I love the living-room and the lofted area and the fake drawers above the bed. ;0) I would simplify and unify a bit the dining-area.
On the whole: well done!

posted by diridi on April 6, 2011 at 1:10pm
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azaleasmoke - the curtain is actually a table cloth from anthropologie and the dining room chairs were upholstered in the same print from cloth napkins.

lunnazurra - im at the gold coast/old town border

lepidopertery - yes they are real working drawers and yes the loft is included in the square footate - the main floor is 290 and the loft is 85 sq ft.

posted by shelby.girard on April 6, 2011 at 1:32pm
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Your apartment is wonderful space, very European. I have major lust in my heart.

posted by annieoneil on April 6, 2011 at 1:43pm
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Wow, I actually really liked the rug haha

The fireplace and radiators are awesome! Great job with this space

posted by LauraInCancun on April 6, 2011 at 1:51pm
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I am in the middle of an apartment hunt right now and only hope I can find a place with 1/100th the character of that place!

posted by thebean on April 6, 2011 at 2:11pm
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I'm FASCINATED by those drawers. Were they there when you got the apartment? They go into one of your apartment's outer walls, right? I want to know more about them.

posted by GinaAnn9 on April 6, 2011 at 2:31pm
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Gorgeous, love it all!!! Except the rug. Regardless of whether you are for/against hide rugs, I think it is too overpowering for such a small space.

posted by dirce79 on April 6, 2011 at 2:37pm
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Thanks for the info on the curtains. Not understanding the curtain bias because I think they add a necessary pop of colour and feminine touch to an otherwise masculine space.

posted by azaleasmoke on April 6, 2011 at 3:04pm
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Nicely done.

posted by martigny on April 6, 2011 at 4:18pm
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WOW This is an architectural gem. And a bed loft with railings. I love it.

posted by Village on April 6, 2011 at 5:03pm
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This is charming ,very nice.

posted by kimscollectables on April 6, 2011 at 9:29pm
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Not enough dirty clothes strewn about. Perhaps something in flannel and a few socks. That would really give it a nice "lived in" feel. Other than that, bravo Shelby!

posted by chmaddencarr on April 6, 2011 at 5:14pm
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Very cute place. I love the cow hide - beautiful markings.
I have to say that I, too, don't dig the curtains (Anthropologie or not) - sorry. Nor the cushion on the dining room chair. I would replace both with more geometric pattern, something that would relate to the lovely black&white cushions by the windows.
Otherwise, I find your place *udderly* charming. :-)

posted by CanadianMango on April 6, 2011 at 7:02pm
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love love love it!!

posted by LMoody221 on April 6, 2011 at 7:07pm
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Yes, it feels very European to me too - not Big Box Store-ey or trendy - cozy, and stylish and full of personality.

posted by eclectic-chick on April 6, 2011 at 7:23pm
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I thought I had seen a lot of unique spaces in Chi, but yours tops it all! I would love to reside in this gorgeous loft! Where did you find the non-working fireplace?

posted by Xenia1 on April 6, 2011 at 7:25pm
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malfuj: I might be wrong, but I think I've seen those black/white printed pillows or something very similar at ikea.

posted by Xenia1 on April 6, 2011 at 7:29pm
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I can hardly contain my jealousy that you found a space this cool in our city. The arch over the dining area is so amazing. This might be the best studio I have ever seen.

Only downside... agree with other posters. Don't love the floral print on the curtains/chairs. Doesn't feel like it goes with the rest of the decor.

I think the photo above your couch is gorgeous.

posted by VeraJ on April 6, 2011 at 8:58pm
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I agree about the European feel...so much character in a tiny place. I love the loft bed.

posted by junklover on April 6, 2011 at 9:01pm
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I live just north of your neighborhood and I'm currently looking for new cute little studio. Your style fits in well with the quirky nature of the space....I just wish I could snag the mini-loft for myself!

posted by lishmry on April 6, 2011 at 9:47pm
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I think I lived in this building (a 7 flat)! Does the street that you live on start with a B and the number is 53?!

posted by qtcrondesign on April 6, 2011 at 9:15pm
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What a cute place!! Love the loft... so cozy!

posted by coastalchic on April 6, 2011 at 9:20pm
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Charming, warm and "kitchy." Congratulations

posted by Marsha D. on April 6, 2011 at 10:06pm
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Everything about this space is just lovely. Your accessories and placement of show you have very elegant taste.

A bit curious, as I am with most AP small spaces, where do you put your clothes and tv? Maybe no tv?

posted by mauishopgirl on April 6, 2011 at 11:12pm
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I see your tv now, to the left of the fireplace.

posted by mauishopgirl on April 6, 2011 at 11:12pm
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I wish I could give this more than one heart!

posted by The Happy Heathen on April 6, 2011 at 11:54pm
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I too am fascinated by the drawers above the bed. Love the indoor/outdoor vibe, too.

posted by Britomart on April 7, 2011 at 12:10am
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how i stumbled upon your entry i'll never know but i'm so glad it did! your place is absolutely adorable. i want to live in it.
much love to you in chi town,

posted by reneefelicesmith on April 7, 2011 at 1:40am
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GinaAnn9 - yes the drawers came with the place. i find them really odd and its the first thing everyone asks about.

maifuj - the black and white pillow covers are from ikea

chmaddencarr - i <3 u

xenia - i found the fireplace right where you see it, its built in! very interesting looking but pretty bulky and non working unfortunately.

mauishopgirl - i keep my stuff in dressers - there is also one in the loft which didn't fit in my pictures. there's a decent closet and built-in storage in the bathroom too.

qtcrodesign - you're on to me.

reneefelicesmith!! hi!! so glad you stumbled upon my apartment. hope all is well in LA!

posted by shelby.girard on April 7, 2011 at 10:43am
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Love it! Great collection of eclectic pieces that work together in a unique way! Like the light fixtures and frames. Cool loft!

posted by sarasea on April 7, 2011 at 1:46pm
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Looks great Shelby!!!

posted by Jennifer Hess on April 7, 2011 at 2:01pm
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I love this.

I adore the cow hide rug and really want one and I love the mirror over the fireplace.

Are the loft drawers and the set of drawers in the living room your only wardrobe space? if so that must be frustrating.

posted by MoMoo on April 7, 2011 at 4:31pm
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I'd be afraid to fall over the low balcony railing when getting into those high drawers above the bed!

posted by scoutandboo on April 9, 2011 at 2:21pm
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I love your place, it really personal and well-put together. It looks very much like something you would find in Boston!

also, where is the wood & leather arm chair from? (1st photo to the right of fireplace) -- its so cute!!

posted by xlaurenx on April 9, 2011 at 3:12pm
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I really like this space! Minus the dining room chairs, they do not go with the personality of the apt at all. Maybe something sleek & black? And the white walls are really working for you, makes the space seem, well...loftier!

posted by ohkatie on April 10, 2011 at 4:09am
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This is fantastic.

posted by Lilah on April 10, 2011 at 10:17am
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posted by danishanddoglover on April 10, 2011 at 12:21pm
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would love to have seen pictures of the kitchen...

posted by AES0213 on April 10, 2011 at 1:15pm
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HOLY CRAP. i saw this and freaked out! my name is also shelbey and i live in chicago and i have the exact same style as you. you're my apartment doppleganger! good luck!! :)

posted by ShelbeyCampbell on April 10, 2011 at 8:12pm
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You just inspired me to build a loft -- yours is quite tasteful! Nice place!

posted by prettygirlshop on April 10, 2011 at 8:28pm
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Very cool place, I love the loft! The rug isn't my favourite, but I love everything else about your apartment!

posted by pheebs79 on April 10, 2011 at 10:26pm
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Shelby, We own our second house now and live in CT...I have old photos I'll try sending you sometime. There's someone famous that lived in that building, it's so special with so many amazing stories. You did a great job with it. People who live there are attracted to it because they have character (just like the building).

I love what you've done. When I rented that place back in 1989, I was at a packed open house. I fell in love the minute I saw it. I loudly criticized the small bathroom and the tiny kitchen WHILE I WROTE THE DEPOSIT CHECK! :) That was my first apartment and I lived there for 7 years.

Anyway, it's magical...what you've done with the place and the use of the space is the best of seen there. You have my vote.

posted by qtcrondesign on April 10, 2011 at 10:41pm
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Really like the design choices here. The layout of small apartments and condos is so vital to being able to live comfortably. If there is a loft or any other space to put a bed instead of having to do a fold out or murphy bed makes things so much easier.

posted by andover on April 11, 2011 at 7:32am
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My favorite thus far, but what a pain to change the bed linens in the loft!

posted by jamaica2009 on April 11, 2011 at 7:43am
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LOVE IT LOVE IT! So jealous! If it has a yard, it would be PERFECT (maybe it does?)

posted by melissacj on April 11, 2011 at 1:16pm
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i just love that this is a teeny tiny with a loft -- with an actual staircase instead of a dorm-like ladder!

posted by aliciajayn on April 11, 2011 at 2:19pm
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Love it all. I think I've seen those dining chairs at some exclusive anitque store.

posted by melfromstl on April 11, 2011 at 8:05pm
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Love the loft. It's so nice to have that division of space when you live in such a small apartment. I am dying to see the kitchen though.

posted by happyunbirthday on April 12, 2011 at 1:16am
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The lay-out and architecture is amazing! Whoever built this place gets a big hug from me! Love what you've done with it, too.

posted by FrontPorchPirate on April 13, 2011 at 10:49am
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I really like almost everything about this place including the cozy dining area with the mirror that enlarges it and all of the artwork that creates a lovely feel to the home but I have to agree that the dining room chairs and curtains both read "country" to me and clash with the urban feel of the rest of the place. I like an eclectic look but personally I just don't feel like the floral works with everything else. But that is my personal opinion for what it is worth! (Probably not much!)

posted by Chante on April 13, 2011 at 5:56pm
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I really like everything but the dining room chairs. They seem too clunky for such a classy space. Other than that - love it!

posted by bzb on April 13, 2011 at 7:21pm
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Yours is the best loft I've EVER seen! <3

Where I come from, lifting the bed high up is such a common way to make studios "work", but usually it looks like someone just nailed a bunkbed on the wall and added a sink and a stove underneath. But in Shelby's case, the result is stunning! That is a whole apartment in just a few square meters! May I enquire who was the architect? :)

I'm also curious about the width of the stairs. I guess between two and three feet?

posted by ekkuj on April 14, 2011 at 1:26am
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Perfection. And I don't say that lightly. Go Shelby!

posted by Pipstar on April 14, 2011 at 5:20pm
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...lovely bright and welcoming. I signed in for the contest as well (international). Im living in a 280sqf, so I'm quite aware of meaning of small space. well thought out!

posted by Gorica on April 14, 2011 at 6:35pm
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I like this apartment, it is very charming and full of character. I like the windowseat, and the fireplace. I like the dining table chairs. I have to agree that the curtain looks a bit wrong - sorry! Maybe something with light blue, like the sky in the photo above the couch? And I feel that the couch is too dark and clunky (although it looks comfortable!). Something lighter and more elegant, with legs so it is off the floor, might be nicer?

posted by piggylittle on April 14, 2011 at 10:37pm
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love love love love (x2, 3 times more..) how do people leave these houses for Work early in the morn, i'll never know..

posted by JulianneMay on April 15, 2011 at 6:27am
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Yes....lots and lots of character.

posted by joyia on April 16, 2011 at 1:33pm
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the stairs are so cute

posted by CherelleNJ on April 17, 2011 at 11:35am
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Man, this contest is killing me. There is a lot of great talent out there! I love this apartment and reminds me of how special "small" can be... Really nice job. Enjoy your place for a long time to come.

posted by IreneR on April 18, 2011 at 8:28pm
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Obviously some people are having a love/hate relationship with the curtains and chair covers, but can I just say major kudos to you for the extremely creative idea of taking a tablecloth and napkins in a print that you liked and integrating them into your space in such interesting way. I want to go tablecloth/curtain shopping right now!

posted by mbken on April 19, 2011 at 10:15pm
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This is kinda brilliant—People get over your selves about cowhide rugs, antlers, stag heads etc. as being the Anti-Christ! there are bigger problems in the world today!

posted by scandesign on April 22, 2011 at 4:55am
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This is going to sound so weird, but a few weeks ago I was watching YT videos of Apartment Tours and I swear this apartment was in one! It was from a year ago when the place was up for rent.

Is this the same place? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHp0Mmes3Rg

posted by Rachaeln_ on April 22, 2011 at 3:54pm
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One of my favorites. Some unexpected touches, but a complete place.

posted by warlesha21 on April 23, 2011 at 8:08pm
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those high ceilings are amazing. i love the bed loft!

posted by 3floorsup on April 27, 2011 at 7:06pm
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Where is that comforter from? Is it down? It looks so comfy!

posted by honeyjars on August 8, 2011 at 1:49am
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I love the rug and the curtains. this place is really cute, but sleeping in a loft would freak me out. I have a teensy problem with heights.

posted by sar3j on April 17, 2012 at 2:32pm
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