For a young couple making the decision to live together for the first time, there are a lot of compromises to be made and, sometimes, heated discussions to be had. That is, unless you happen to be newlyweds Clare Kalimuthu and her husband, Mike—who basically gave her carte blanche on their mid-rise modern condo’s design scheme in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. For good reason, though—Clare has a natural eye, and she devoted a ton of online time to researching each piece of furniture and decor. In the end, she was able to craft a cozy condo with a touch of Hollywood glamour for the entire family, which includes the couple’s 6-year-old Beagle, Stevie. Here, she talks us through the process of outfitting their first home together.
What’s your day job?
I’m a Facilities and Events Coordinator at a financial services firm, but I’ve always loved interior design—it’s a side hobby.
How did you approach the design of your new condo?
We purchased in April of 2015, and I knew off the bat that I wanted a black and white theme with pops of color; a color scheme that was very classic and would never go out of style.
Most of the pieces in our home come from West Elm, CB2, Pottery Barn and Interior Define, where we got our Owens sectional sofa. We also have some great accessories from Rara Avis (a cute antique shop in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago that my friend owns), including the gold canvas painting in our guest room (see below). I’m also a huge fan of online shopping and finding deals. I found a lot of items on Wayfair, Overstock (where our gorgeous living room rug is from), and Art.Com, where I sourced a lot of our vintage artwork. I did our entire gallery wall with frames from IKEA—which were a steal—and I get a ton of compliments on them!
My favorite areas have to be my rooftop and my kitchen. I love entertaining people, and these are the two spaces where we entertain the most. We just recently finished furnishing the roof, and I love being able to add different accessories to the kitchen countertops and change up the look constantly.
My advice is to do a ton of research! Look at homes and décor on your favorite websites—I found a lot of great ideas by viewing other people’s homes. Also, ask people whose décor and taste you like what they think about a possible purchase. I asked my mom and sister, who have similar tastes to mine, what they thought about most of our furniture before I bought it. But be sure to add in your own style and ideas so that it’s not the same as everyone else’s home!