My Apartments Over the Years / by Alaina Kaczmarski


Seven years, five apartments. It's funny to look back and see what's changed year over year... it's crazy to look at what items make the cut from one apartment to the next and which get posted in the ole' LCY Yard Sales. I've had some of the same living room throw pillows (spots and diamond pattern) for over four years when that's one of the most frequently changed out items in homes. And my nightstands also have been with me for four apartments and each of those bedrooms have looked drastically different. Same with the white parsons desk in the offices.

Then there's the coffee tables. There's been three. SOLELY because the two smaller apartments can't fit my favorite large wooden and iron coffee table–I still own that sucker; it's been living in my brother's garage. Saving it for a rainy day/larger home.

Headboards are another thing that has been switched out over and over again. In my early twenties, there was no budget for a headboard so I went with the large Euro pillows. When I was finally able to get the large grey one with Joss and Main credit, I loved the shape but was really disappointed with the quality of the fabric. Then I went full color but the floral was short-lived since Danielle and I went entirely neutral when we got a big apartment/office together. But now I think Dan and I will hang onto the current stone-colored linen for the foreseeable future. It's wonderful quality linen and the simple shape will work with just about anything.


I'm basically a one trick pony when it comes to laying out a living room. Sofa across from TV flanked by side chairs, large coffee table in the middle. Or when there isn't a good wall across from the sofa, I place the TV to one side (at which point I just lay w/ my feet up on the sofa to watch it). I guess that makes me a two tricky pony. Hm... either way, both are easy enough to recreate for anyone looking for guidance laying out a space!

As for the furniture, the first apartment had my roommate's sofa, and the white overstuffed chair was a family hand-me-down. In the next place, I bought my first grown-up "investment" piece of furniture, a grey English roll arm, my favorite style, which I expected to own for years to come... alas, two months in and the cushions looked like they'd seen better days thanks to the deflated down inserts. That being said, I would have hung on to it had we not designed our own version of my favorite design. By my fourth apartment I had long-since sold my white hand-me-down chair and picked up the beautiful Copper & Walnut chair–another amazing piece I hope to have for years. I didn't realize I've had that vertical spine bookcase next to the sofa in three of the five rooms. And I cannot tell you how many people see photos of it and ask how I keep a stack of books upright. Is it that difficult to tell it's a shelf? I'm so used to it, it seems obvious to me. 

The rugs... well, the photos do not lie, the rug changes every year. And I blame the dogs for that. All hail Rugs USA for reasonably priced area rugs.

Overall they've been really similar in style though! I've followed my golden rule of investing in neutral colored large pieces, switching out accessories, and bringing in colors with flowers and natural accents.


Unlike the living rooms, my offices have been quite different despite having the same anchor piece (the white parsons desk) in just about all of them. But again with the damn rugs always changing! And the desk chairs.

I decided to take a cue from my first apartment and do a statement floor-to-ceiling gallery wall in my current place. Not going to lie though; I miss having a white desk. I would get thrifty and paint this black one since I love the shape, but it's really too small to work on. More on that later.



Ohhh the bedrooms. This is the room that I usually don't put much thought into until it comes time for a photo shoot and I go with a theme and run with it. I don't know why really... too much to take on at once, I guess? Or they're usually really small spaces covered in laundry we don't want to put away and dog beds covering the floor. 

But this is the room where I've also been the most adventurous when it comes to decor. All black walls, huge floral headboard, hot pink lamps, bold gallery wall. I've kind of been willing to take on any new trend or design I've been considering and see if it sticks. Case in point: I'll be going the dreamy blue route in our current room. Namely because we are not painting the walls, and something about the lighting in the room makes the grey look blue. And I love ginger jars and have always wanted to use them in a space. So we'll see how this takes shape over the next couple of months!

Apartment 1: Southport Corridor 2010-2012
Apartment 2: Uptown 2012-2013
Apartment 3: Lincoln Park 2013-2014
Apartment 4: West Town 2014-2015
Apartment 5: Wicker Park (full tour post TBD) 2015-current

So that's that! If you don't mind me asking, which was your favorite of my many, many apartments? And feel free to ask any questions in the comments. Happy to answer!