A Prop Stylist’s Small & Simple Chicago Studio Apartment — House Call


Name: Brooke Doyle
Location: Logan Square — Chicago, Illinois
Size: 600 square feet
Years lived in: 3.5 years, renting

Prop stylist Brooke Doyle has only recently become reacquainted with all of her stuff. Having moved to different cities often in the past, this three and a half year stay in Chicago is the longest she’s ever lived anywhere. “Most of what I own has been stored in boxes for over a decade and I only just recently started unpacking and rediscovering it all…I’ve kept art and objects from living in LA, Seoul and Montreal, all to create something that finally feels like home.”

Writing desk made from an old bar top with signed print of Hunter S. Thompson

(Image credit: Petra Ford)

“I am a prop stylist living in a studio apartment in Logan Square, Chicago. I work with home brands on catalogue and ad shoots and so am constantly thinking about and changing up interiors. I usually take my work home with me, reimagining how to use the space I have to achieve a different look or feel.

My style is a constantly evolving mix of Craigslist scores (that Coalesse sofa!); handmade accents (the red arrow lamp, wooden desk); and vintage pieces (the bar cart, skull and wall hanging). One of my favorite items though is a portrait of Hunter S. Thompson signed by both the artist and HST.”

“Each time my lease is up for renewal, I consider moving but can’t give up the exposed brick and old wood floors. I’ve also realized how easy it can be to reinvent a small space — when I’m ready for a change, I’ll wheel the desk in front of the windows, rotate framed artworks, rearrange seating, or fill my bar cart with books instead of booze.

I spend a lot of time hunting down art and objects for work, so being selective in what I personally bring home is tough, but I really like the editing process to make room for new (or less!) accents and decor. No matter what I bring in, or take out, the space and layout always feel cozy and private. I love coming home and I think that’s the best feeling you can have!”

Coalesse sofa (Found on Craigslist:) with prints

(Image credit: Petra Ford)

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I had a total holy grail Craigslist moment really recently that I’m *still* shamefully giddy about. A couple months ago, I decided to upgrade my upholstered loveseat and invest in a mid-century bodied, cognac leather sofa. I looked absolutely everywhere but was conflicted about the investment and getting really discouraged. I checked Craigslist everyday but was really turned off by the grody overstuffed, cup holder sectionals that seemed to dominate the listings. THEN I saw this gorgeous Coalesse Switch sofa listed for a fraction of what I was prepared to spend and it was a total dream — flawless leather, arms that fold down to fit different spaces (a huge deal for my studio) and a really slim frame and silhouette. I jumped on it and the woman selling it was so cool, of course she got a million calls but it was all mine!

Seating area opposite of writing desk in the alcove with books, vintage skull

(Image credit: Petra Ford)

Any advice for creating a home you love? 1) Wait for “the feeling” when you’re choosing furniture and accents – don’t rush and buy based on trends or price. If you’re not sure, or begin talking yourself into it…sweetie you have to Walk. Away. If your chest gets kind of tight and your eyes start to water, it’s meant to be. Maybe I’m the only one who feels that way about vintage brass bookends, but you get the idea…

Andy Warhol “Chanel” reproduction, B&W photos by Brooke Doyle

(Image credit: Petra Ford)

2) It’s ok not to have one specific or definable personal style. If everything you collect you truly love and has meaning, one will organically evolve.

3) Edit! There are a lot of theories about how to do this, but you already know which things you don’t use or the ones that remind you of a less than bright n’ shiny moment in life. Filler will drag you down and actually start to self-multiply like a wet Gremlin at midnight. I’ve seen it happen. Store it away, donate it, burn it. And never look back.

What is your favorite room and why? I love the alcove that connects the bedroom to the kitchen. It feels like “bonus” space and is the easiest to switch up. I usually keep some combination of seating and side tables so guests can hang out there and still be near the kitchen, which is always the most magnetizing place in a home. Nobody wants to come over and awkwardly sit on your bed while you burn dinner.

Thanks, Brooke !

• Interested in sharing your home with Apartment Therapy? Contact the editors through our House Tour & House Call Submission Form.

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