Reader OMG! – Lauren & Kam’s Renovated Chicago Condo

Reader OMG! is a series showcasing home tours from my favorite people…The DIY Playbook readers! Every month or so, I highlight the home of someone with some serious design style. I hope that these swoon-worthy spaces will make you say “OMG”…hence the name! It also gives me a chance to feature home styles outside of my own, so you can take away some fresh ideas for your space.Reader OMG blog series

So far we’ve featured these amazing homes in the series…

Lauren & Kam’s Renovated Condo Lauren and Kam's Reader OMG home tour

  • Homeowners: Lauren (an architect) & Kam (a graphic designer and street photographer)
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Home Type: Condo unit with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms
  • Year Built: 1912. It was formerly a printing factory and converted to apartments in the 1980s and later condos.
  • Describe your Home Style: Urban modern with a Scandinavian flair. Love to marry modern influences with timeless pieces while maintaining simplicity.
  • Favorite Spot in your House: The kitchen. We love to cook and the renovated kitchen is now large and functional. Plus, the bar is a great feature to have. It’s an area that allowed us to make a design statement with the contrast of the black tile running up to the ceiling and our integral bar shelves.Bar area in the condo before and after tour

Okay guys, get ready to learn about a seriously cool and super creative couple. Back in the fall, Lauren emailed me, submitting her condo for the Reader OMG! feature. She sent pictures of their home and I was impressed with their modern style and eye for design. But, I then looked at the before photos of their home and almost fell out of my chair. HOLY SMOKES…they did good. Lauren and Kam's before and after condo tour

Once I learned that Lauren is an architect and Kam is a graphic designer with a passion for street photography, it all made sense. They’re both incredibly creative and they have the ability to see past an outdated interior and envision the potential for a space. They originally viewed this unit and didn’t think much of it. But then Lauren created renderings of the space and mapped out a strict budget and they realized that it was the perfect project. They worked with a contractor for the big stuff, like removing the enclosed dining room that was formerly a bedroom,  and they DIY’ed the rest themselves, along with their handy dads. Let’s take a look at their Chicago condo before and after…

Entryway & Living RoomLiving room before and after condoChicago condo before and afterChicago condo before and afterModern living room in the cityEntryway before Black entryway mirror

Picture ledge with wedding frames
Blanket ladder
Small touches of personality
Plants on a coffee table

Paint Colors: Benjamin Moore “Chantilly Lace” in eggshell (wall); BEHR “Pure White” in semi-gloss (Trim); Benjamin Moore “Black” in satin (Doors)

Okay, so let’s first talk about their cute little entryway. Originally, when they walked into this unit, they were greeted with a coat closet right in front of ythem. Now it’s their dining room, which you’ll see below. They ended up adding the coolest little entry moment to the right of the door with a wood storage bench, built by Kam’s dad, and a vintage wood wall mirror which they found on OfferUp and painted black. This cute area really showcases their style of mixing vintage with modern, and they even have some storage with these faux leather bins.

As for the living room, this is one of the few places in the condo that didn’t need much work! They ripped out the carpet and put in new floors  –these engineered wood floors. Then, they upgraded the baseboards, painted, and added their own style with their modern chaise sofa. The corner holds their Peloton and a thrifted blanket ladder. This coffee table, side table, and large geometric rug complete the space.

Dining Room & Kitchen

Kitchen before
Reader omg modern chicago condo
Kitchen before
New modern kitchen design
dining room before
Dining room before and after
Kitchen renovation and dining room
Kitchen dining room
Adding personal Chicago themed art to the walls

Paint Colors: Benjamin Moore “Chantilly Lace” in eggshell (wall); BEHR “Pure White” in semi-gloss (Trim)

Can you even believe the before and after of that kitchen space? It looks like a totally different home! And the best part? They did all of the work themselves. They planned the entire kitchen, installed the IKEA cabinets (SEKTION cabinets with Veddinge fronts), tiled the backsplash with this black tile, painted, and added these bar shelves, all as do-it-yourself projects.

The dining room was previously the third bedroom and knocking out the walls was the best call. They continued the storage from the kitchen into the dining room with a long wall of cabinets that act as a sideboard next to the big dining room table. Lauren says they sit down for dinner at this table every night and can’t wait to someday (safely!) entertain in here again. And how about that cool chandy above? It’s so modern and streamlined, just like their home.

I’m a big fan of the large wall art that they added to the wall in the dining room. It features old historic Chicago buildings and really gives a glimpse into their interests as a couple. Clearly, they’re big fans of this city – you’ll notice lots of their coffee table books are about Chicago – and I love the nod to Lauren’s profession through the art prints.

Guest Bathroom

Guest bathroom before
Reader OMG condo before and after tour
Floating vanity and wood mirror shelf
Decorating a small bathroom

Paint Colors: BEHR “Pure White” in eggshell (walls); Benjamin Moore “Old Navy” in eggshell (accent wall); BEHR “Pure White” in semi-gloss (Trim & Doors)

Lauren and Kam told me that the guest bathroom before was so gross that they never actually used it before renovating. That cracked me up! But wow, they certainly transformed the space. They demo’ed everything themselves, installed new subflooring, floor tile, baseboards, and the vanity, toilet, mirror, and more. It was pretty much one big DIY project. They also used fronts from SemiHandmade to customize the basic IKEA vanity. This was a good way to save on budget, yet make it stylish.

Of course I’m a big fan of the navy walls and ceiling. It’s similar to what we did in our basement bathroom where the color just envelopes you, all around. That navy next to the white is a great contrast. Another thing I noticed right away when shooting the space was the custom walnut shelf they added all the way across underneath the mirror. It’s a great way to add some warmth with the wood and it offers a spot for more storage.

Main Bedroom

Main bedroom before
Main bedroom after
black and white art
Geometric pilllows
Vanity to get ready in the bedroom
Adding plants to a vanity area

Street art Paint Colors: BEHR “Pure White” in eggshell (walls); Benjamin Moore “Salamander” in eggshell (accent); BEHR “Pure White” in semi-gloss (trim)

Holy smokes, is this the best spot for natural light or what? It was a cloudy overcast day when I visited, but wow, this bedroom was still so bright and welcoming. They have an amazing view of the city skyline – the Sears Tower is right out their window – and you can even get a peek at the lake. What a gorgeous spot to wake up in every single day.

This room needed mostly cosmetic upgrades with new flooring, a cool painted accent wall (love that green color), and furniture, like this platform bed, that suits their style. Right away, I noticed the cool black and white photographs on the wall and asked where they got them. Kam actually took the photos (remember, he is a street photographer on the side!) and I was blown away to hear that. They showcase Chicago in a unique light. Plus, what a budget-friendly way to personalize your walls. You can check out his work here.

Shop the Look – Renovated Chicago CondoReader OMG Lauren and Kam Chicago condo before and after tour

Faux Leather Storage Bin // Sofa // Side Table // Geometric Rug // Bar Set // Wall Planter // Dining Room Table // Chandelier // Chicago Wall Art // Wood Fruit Bowl // Black Dining Chair // Patterned Pillow // Velvet Pillow  Lauren and Kam enjoying their home

A big thanks to Lauren and Kam for letting us house crash. If you want to follow along on their projects (they’re finishing up their main bathroom renovation right now), give Lauren and Kam a follow at their new Instagram account @thelksaddress.

Chicago condo before and after tour

Submit Your Home for Reader OMG!Reader OMG blog series

Want to see your home featured on The DIY Playbook? Send an email to [email protected] with the subject line “Reader OMG!”, including lots of photos of your gorgeous home. I’m booking homes for the remainder of the year, so please submit your space!


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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