Working remotely, i.e. from home, can be cabin fever-inducing if you don’t absolutely love your space. Nina Johnson, a Graphic Designer, artist and photographer who works remotely, always knew she wanted to have a space that felt calming and relaxing. A place she never wanted (or had) to leave.
Along with her husband, Alex, Nina is a born-and-bred Chicagoan, so Logan Square seemed like the perfect neighborhood to settle down in when they found out a baby was on the way. As Nina puts it, “babies and dogs everywhere!” After white-washing the entire home to create a blank canvas, Nina’s creative design gears started to turn and, eventually, she was able to create a calming, airy, and tranquil home right down to the details. With the help of a few vintage pieces, as well as several of her father’s handcrafted woodwork throughout, the space feels both personal and timeless.
See the whole space below and hear from Nina about the design challenges faced with when moving to a new, larger family home.
“Chicago is home. My husband Alex and I grew up here, met here, were married here, started our family here, and now own a bar here. As artists and photographers, we love the energy and excitement of city, as well as our quiet, family-friendly neighborhood”.
Before finding out they were expecting, Nina and Alex were, at the time, living in an artist’s loft in Pilsen. She says “the lack of nursery space and nails sticking out of the floor weren’t ideal for a baby! So we packed up and moved on the stormiest day of the year. Once we settled in, I dove straight into decorating. Nesting is a real thing, y’all! We painted every square inch of the place white and started creating a calm, comfortable, and inviting space for our new addition.”
Nina explains that several aspects of her life added up to help influence the aesthetic of their home. “As a graphic designer, I love simplicity. Lots of negative space, big statement pieces, and simple color palettes, please. I also work remotely, so it has always been important that our home is a place I love to be in all day, every day – i.e. cozy and peaceful. This is especially true now that our baby Rocky is here and it’s wintertime in Chicago (hello, great indoors).” Her favorite part in the whole house is their bedroom, because it’s always the brightest and sunniest room in the house, with its calming white + wood theme. “I make the bed every morning so I can start my day with something already accomplished.”
Nina says the biggest challenge when it comes to interior design is choosing the right rug: “I’m typically paralyzed by this decision (dramatic, I know), since I have a hard time imagining how a rug will look in the space. With this apartment however, I started to photoshop rugs into the rooms of our home and it was so helpful! I ‘tried’ rugs from a bunch of different brands and we ended up with two great rugs from West Elm—one in Alex’s office/music room and one in our living room.”
Nina and Alex have several stunning pieces handcrafted by Nina’s father, a talented woodworker. “He built Rocky’s bassinet, the bench in our bedroom, the bench/coffee table in our office, the bookcase in our living room, and the open shelves in our kitchen. We’re so incredibly lucky to have access to his talent.”
Nina is a lover of the classic Mid-Century aesthetic, and this shines through in the selected vintage furniture pieces scattered throughout their home. “It’s fun to hunt down these treasures and mix them with our decor!”