Andrew Freeman + Erik Westerlund first fell in love with West Elm when they were looking for a place to live together three years ago. The home they ended up going for — a gorgeous three-bedroom condo in the North Park neighborhood of Chicago, with 11-foot ceilings and a rooftop that looks out on the skyline — was shown with many West Elm pieces that belonged to the previous owners. “The extensive molding and Brazilian zebra floors that came with the place were features we knew we needed to respect,” says Erik. “When we saw the West Elm furniture in the space, we saw that the mid-century style fit really well with the details of the home,” says Andrew. Since then, they’ve been regulars in the West Elm Skokie store, often popping in just to say hi to the store manager Amy Degnan and lead stylist Angel Lim, as well as check out all the new offerings.
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Combining two households meant that each man brought a lot of furniture to the new space — and it wasn’t quite working. “While each piece looked fine in their previous environment, when we arranged them in our new space, it looked like a sad listing for an estate sale,” says Erik. “We decided to replace a few pieces and ultimately wound up replacing nearly every piece.” Andrew says he and Erik tend to waver on design decisions, so as part of the West Elm Design Crew, Angel was able to help them focus and pull the trigger. “She’s never steered us wrong,” Andrew says. “She’s very friendly and helpful and decisive and really made things a lot easier on us. She’d text me photos where she’d Photoshop pieces into our space, like, this would look great! We loved it. She got things done.” The finished result is a colorful, mid-century mix that balances Andrew’s love of Scandinavian and coastal design with Erik’s more traditional leanings into one inviting, modern home.
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Photography by Landon Vonderschmidt
The main goal when designing the condo was to create separation between rooms, without adding too much furniture to make the space feel bulky. “Our primary living space is the new-age Chicago open-concept space-saving combination living room, dining room + kitchen combination,” says Erik. “We knew we needed furniture and accessories that would break the one large room up into several distinct spaces while still maintaining a consistent look as if it were one room, because it is.”
The solution was a Carlo Terminal Chaise Sectional, plus a few rugs that would define different spaces. “The Carlo Sectional worked out perfectly for the scale of their living room layout,” says Angel. Plus, it’s the perfect size for Erik, Andrew, and Magnus, their rescue dog, to all hang out together. “Magnus loves the end – the terminal chaise is like his island, his little peninsula,” says Andrew. “That’s one thing we like about this couch is that the three of us can fit on there. Well, it depends on how Magnus wants to sprawl out, because dogs don’t always think about sharing space properly.”
Cool colors with brass accents helped tie the room together too, Angel says. “They liked having a pop of color, so we picked out the Verve Rug to brighten up the room and also emphasize the beautiful blue accent color on the fireplace,” says Angel. “The Pedestal Marble Coffee Table and Side Table pair with the brass herringbone and white marble fireplace.”
The Carlo Mid-Century Chair with the Faceted Brass Drinks Table makes up a mid-century modern nook in the corner. “I sit there regularly, every morning before work, every evening,” says Andrew. “That chair gets a lot of sitting. It’s my thinking chair, it’s my reading chair. It’s very comfortable, so that gets a lot of love.”
Kitchen + Dining
In the middle of a kitchen renovation, decision fatigue kicked in when it was time to pick out counter stools. “We spent hours online, sifting through different options, and just dreading it,” says Andrew. “One night we were watching Queer Eye – we’re big fans, how could you not be? – and I’m like oh my gosh, I really like those stools in the loft, I think those could look good. So I took out my phone and Googled Fab 5 Loft Tour and realized, go figure, they’re from West Elm!” The Cora Leather Counter Stools match well with their cabinets and the Mid-Century Dining Table, where Erik sometimes sits when he works from home. “Erik loves to cook, so he’ll be in the kitchen and I’ll sit in the green chair and we’ll talk,” says Andrew. “I like to make cocktails, so we’ll have guests come over and sit on the stools, I’ll tend bar and make sure our friends are taken care of, so that’s sort of the heart of our home.”
The main living/dining area is where the couple spends the most time entertaining, but when it’s just the two of them, Andrew says the den is where they’ll go to intentionally unwind. The leather chairs are from a past season at West Elm, and the story of finding them is a funny highlight of the couple’s indecision. “We ordered the chairs, and then we changed our minds, but they were already in process and being shipped to the store,” says Andrew. “Later we were walking around the store and said, oh, how about these chairs? And then we realized they were the exact chairs that we ordered. They had come to the store, and so they just put them on the floor, and we’re like, we like these! So we bought them off the floor. That always kind of makes me laugh, for that funny history.”
“It seems so odd, but the bench at the foot of the bed is my favorite piece in the whole house,” says Erik. “It somehow filled a void in my life I never knew I had. I use it almost every day!”
Lead Designer with West Elm Skokie
Photography by Landon Vonderschmidt
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