An open-concept apartment with exposed metal ductwork, concrete ceilings and a neutral color palette could easily look cold — or worse, boring. But that’s far from the case with this small Chicago condo outfitted by the West Elm Design Crew. By adding coziness through varying textures and lively faux botanicals, this bright and stylish space is warm and inviting. Amber Speck, the general manager for West Elm Oakbrook, spoke with us about designing this apartment for Erica Green and Brad Portnoy, a young couple moving in together for the first time.

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“This space had a lot of character already instilled into the condo,” says Amber. “It had kind of an old-school vibe with the existing crystal chandeliers, and with the metal and concrete, we were working with an industrial-meets-glam sort of look.”

Tour the full space to see how Amber worked her magic and shop the look below!

Photography by Landon Vonderschmidt

Brad and Erica are both consultants and travel every week, so they wanted this condo to be a reprieve from their busy lifestyles. Erica knew she wanted the Andes Sectional for her living room, but the popular Mineral Gray color in Distressed Velvet would have been a little too gray-on-gray for this space, says Amber. “I showed her the Eco Weave fabric in Oyster and explained to her the benefits of that fabric” — a liquid-resistant fabric is perfect for someone like Erica, who says she is notorious for spilling things.

Layering pillows and throws with different textures in similar tones cozies up the space while giving it a Bohemian vibe. “We knew that we wanted to keep the palette super neutral, and have the only color be the blue in the Distressed Foliage Rug,” says Amber. “So we pulled together a lot of neutral-toned pillows that we were showing together in the store. We have the textured pillows with the fringe across the front, and then the more geometric pattern that has that neutral tone-on-tone. We also worked in the fuzzy Mongolian Pillow because it was bigger, it kind of broke up the monotony of the others.”

Before the pillows arrived, it was looking a bit cold, but those finishing touches brightened things right up. “Once we started incorporating textures of the pillows and the chunky Marled Basketweave Throw, all of a sudden it became very warm and inviting, and you just wanted to curl up on that sofa,” Amber says.

While a gray sectional might’ve been a bit too blah for the already-gray condo, the glam Lenox Counter Stools in the kitchen are just right for the space, tying in the color story without ever dulling things down. The brass accents pair perfectly with the living room’s Marble-Topped Pedestal Coffee Table and Side Table.

Plants were big on Brad’s list. “He knew he wanted planters and greenery living in the space,” says Amber. “He had apparently been raising a little fiddle leaf tree and wanted to bring that over, so we talked a lot about planters.” A mix of real and faux botanicals brings tons of life to the light-filled living room.

Amber was also able to work Erica’s personal things into the look to make it feel like home. “She had her own little cork collection that was super cute and worked with the palette as well,” says Amber. “So we played off of that to keep it all kind of interesting and personal.”

Photography by Landon Vonderschmidt

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Leslie Mormol Green

August 10, 2019

Love This!

Sandy Edison

August 11, 2019

Crisp but comfortable!
Great start condo for a great couple, Erica and my grandson, Brad.


August 14, 2019

Looks great. But where is lightining? I only see the chandelier and two small chandeliers over kitchen counter. I have the most trouble figuring out lighting and designers often leave them out of the pictures. What lighting would you add from your line?

brenda Craven

August 19, 2019

I like the white sofas and would like to see more of how to pull a room together.

Don Dame

August 20, 2019

This is so beautiful! I love the rug and the use of planters!

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