Bethany & Joshua's Eclectic Lake View

Bethany & Joshua's Eclectic Lake View

Carolyn Purnell
Mar 23, 2012

Name: Joshua, Bethany, and Evelyn Adams
Location: Hyde Park — Chicago, IL
Size: 1700 square feet
Years lived in: 7 — owned

In the last few years, Bethany and Joshua Adams have moved from their lakefront condo, across an ocean to an apartment near the Seine, and back again (this time with a new baby in tow). One might say that on a symbolic level, water and the changes it represents have played a central role in their lives, and their condo, outfitted in blues, grays, and greens, calmly reflects this watery inspiration.

Bethany, an interior designer, chose to decorate the main living area in a mostly cool palette interrupted by pops of orange, red, and yellow. The apartment is home to many patterns (most noticeably the silver geometric wallpaper in the foyer, living room, and dining area), but the space remains light and airy, grounded and energized by occasional bursts of color. Overall, the apartment is calm and refined, but it also possesses a vivacious, imaginative warmth that comes through in accent fabrics, colors, and cleverly placed wall patterns.

Among their many other travels, the couple recently spent a year in Paris for Joshua's Ph.D. work, and a love of world literature, architecture, and art has subtly infused their space. Joshua's copies of Chicago Review (for which he was once an editor), along with a book of Richard Avedon's portraits, feature prominently on their bedroom shelves. Artwork by Massimo Vitali and Josef Albers are counted among their most prized possessions, and the couple have converted the foyer into an ad hoc library. The passion for travel and adventure has even subtly influenced Evelyn's nursery, in the form of Parisian memorabilia and a whimsical woodland theme.

Joshua and Bethany share an ardor for creative pursuits (one that they will surely pass on to the curious and cheerful Evelyn). A testament to their past travels and a space suited to their future together, the Adamses' condo clearly reflects the remarkably well-balanced serenity and vitality of their family.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Mid-Century modern / eclectic

Inspiration: Our beautiful lake view was the original inspiration for our main living areas. The kitchen is still a light turquoise, and at one point the dining room wall was a vivid aqua. We've since wallpapered, but have kept true to our inspiration with three beach photographs.

Favorite Element: The silver trellis wallpaper, which is visible from the entryway, living room, and dining room. It's a bold and unifying element that simultaneously makes each room seem unique.

Biggest Challenge: Our building was originally constructed as a hotel in 1918, converted to apartments in the 1950s and then converted again to condos in the 1970s. As a result, there are a lot of non-engaged columns and strange soffits. Instead of ignoring them, I used the spaces they created for wallpaper in the nursery, a home office in the bedroom, and a spacious kitchen pantry.

What Friends Say: Most of our friends love our apartment. There are a lot of colors and patterns, though, which might be a bit much for some people. I understand that. As a designer I've done minimalist, modern spaces and some very elegant, traditional ones, and I love them all. My home is the place where I can have fun, take some risks, and dabble in modern, traditional, and everything in between.

Biggest Embarrassment: The floors. I wasn't yet a designer when we bought the apartment and I made some choices early on that I now regret. For instance, there was old carpet in the living/dining room when we moved in, so I replaced it with new carpet. It didn't occur to me at the time that I could choose flooring that wasn't carpet! It would be too extravagant to replace the floors again, so we make the best of it. Carpet is great for Evelyn who is going to be crawling soon.

Proudest DIY: For us, it's generally cheaper and easier to pay a professional to get it right the first time, so my DIYs are pretty unimpressive. I did cover relatively inexpensive cordless roman shades from Pottery Barn Kids with a more expensive fabric in Evelyn's nursery using stitch-witchery (iron-on glue). I even matched up the pattern on both shades!

Biggest Indulgence: We hoped to take a big trip for our fifth wedding anniversary last July, but Evelyn was due to arrive just two weeks later. Instead of a trip, we decided to give ourselves the gift of the three Massimo Vitali photos hanging in the dining room. Although trips give you memories to treasure, a piece of art can be a wonderful reminder of a special time as well.

Best Advice: Start with what you love and make that the focal point of the room, whether it's a particular color, piece of furniture, or even a collection. You'll get a lift every time you enter because your eye will go straight to what makes you happy.

Dream Sources: As a professional, I'm lucky to have access to any design resource. If time, budget, and space were not an issue, though, I'd love to shop at Karkula and Ralph Pucci in New York, Le Marché aux Puces and the top floor of Le Bon Marché in Paris, and Downtown in L.A.

Resources of Note:


    • Paint Color (throughout): Glidden #30YY 58/082 Sand White
    • Wallpaper (throughout): Modern Trellis in Silver by F. Schumacher and Company
    • Bookshelves: IKEA
    • Console: CB2 via Craigslist
    • Folding chair (1 of 6): 1970s Italian, flea market in Paris
    • Light Fixture: Nelson Bubble Lamp,


    • Sofa: Troy, Crate and Barrel
    • Pillows, solid: Custom, covered in velvet from Fishman's Fabric Chicago
    • Pillows, zig zag: Custom, covered in Zenyatta Mondatta in Peacock by F. Schumacher and Company
    • Aqua chairs: Crate and Barrel
    • Filing cabinet: CB2
    • Aqua lamp: Garnet Hill
    • Floating shelves: IKEA
    • Media cabinet: CB2 via Craigslist
    • Mid-Century chair: Found, recovered in fabric from Fishman's Fabric Chicago
    • Sheepskin: IKEA
    • Cocktail table: West Elm
    • Zebra-print cowhide: EBAY
    • Coffee table: Antique Chinese pigskin trunks inherited from Joshua's grandparents


    • Harvey Probber walnut cabinet: Form Dallas on
    • Vintage Lucite Lamps: antique store in my hometown of Littleton, NH, rewired by A Lamp and Fixture in Chicago
    • Brass Deer: EBAY
    • Saarinen-style table: Craigslist
    • Dining chairs: Pottery Barn
    • Floating cabinets: EBAY, refinished and painted by White Attic in Chicago
    • "Grass" centerpieces: Crate and Barrel
    • Photographs: Knokke Polyptych 6 7 & 8 by Massimo Vitali from


    • Paint Color: similar to Benjamin Moore #652, Carribean Breeze
    • Cabinet Pulls and Knobs: IKEA
    • Glass tile: Tile Outlet, Chicago
    • Francis Francis Espresso Maker: www.
    • Organizational system: Rosle, Williams-Sonoma
    • Teapot: Le Creuset, Williams-Sonoma


    • Paint Color: Benjamin Moore #2028-60, Celadon Green
    • Wallpaper: Decorator's Walk Birds and Butterflies, F. Schumacher and Company
    • Crib: Ray crib by Muu Kids
    • Crib sheet and "evelyn" banner: Caryn Campbell
    • Navy Chevron Rug:
    • Bookshelf: IKEA
    • Toy Box: I'm just a toy box, Land of Nod
    • Toy Box cushion, baby blanket, and Curtains: Missoni for Target
    • Rocking chair: Found, recovered in fabric from Fishman's Fabric Chicago
    • Purple Pillow: World Market
    • Roman Shades: Cordless Twill Roman Shades by Pottery Barn Kids, covered in Decorator's Walk Birds and Butterflies, F. Schumacher and Company


    • Paint Color: Benjamin Moore #2109-50, Elephant Gray
    • Bed: Tate bed, Crate and Barrel
    • Bedding: West Elm
    • Pillows: Custom, covered in Kelly Wearstler for Lee Jofa's Ombre Maze in Lilac
    • Sconces: West Elm
    • Nightstands: EBAY
    • Drapery: West Elm
    • Laundry hampers: Crate and Barrel
    • Desk: Crate and Barrel
    • Lucite chair: EBAY
    • Framed print: Josef Albers' Portfolio 1, Print 63,

Thanks, Bethany, Joshua, and Evelyn!

(Images: Carolyn Purnell)

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