Amy and Todd’s Mod Chicago Home
Name: Amy Haiar and Todd Donahue
Location: Avondale/Logan Square — Chicago, Illinois
What happens when two creative directors have carte blanche to design a new home from the ground up? In the case of husband-and-wife duo Todd and Amy, colorful, interesting, and beautiful things happen.
Amy and Todd purchased their newly-constructed Smart Tech home a little over a year ago. The home is sustainably designed, SM Energy Star rated, and new construction meant that Amy and Todd had the chance to design their interior from the ground up.
And design they have—modern and vintage pieces are offset by a sunny palette of yellows, whites, and oranges. Artwork and unique finds are showcased in ways that allow individual pieces to shine, while the space as a whole still feels open and balanced. There is a lot to love: clean-lined symmetry, sunshine that goes on forever, a gorgeously wallpapered powder room, and a wall of gig posters? Pretty, pretty, pretty great.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Graphical. We love a well-balanced mix of bold color, pattern, texture and type. We try to balance that with warmer, modern elements that have structure and simplicity.
Inspiration: Since we’re both creative directors, we’re influenced by all kinds of design – typography, architecture, industrial design, fashion, and primarily graphic design.
Favorite Element: The yellow vintage fireplace. It was something that sat under a tarp in my grandparent’s barn in Michigan for years. I loved the color and would always look at it and hope someday I’d have a space for it. When I got my first place, I crammed it into my Volkswagen Beetle and hauled it to Chicago. It’s been with me ever since.
Biggest Challenge: Trying to keep it simple. We are always finding new ideas, artwork and pieces for the house, but in order to keep our simple aesthetic, we try to keep an editing eye and not over-clutter.
What Friends Say: That it feels like “us.”
Biggest Embarrassment: The basement. It’s the one part of the house that we’ve just put off tackling. It’s basically like an empty roller rink – we’ll get around to it eventually.
Proudest DIY: The stone accent wall. We took on the task with no tiling experience. It took a lot of patience, but the transformation was really dramatic. We laid out every tile on the basement floor and then one by one, brought them up and put the wall together. We love the asymmetry of the TV and shelves and the stone provided another natural element – it really added warmth to the room and has become the focal point of the main level.
Biggest Indulgence: The red-orange vintage stools. We had purchased two different sets of bar stools previously, but nothing we tried felt right until we found these.
Best Advice: Photoshop everything! We always take a picture and do a quick Photoshop mock-up for any big decisions – lighting, wall colors, pictures, wallpaper, shelving. We’ve done everything from mood boards for the kids’ rooms to spacing out the plants in the yard. It’s fun to see the “after” before you make the commitment, and make sure you have the right balance of color and scale. It also helps prevent any expensive regrets.
Dream Sources: Design blogs, Pinterest, Dwell, and Houzz. Chicago offers many great lighting, furniture and modern home décor stores to explore.