A Wicker Park condo's barn-inspired kitchen

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Greg and Ellen Gartland settled into their Wicker Park condo three years ago with big ideas. The Gartlands knew they wanted more room for a family in the 100-year-old building that was once a carriage and saddle manufacturer. So when it finally came time to expand—and make room for their son, Calvin—it seemed natural to bring a barn into their space.

Using eco-conscious materials was important to the Gartlands, and when they had the opportunity to access reclaimed barn wood from a structure in Kansas City, the renovation began to take shape. By using recycled timber for the cabinets and shelving in the kitchen, the project not only cost less, it had less of an impact on the environment. The open shelving displays an eclectic mix of wares, including aqua china that Ellen found in her stepmom's antique store, beer goblets from their days living in Amsterdam, and a pair of IKEA's Stock vases that retail for around $10.

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While many of us aren't in the market for a total kitchen overhaul, you can achieve this rustic look even in a rental. With the right kind of hardware from Home Depot and a little know-how, you could easily turn the ubiquitous wooden pallets and railroad ties that pepper Craigslist's "free" section into midwest-chic shelving for next to nothing.

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