by Dean Fisher
I'm known among friends as the queen of Craigslist, specifically the "Free" section. I scour it daily and have found amazing things, such as a Scandinavian credenza, 250 vintage National Geographic magazines, and a pair of Nelson-inspired bubble lamps. So when it comes time for me to clean out my apartment, I like to return the favor on Craigslist and give things away.
That's how I met Pilsen resident Eric Huebner, who shares my addiction. He responded to an ad I'd posted for a free midcentury modern lamp shade, and after making the handoff we began discussing our obsession with thrifting, antiquing, and scouting for unique items online. Turns out Huebner has a seriously charming two-bedroom apartment that he's decorated exclusively with secondhand items.
His envy-inducing dining room boasts a gorgeous Danish table and chair set that he found in Naperville via Craigslist for $110; Huebner reupholstered the chairs and sanded and stained the table to bring the set back to its former glory. The teak credenza was a $35 Salvation Army score, while the $40 cowhide and the $50 framed print of the Chicago skyline were both found at Brown Elephant.
Huebner, an architecture student, earns his income by restoring midcentury modern furniture and selling it through his online store, Chicago Vintage. He has also perfected the salon wall, something that many of us have attempted with not-so-great results. If you'd like to re-create this wall in your space, Huebner, who is constantly picking up new artwork and never paying more than $40, recommends that you group your frames on the floor until you're happy with the arrangement, then make paper templates of each piece, pin them on the wall to ensure the layout works, and finally hang the frames.
The prep work is worth it; you'll avoid creating accidental nail holes and end up with a perfectly clustered gallery-worthy wall of art.
Once a month, the Reader's Dean Fisher uses her expert eye and a shoestring budget to overhaul a Chicagoan's space. Want to have a room redone? Send a photo of your pitiful interior to email@example.com.