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A Chicago Family’s No-Holds-Barred High-rise

by Garrett Fleming

When  creator Amelia Canham Eaton and her husband, Peter, enrolled in grad school, the pair was a bit hesitant. The decision meant they’d be trading in the tree-lined streets of Chicago, IL’s Lakeview neighborhood for the high-rises and bustle of downtown. Frankly, both figured they’d immediately move back to a quieter neighborhood to raise a family after graduation. Over the years, though, they have fallen so in love with living downtown that the couple is sticking around to raise their growing baby, Connor, in a condo atop the glittering Second City.

Initially, the all-white, two-bedroom spot didn’t have much pizazz, and that wasn’t going to cut it for design-enthusiast Amelia. But she quickly realized that the blank slate would be the perfect place for her to experiment with different styles. As you’ll see, these experiments have left her with a home that’s far from ordinary. Bold, black paint jobs, unique artwork and even a touch of dalmatian-print wallpaper are just a few of the eye-popping elements she’s tried out in her home. “We want the space to reflect our eclectic style, while also being kid-friendly and relatively clutter-free. It’s also very important that it feels inviting – we love to casually entertain,” Peter and Amelia say. Human guests aren’t the only ones welcome in the condo. The family’s two black labradors were also top-of-mind when Amelia was designing the family’s home. “We didn’t want anything to feel too precious that they couldn’t enjoy it also. Keeping them off furniture just isn’t our reality. We all love to curl up together!”

With someone so in love with decorating at the helm of the design process, the majority of the abode will never truly be finished. The one exception is Connor’s room. His parents both agree that everything in his nursery came together so perfectly, that the space feels completely complete. When you take a peek inside, notice how his room’s custom moldings and wallpaper create a bright nest for him to grow into. It’s my favorite room in their home. Which one’s yours? —

Photography by 

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"A leather armchair that I gave my husband as a gift a few years back has now found the perfect spot in our nursery. I love that he used to watch football and drink beer in it, and now it’s where he reads to our son every night. The chair keeps evolving with us." The tiger rug is by artist .
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New mom Amelia and husband Peter brought their first child home to this condo a little over a year ago.
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Amelia says, "The only room I can confidently say is finished is our son's room. We worked really hard on it – installing custom moldings, wallpapering the ceiling, etc. and I couldn't love how it turned out any more!" The large dresser from both stores most of Connor's clothes and serves as a stylish changing table.
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"An old family photo of my Grandfather and his brother sits in Connor’s nursery, along with a couple of antique rabbits which are a nod to my Grandmother, whose name was Bunny," Amelia shares.
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Sweet and simple signs from Anthropologie wish Connor a good night's sleep every evening.
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An Amelia tip for new moms: Use laundry hampers to store all of baby's things. "[The hamper] makes for a quick clean-up and keeps us from being overtaken by toys," she explains. Plus, nowadays the shapes and styles you can find are worthy of being displayed, as opposed to shoved to the back of the closet.
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Amelia says, "One of my favorite spots in our home is this corner of our bedroom. The natural light is amazing and it looks out [over] our patio..."
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When Amelia found this bold, marble wallpaper, (which is unfortunately discontinued) she couldn’t resist! In order to help balance out the couple's bedroom, she purposefully chose simple bedding and all-white accessories.
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The young family's home is high atop Chicago's Downtown River North neighborhood. Being so high up gives the apartment breathtaking views form nearly every room – including this owner's suite.
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When the home office became Connor's nursery, Amelia moved her desk into the owner's suite. Its paint job is a nod to the family's previous home. The pair's old bedroom was painted this color.
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What I love most about our home is... "the people (and pets!) in it."
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Amelia is a huge fan of mi highly-contrasting colors with natural elements. The family living room is the perfect representation of her taste.
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"I’ve never been able to resist different vases, candles, coffee table books, knick-knacks, etc. so we had custom shelving built to give those things a place and [to] keep them from overtaking every other free surface."
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Amelia has come across many expensive versions of these fur stools in stores, but she decided to make a set herself.
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"When we moved in, one of the things that bothered me most was how 'cookie-cutter' our kitchen was. There are probably thousands of identical apartment kitchens in our neighborhood alone. In an effort to make it our own, we painted the cabinets high-gloss black, added gorgeous, brass, mid-century knobs, and a fun light fixture."
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The couple is currently in the process of swapping out the countertops and backsplash in order to lighten the room up a bit.
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Peter and Amelia have close friends in North Carolina – where these vintage salt and pepper shakers were picked up. They're the perfect reminder of friends.
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"Our previous living room was all white, so we thought it’d be a fun change of pace to do this living room in black. There’s a ton of natural light during the day, and at night it’s cozy and perfect to watch movies [in]," Amelia exclaims. The dramatic hue is
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Simple, antique French patio chairs add a pop of color to the dining area. The "Conzo" mentioned on the little marquee is in reference to the couple's son Connor, and the 1959 Slim Aaron's piece "Beauty & The Beast" was printed from the original negative. The two bought it right after their wedding.
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Amelia and Peter love how their walls' tone "feels crisp and classic." The IKEA dresser is oftentimes sanded and repainted when the homeowners want to spice things up.
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Ceramic pods by and a print of Chicago's shore grace the high-rise's black walls.
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The powder room is covered in dalmatian-print wallpaper – an eBay find. Amelia says eBay is the perfect resource for bathroom wallpaper because it doesn't take much to fill the space.
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"Every person that walks though our front door thinks these 'pods' serve a different purpose, and I love hearing what everyone guesses they are, but the truth is they’re solely art. [A friend and I] had fun sharing a bottle of wine and creating our own little installation with them late one night."
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This mirror from a flea market adds another lustrous touch to the home and carries the gold theme from the hallway over into the powder room.
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The two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath home's floor plan.

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