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The cosiest apartment in Chicago

Carly Martin, the founder of Clementine Studio, lives with her husband Scott and their dog Norman in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago. “I’m always drawn to old houses,” she says. “I appreciate the craftsmanship – the woodwork, the doorknobs, the coats. It was fun finding the quirks. Of course it’s always dusty no matter what! “Here she gives us a tour of …

Carly Martin Clementine Studio Home Tour

Daybed: West Elm, similar. Carpet: vintage, similar.

On a friendly city: We moved here from New York four years ago. Bucktown is such a neighborhood – so many families and dogs. I like the Midwestern approach. People wave and smile as they walk the streets. I felt softer around the edges.

About working with space: The apartment itself has so much character that we let the apartment guide us in how we decorated it. For example, the fireplace begged for a bookcase. So my husband and father-in-law made them out of Home Depot. We also wanted a lower couch because we didn’t want to block the front window. My husband searched Craigslist and found a West Elm daybed.

In a favorite place: Norman is the neighborhood mascot. In the colder months he sits on the day bed and looks out the window. In summer he will sit on the front stairs and is very regal. I’ll be inside and eavesdrop on passers-by saying, “Hey, Norman!”

Carly Martin Clementine Studio Home Tour

Survive over the winter: In winter we spend a lot of time in the fireplace room. My husband and I both get seasonal depression so natural light is great. WALKING too. It took me a while to get really bundled up, but after a couple of years I was done pretending like shitty gloves were going to keep me warm! I invested in an ankle-length coat and under layers like Uniqlo Heattech.

Carly Martin Clementine Studio Home Tour

About the power of boredom: I was listening to a TED talk about boredom and noticed how creative your brain gets when you get a little bored. It’s so hard to get bored with the internet, your phone, TV, etc. these days. That’s why I have a couple of board games and papers in the living room. Whenever I feel like reading an Instagram scroll, I’ll grab my sketchbook instead and see what happens.

Carly Martin Clementine Studio Home Tour

On a showy tiger: I painted this tiger in watercolor and then sent the file to one of the last remaining American weaving mills in North Carolina. They are woven by a digital loom. it’s so cool. We hung the ceiling on our front wall so you can see it from the street.

Carly Martin Clementine Studio Home Tour

Sofa: Article. Blanket on the sofa: Clementine Studio. Pillow: territory.

When watching shows: I look at everything that is talked about. I just finished Bridgerton. I have a group text chain with my five college friends and speak to my sister a million times a day. So I want to keep track of things! Especially during quarantine, it’s so nice to have something to talk about with your friends.

Carly Martin Clementine Studio Home Tour

Dining table and benches: Nadeau. Carpet: Safavieh, similar.

On natural centerpieces: Whenever Trader Joe’s has these big flowering branches I get them – they add such an architectural element.

Carly Martin Clementine Studio Home Tour

Sweet at a meeting: My husband and I met in college. At first we were close friends. I’m definitely an introvert, but that term wasn’t on my radar back then. My roommates were kind of wild and we went out all the time, but I remember one night when we were in the apartment Scott lived in and everyone was going out and he chose to stay home and that Time Reading magazines and watching a hockey game. And I thought, wait, can you do that? Can you choose to stay in? And that was the moment when something changed. I thought he was my speed.

Carly Martin Clementine Studio Home Tour

Ramen bowls: Monsoon Pottery. Espresso cup: Monsoon Pottery. Green glass mug: il Buco Family.

Carly Martin Clementine Studio Home Tour

Bed: breakwater bay. Duvet: parachute. Leaves: Casaluna. Lumbar pillow: magnolia. Carpet: nuLOOM.

In an interesting form: The walls are a little sloping, but we don’t need a large bedroom. I had to find those tiny bedside tables and lamps to fit into the corner rooms.

On favorite bed linen: That winter, when it was so cold, I longed for the flannel sheets of my childhood. So I found a few on Target; It’s the same sheets I had when I was 10 and they’re so cozy.

Carly Martin Clementine Studio Home Tour

About bedtime routines: Norman goes to bed first. He sets off around 8:30 p.m. Then we follow. My husband makes fun of me because my book literally crashes into my face and I know it’s time to go to sleep. I read a lot during COVID, but I had to switch to light-hearted books. I devoured the memoirs of the food critic Ruth Reichl. I feel like I’m living in them as I read them.

Carly Martin Clementine Studio Home Tour

Bath mat: Cost Plus World Market. Amber glass soap dispenser: Cornucopia Brand.

On eucalyptus: When I lived in New York, I was right at the Union Square farmers’ market. There was a eucalyptus seller and he would have huge irresistible bundles all the time. They freshen up the bathroom and smell so good.

On a better bath mat: We have had so many terry toweling bath mats in the past few years and they always looked so gross. This teak solves this problem!

Carly Martin Clementine Studio Home Tour

On a career shift: As an illustrator, I have been designing wedding stationery since 2014. When the pandemic broke out last spring, couples panicked and had to postpone their weddings. I worked with a few clients to create a digital template to save the new date. It unlocked something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time – and that gave me the opportunity to sell my signature watercolor designs at a cheaper price. I made more digital templates and called them Clementine to Go. I am so grateful for the time I had to devote to this this year.

Carly Martin Clementine Studio Home Tour

When choosing a company name: I didn’t want to put my name in my company. As an introvert, I found it too personal and knew it would be easier for me to be a person behind a company to sell and market it rather than sell my own name. It took a while but I returned to Clementine because I eat pounds of it in the winter!

Carly Martin Clementine Studio Home Tour

Thank you, Carly!

PS More house tours, including a “little gay house” in Oregon and 12 cozy corners for readers.

(Photo by Carly Martin.)


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