When Natalie and Alan Papier began looking for a new home for their family, the diverse and welcoming Oak Park neighborhood just outside of Chicago, IL stole their hearts. The area boasts a wonderful mix of architecture, from numerous Frank Lloyd Wright houses to 19th-century Victorian homes. With an active arts community, easy access to the city and a charming downtown area, the couple couldn’t think of a better place to settle down. It was eventually a charming Victorian in the Pleasant historic district that would become home.
Natalie, a home stylist, and Alan, an investment analyst, met 12 years ago back when Alan was the singer in a band, and happened to be playing in their hometown one night. The couple’s love for music and arts has prevailed throughout their years together, and has filtered down to their kids Kellen and Maddie, as well as their home. Their old Victorian is truly an extension of all things creative, decorated with unique pieces that create a cozy and inviting vibe. “There are no decorating rules here. It just has to feel good,” Natalie explains.
Built in 1883, their three-floor house has all the quirks that you would expect of a 19th-century home. “It’s a drafty old house but full of charm and all the things we love,” Natalie shares. “Things are always falling apart and needing updating a little at a time. We envision a full kitchen reno and mudroom addition in the next couple of years,” she adds. The biggest project that Natalie and Alan have taken on so far has been the attic conversion, which they completed in the fall of last year. The raw and unfinished space was turned into a family room, complete with a kitchenette. The project turned out to be well worth it, as the attic is now an ideal entertaining space for the kids and the perfect spot for family movie nights.
The family’s home naturally reflects Natalie’s fun and unique style and her love for decorating. From the bold poppy print wallpaper in the entry, to the emerald colored velvet sofa in the lounge, it’s clear that Natalie isn’t afraid of big statements. The common thread throughout the home is her creative use of color, pattern and texture in a way that feels cohesive and most of all, happy. Since moving in five years ago, making the house a home has become an ongoing process that will probably never end — as time goes by, the family can evolve and change with the house, becoming part of its story, just as much as it becomes part of theirs. —Sofia
Photography by Marcela Rafea | Kitchen and dining table shots by Natalie Papier