Fifties-glam meets thrift-store finds in this humble Ravenswood abode.
At first glance, Jolene Turner’s place looks like the kind of apartment that would make Amy Sedaris swoon: She channels a 1950 vintage-glam vibe, with a healthy dose of kitsch thanks to pieces like leopard-print rugs on the living-room floor, and in the kitty hutch on one end of her desk (where she pens her design-centric blog, Abode, portfoliojolene.blogspot.com), matching porcelain lamps and a mini replica “head” vase.
But to define the 34-year-old trade magazine writer’s decorating style as any one genre would be not only inaccurate; it would entirely miss the point. The three-room studio in Ravenswood is an exercise in eccentric and eclectic piecemeal—a place to showcase her dozens upon dozens of tchotchkes. That said, not just any tchotchke will do. “It has to be something I picked up at a flea market or thrift store, nothing new,” Turner says. “I especially [prefer] pink, something that will make me happy.”
Every bit of wall space and tabletop crowds with quirky adornments, from the two dozen Pez dispensers on the kitchen counter (a small percentage of the huge collection she keeps in storage at her parents’ home in Minnesota) to the 45-cent piggy figurines on her cabinet to the thumb-size, plastic cats crawling across the top of the TV. Her assortment of finds comes from her favorite “secret thrift store” (the location of which she wouldn’t reveal), toss-offs from a friend’s well-to-do employer and gifts from friends and relatives.
Despite the hodgepodge of dust-collectors, the place appears remarkably put-together, not to mention perfectly girly. A pink folding table with plastic mint-green chairs resides in her kitchen, and she even keeps a “dressing room,” where she stashes her hatboxes, bulky, rhinestone-encrusted rings and plastic costume jewels along with a vanity. Books about Audrey Hepburn rest on the shelves.
“You should be surrounded by things you love,” Turner says. “I love to feel motivated [by my surroundings] to create something or to write.”
1 A smattering of postcards with pictures of yesteryear’s starlets and locally produced art prints in IKEA frames (which Turner customized with pink paint) hang above her bed.
2 A mishmash of hats—like a straw bonnet and an animal-printed pillbox—from her “Blossom days” hangs from an entryway table purchased for $10 at a garage sale.
3 Between the bowl of Pez candies, the confectionary-hued frames and candy canisters and the Strawberry Shortcake curtains, Turner’s kitchen feels like a little girl’s dream come true.
4 While most of Turner’s wall art includes vintage prints ripped from calendars, she adores two Margaret Keane paintings her father bought in San Francisco in the 1960s.