Today’s home tour is a celebration of creativity and resourcefulness! Combining elements of Memphis-Milano style with ’80s Deco flair and eclectic touches, Meg Gustafson and Neal Miller have filled their Chicago abode with unique collectibles, innovative DIY projects and loads of personality.
Meg is the curator of ’80s Deco, one of my very favorite 1980s design Tumblrs. When she pointed me to a Chicago Reader article featuring her home, I was completely captivated by the space. And when she agreed to let me feature her house on Mirror80 and offered to send a slew of original photographs for the post, I was beyond excited. Yes, all of the fabulous photos in today’s post are by Meg Gustafson and Neal Miller. Get ready to be inspired…
The Living Room
The living room of Gustafson and Miller’s home instantly draws you in with a painted pattern inspired by David Hockney’s pool cucumbers wall. A photograph of Chicago’s Fischer Building is the perfect addition to the vibrant wall:
In the “80s Deco” corner of the living room, we see a variety of treasures, including a black and white candle from the Cubist Museum in Prague. The pink chair is a $15 thrift store find, and Gustafson painted the light wooden arms black for a dramatic Deco-style touch:
The 1950s pendant lamp below came with the house, and it adds a powerful sculptural element to the room:
The eye-catching red table is a spraypainted find from Rebuilding Exchange, and the black PoMo Spider Chair (by an unknown Italian designer) is equally alluring with its curved form. Note the other special details in this space, such as the painted air conditioning vent, the colorblocked painted planter, and the marbled pattern on the wall.
About that Chicago Memphis exhibit poster… Can you believe this rare item was purchased for a mere $7 from a yard sale down the street?! Judging by this listing of the piece, it’s a phenomenal find!
Just when you thought the patterned magic was over, we see yet another fabulous wall in the living room. It serves as the perfect backdrop for a Plains Indian ledger art print, shown below. Learn more about the artwork here.
The Dining Room
Gustafson and Miller’s dining room is a study in dark and light, with a bold dose of neon. A powerful contrast is created by the white walls and the room’s dark pieces, from the dining table to the ’80s Deco lamp. A geometric rug with a black border anchors the space.
Meg shares, “We bought the neon at a shop down the street. The table and chairs are from the suburbs via craigslist. I made the Sottsass totem out of two glass lamp shades (one spray painted red), a kleenex box, and a roll of tape.” The plastic bust is a $16.99 internet find!
Texture is alive and well in this room, both in the subtle patterning on the surface of the dining table, and on the gridded metal of the chairs:
The artwork above the plant in the photo below is by Clay Hickson of Tan & Loose Press. The sculptures are by Meg’s friend Irvin Carsten.
Dark and light hues combine in the Nagel print (a thrift store find), which hangs above a Mola from Panama:
Colorful details abound in the kitchen, where a blue pegboard holds cooking tools in shades of red, green and yellow. There’s an industrial quality to this space, as well as a playful feel:
The kitchen wall art is distinct in black and white, and Meg shares, “My grandma was a dress designer and artist and drew the face in 1979.” The wire hanger face is by Chicago artist Rich Salamander:
Take a closer look at the floor: the bold design is created from vinyl tape! Gustafson painted the pie safe to look like Ettore Sottsass’ Teodora chair. The red chairs are ’90s IKEA finds.
Can you spot the limited edition Campari bottles by Fortunato Depero?…
And in case you were wondering about the pendant light, Meg tells us that “Neal modified this lamp by spray painting one side of the glass rings green and using an over-sized light bulb.” An incredible transformation!
The top of the refrigerator holds a collection of plants and colorful vessels, while the fridge’s front displays a postcard of a postmodern Columbus, Indiana elementary school by architect John M. Johansen:
Neal gets the award for clever lighting design on a budget! He’s done it again by creating balsa wood zigzag forms and affixing them to the light below. Yes, this Memphis-style piece pays homage to Matteo Thun’s 1983 Santa Fe pendant light!
Let’s take a look at some vibrant kitchen details in the images that follow, including Studio Nova (Japan) Copacabana cups found at a thrift store…
The Bedroom, Bathroom and Beyond
Gustafson and Miller’s bedroom walls feature Sol LeWitt-inspired chalk drawings, as well as photos of apartments by architect Mies van der Rohe (at 860 N. Lake Shore Drive):
The ’80s lamp below was enhanced by a shade decorated with none other than a permanent marker!
The bathroom features pink tile, as well as a collection of artwork that includes Robert Mapplethorpe photos, as well as geometric shape art by Meg herself:
Ready to relax outdoors with a cup of tea? A zigzag pattern decorates the rattan patio chair in today’s last featured photo. Note the ’80s-fabulous shades of mauve, country blue, minty green and deep teal in the fabric:
Has the home of Meg Gustafson and Neal Miller inspired a DIY project idea? Let’s take our cue from this creative couple and consider the following strategies for getting a Memphis or Deco look on a budget:
- Paint a patterned wall using simple forms and Memphis-Milano colors
- Modify a pendant light to create a Memphis look and feel
- Paint a large planter two or three different hues (color blocking is key) and fill it with a palm
- Create a geometric design on your non-carpeted floor using vinyl tape
- Embellish a lamp shade with a permanent marker
And remember…thrift stores and garage sales are your friends! What other project ideas did today’s post inspire? Leave a comment below. A very special thank you to Meg and Neal for sharing their thoughtfully designed home with us. Follow Meg on Tumblr and Instagram for more ’80s design inspiration!
OMG! This is so awesome! The living room and dining room are my favourites, love everything about it. Thanks for posting this!
Thank you for your kind comment! I love the color combos in the living room, and I’m a huge fan of the dining table and chairs. So much design inspiration!!!
It seems like many people don’t appreciate the 80’s.
Thank you for your inspiring blog!
Moreover, I wanted to know where can I get neon lights like those online or how are they called.
I am from Israel, so my best option of getting this kind of stuff is online.
Thanks again, Katie.
Thank you for your kind words, Isaac! The residents of the home above got their neon lighting at a shop down the street. I’m definitely not an expert on shopping for neon online and have never done so myself…but after a bit of a search, I found these. I wish I could be more help!…
David Zakrzewski says
I wish I had become acquainted with you during my 5 year is Chicago. I love the inventiveness and detailing; signs of true fans ) Great Stuff!