DECORATING MY SON’S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT

Hi there and thanks so much for visiting After Orange County today. I’ve just returned from a whirlwind 5 day visit to Chicago where I’ve been decorating my son’s Law School studio apartment. Starting today, he will be what’s called a “1st Year” at The University of Chicago Law School and will be spending most of his time over the course of the next 3 years inside this building.

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

From everything I’ve heard and read, law school is absolutely gruelling, and apparently particularly so here in these hallowed halls where President Obama was once a professor.

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Taylor took me on a tour of his new school. We were the only people in the building on the Sunday before classes resume, so it felt very somber and serious as we walked the quiet halls that in a few days would be bustling with anxious young adults working hard at shaping their futures. It was emotional for me, seeing my son in his new environment, knowing that he was both excited and scared about what lay ahead. And I, the proud mother, was both excited for him and a bit scared too, as I can only imagine how challenging these next few years will be for him. I found myself wiping away a few happy tears, hoping he didn’t notice.

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

There is the most unusual and surprising reflecting pool in front of the law school. Until I saw this young woman striding across the pond, I had no idea it was a very shallow pool of water, only about 1/4″ deep.

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

We had fun getting our feet wet in a place where rather than diving in, 6 hundred of our nation’s brightest young minds can literally “walk on water.”

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

After touring the Law School, Taylor gave me a quick tour of the lovely University of Chicago campus. It reminded me a lot of his undergraduate school, Duke, with its stone facades, vine covered buildings and gothic architecture.

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

It was a whirlwind visit to campus because there was little time for anything other than getting him settled into the small apartment that I wanted to be a comfortable oasis for him. Because when he wasn’t listening to lectures in law school, he’d be retreating to his cosy living space, spending countless hours studying at this desk.

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I first introduced you to his 300 square foot studio apartment here on my Sundays with Celia series. The white walls, ugly oak furniture and Chicago “Maroon” (their sports teams are known as The Maroons) upholstery was not at all pleasing. My mission was to change it as best I could, given that the apartment was furnished and had to stay that way.

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I started with the kitchen, shopping for pots & pans, utensils and dishes.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 12 | University of Chicago Graduate Student Housing | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Since the cupboard space was so limited we purchased a tiered shelving unit at Target and turned it into his pantry. A trip to Costco and the local grocery store got him stocked with food staples to get him started. We embellished the narrow wall with a framed collection of postcards Taylor had purchased at 8 of the national parks he visited the summer after graduating from Duke.

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The room contained a small table with 3 mundain chairs, covered in dirty maroon fabric. To remedy this eyesore I went to JoAnn’s Fabrics and purchased some herringbone upholstery fabric and a staple gun and transformed the chairs into something much more livable.

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I left the original upholstery in place so that when Taylor moves out he can return the chairs to their original ugly state with the removal of a few staples. In the meantime he will have 3 new-looking chairs that match the black and cream colored carpeting too.

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I found an inexpensive throw rug at CB2 which we hung on the wall to camouflage all the sterile white and draw your eye up the high-ceilinged room. It was much less expensive than having to purchase several pieces of large artwork for these walls. Plus it added texture and interest and looked masculine as well. We threw an IKEA table runner that Taylor happened to have over the ugly oak table to soften it a bit.

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The room came with a futon that doubled as both a couch and a bed.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 12 | University of Chicago Graduate Student Housing | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

We moved the desk to the opposite wall and turned the futon into a couch, covering it with a comforter he had used in his dormitory at Duke. We added a couple of Ralph Lauren throw pillows, also from his Duke dorm room and voila, a couch/bed was born.

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

By day he’ll have a couch to sit on and by night he’ll transform it into his bed.

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

On a trip to Crate & Barrel we found these covered wicker storage baskets. By adding a couple of black wooden trays on top and pushing two baskets together we had an attractive coffee table. The addition of 2 candlesticks from World Market completed the look.

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Taylor had these 2 small lamps from IKEA in his previous apartment. I found some attractive herringbone accent lamp shades at World Market and placed them on the window sills. A few plants from Home Depot and his Duke Diploma completed that corner of the small room.

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The brushed chrome lamp fit right in with the silver radiator and silver trimmed diploma.

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I picked up a large basket at West Elm in which to store his sleeping pillows by day.

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

There wasn’t a whole lot I could do with the vintage bathroom. A shower curtain from Target, an IKEA basket placed under the sink to house toilet tissue, an IKEA bath mat, liquid soap dispenser and covered white trashcan gave the bathroom a little interest.

DECORATING MY SON'S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT | University of Chicago | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

So there you have it: DECORATING MY SON’S LAW SCHOOL STUDIO APARTMENT

Thanks so much for dropping in! 

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All opinions expressed in this post are my own. All photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ www.AfterOrangeCounty.com and may not be reproduced without specific permission. This post contains affiliate links that help to make this blog possible.

Comments

  • The Enchanted Home

    Well first congrats to your son..you did a fabulous job on his apartment, amazing what good taste and an active imagination can create! What a lucky guy!

    So funny one of my closest friends son is there AND did his undergraduate at Duke..I must get these two to meet. He is in his third year, great kid and super bright. They should meet!

    Best of luck to your son (and you) as I know how hard it is to be a mom and watch them flock the nest even when they are off to doing great things…

  • Hi Tina, thanks very much for your kind words. I appreciate it very much coming from you! I simply can’t believe what a small world it is, that your good friend has a son that seems to be following the exact same life path as my son. I know Taylor would love to meet your friend’s son, as they will have lots to talk about. And I know Taylor would benefit from having advice from a 3rd year who knows the ropes. I’ll send you an email with Taylor’s contact info and perhaps we can make this happen! Thanks so much!

  • diane

    He will have the best decorated room in the building! My husband is a lawyer so you are correct when you say it will be grueling but bar review and bar exam are worse, just don’t tell him that right now..lol. Good luck to him and love the fabric on the chair seats…really made all the difference in the space!

  • Hi Diane, I hear ya. I can only imagine how difficult the bar exam is. I remember well his efforts in preparing for the LSAT! Glad you approve of the fabric and apartment decor:) It’s difficult when you have such lousy furniture to work with. At least the vintage apartment has good bones.

  • Rebecca Hively

    Oh my, this takes me back a number of years when my first son went to Akron Law School! Fortunately, he only had to be in an apartment one year near campus and then was able to get a part time job at the court where I currently work and commute back and forth. Ended up a magistrate at this court and I couldn’t be prouder! Needless to say, I understand what you are going through and commend you for all of your efforts! It’ a wonderful ride which is over before the next son takes wings (all three of mine have by now and married and given us 9 grandchildren!)

  • So appreciate hearing from another mom that’s been there. Isn’t it wonderful seeing boys turn into men who make us proud and enrich our lives so. What a wonderful thing to have such a large, successful and happy family. Thanks for sharing that with me Rebecca!

  • Thanks Joyce!

  • Hi Karen, love your analogy comparing a pigs ear to a purse. Too funny! Yes, UChicago is a beautiful campus and the surrounding area of Hyde Park is very nice too. People had warned me it was a bad area of town but I must have missed that part. The vintage archetecture all around the area was just my cup of tea. Charming and stately at the same time.

  • Lisa Sanford

    Lovely!!!! You did a great job as usual……! XOXO

  • Ah, thanks a million Lisa!! That means so much coming from you, a very talented Interior Designer who always inspires me so much!! XOXO

  • MaryKBachman

    What fun!! Great job,

  • Thank you Mary Kay!