Open House: Sean and Eric’s Edgewater Elegance

I first met Sean Cowan and Eric Silverstrim last summer when I happened upon their garage sale ad on Craig’s List. Attracted by the delicious Decoratus Absurdum image, I ran a short piece. After the (very successful) sale, the couple sent a terrific thank you email, we discovered we had a friend in common, the lovely Beth who regular readers may remember as an early Open House subject, and the rest is history.

Sean and Eric moved from Manhattan to the Midwest last year when Sean decided to start his own Interior Design firm and hoped that Chicago might offer a more hospitable environment to start a new business.

Indeed, shortly after relocating to a gorgeous Edgewater apartment on Chicago’s north side, the young designer’s phone started ringing off the hook, which was great news except the area code on the caller ID was 212 rather than 312. As the road warrior said during one of our conversations, “I wish I had time to miss New York.”

Continued . . .


Although resembling wall paper, the hallways stripes were painstakingly painted using tape as a guide.


A vintage chalk board makes an unusual but beautiful piece of art.

Despite Sean’s frequent travel, he and Eric have found much to like about Chicago. “We have luxuries now we never thought we’d have,” said Eric, a furniture sales person, including a large back yard with views of Lake Michigan, a BBQ grill and perhaps best of all, a one bedroom apartment which is gigantic by New York standards.

The couple balance each other perfectly; Eric knows furniture and seems almost ruthless when hunting down the perfect piece, while Sean is able to adjust the filter in his brain to create vastly different spaces depending on the client’s budget and design aesthetic. The result of their collaboration is an incredibly sophisticated apartment which includes high cost items with flea market finds; a sleek new tight-back sofa blends seamlessly with a vintage solid Rosewood buffet Eric found on Craig’s List. They’ve also gone a step further than most by actually making several pieces including an upholstered headboard, living room drapes and a pair of dining room lamps made from inexpensive glass vases.

In addition to their many talents, Sean and Eric are funny, energetic and charismatic; Chicago is lucky to have them. (And why aren’t they on Top Design?)

To inquire about Sean’s Interior Design services (get in line), you can visit his website or e-mail him at sean@seanmichaeldesign.com. To see past Open House tours, click here. Know somebody with a great space? E-mail me at strangeclosets@yahoo.com.


The black shelves cover what were once unusually positioned sconces. The couple painted MDF and attached a shelf. Very nice.


Eric, you need to get more sun.


I love taxidermy, but if I’ve heard i once I’ve heard it a thousand times. “Don’t worry it’s vintage.” Far be it from me to sit in judgement with my leather pants and fur


I love love love this collection of hallway art, which combines religious and scientific illustrations. “I see a bright heavenly light at the end of the tunnel . . . oh, it’s the kitchen.”


I love metal furniture, but it can feel a bit harsh. This piece has a beautiful wood top that adds interest and warmth.

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15 Responses to “Open House: Sean and Eric’s Edgewater Elegance”

  1. Good gravy! This place is just gorgeous! Love it, love it, love it!

  2. I love every single thing about this place. What a couple of very talented people!

  3. Hubba Hubba! I love everything about this tour!

  4. you should have seen what they did with a tiny brooklyn walk-up. amazing! i love these boys!

  5. Georgo. I died.

  6. OMG – stunning!!!! I want these guys in my house to help me, soon!

  7. Those are great black walls!

  8. possibly the best so far on your blog!!!!!

  9. 1 bedroom.

    but where will i sleep?

  10. Really, really beautiful. I love the scientific stuff scattered all over, and the lighting is wonderful.

  11. Wow Sean your dad told me about this site tonite when he was buying some wine for him and your mom for dinner. Now I can see the influence you had on their house in SPringfield. Keep up the good work.

  12. Uh.

    Mah.

    Gah.

    applause.

  13. Jean Aden-Olson 18. Jan, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    Hi Sean,
    Your dad told me about seanmichaeldesign web page. It is beautiful. You do superb work and I’m glad you are doing well in Chicago. Bill and I know a lot of people in Chicago and will definitely let them know you are there. Have fun, Jean(I keep your dad looking good – any suggestions from you on his hair? -Just teasing!!)