Living and dining area designed by Brynn Olson
Photo: Cynthia Lynn

Perhaps “picker” is too trite a word to describe Brynn Olson, but the meticulously dressed interior designer has no problem getting her hands dirty during antiquing trips that take her all over the Midwest and beyond (she’s just back from a weekend in rural Indiana, where she snagged a rare vintage military desk). Her most recent project involved a young professional couple’s single-family home in Wicker Park, and Olson envisioned a layered, glamorous look for the open living and dining area—she just had to find a few unique pieces. On a sourcing trip at North Center’s Lincoln Antique Mall, Olson spotted a dust-covered wood screen, painted with a rather gaudy Oriental garden scene, in a corner of the shop. Closer investigation revealed stunning art deco–esque cut-glass panels on the back, so she hired a local restoration professional to take it apart, fill in the hinge holes, and cover the sides in gold leaf. Now the screen serves as wall art in said clients’ dining space. But the real showstopper hangs above the dining table: a crystal and brass chandelier, which the wife spotted weeks later at the same shop. “It was one of those meant-to-be moments,” says Olson. “We had been looking for quite a while.” The resulting mix of decor consists of vintage pieces with stories to tell, alongside new furnishings with many stories yet to learn.

1. “The ​crystal and brass vintage​chandelier​ ​is the wow factor that makes this space feel inspired.”

2. “​A gorgeous fresh gray color acts as the perfect canvas so textures can take center stage.”

3. “An étagère is a piece of sculpture that also displays personal objects and souvenirs.”

4. “The vintage-inspired smoked-glass coffee table anchors the room and adds to the collected feel.”