Amelia & Her Home
Thousands of fellow fashion, beauty and interior design aficionados religiously start their mornings with Amelia Canham Eaton's highly acclaimed and inspirational blog, The CHICago Life. But where did it all begin? In 2012, Amelia started The CHICago Life blog with her best friend Sam Voss while looking for a creative outlet to share her love of fashion, design and interiors. The rest—as they say—is history!
Nowadays, while browsing Amelia's lifestyle website, readers are treated to all kinds of precious finds, ranging from interior design features and shopping hauls to celebrity interviews and personal reflections. We think that Amelia's readers would agree with us when we say that we couldn't be happier that she decided to take up the "hobby" four years ago.
Just as we did with Amelia's site, we immediately fell head over heels for her home—and we have an inkling that you will, too. Below, Amelia opens the doors of her Chicago home and shares her inspirations and tips for transforming an apartment into a place where form, function and style all combine to create one cozy, homey, style-filled space.
Tell us a bit about your background, and the role writing has played in your life.
I’m originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, but decided in second grade that I wanted to live in Chicago someday. I finally moved here the day after I graduated from the University of Michigan. My career path has been all over the map, but the one constant has always been writing. I majored in English and political science in undergrad, worked at law firms and graduated from law school here in Chicago. There were times I didn’t know what my exact career path was, but I knew that I loved to write and that it would be a valuable asset in a number of fields.
These days, I’ve finally been able to follow my dream of fully transitioning from law to more creative fields (interior design and blogging), but it never would have been possible without the years I spent honing my writing. I think people are quick to underestimate the value of polished writing, especially in a field such as interior design. But on any given day, I’m writing proposals, business plans, correspondences, purchase orders, etc., and I truly believe it’s my background in writing that has set me apart and allowed me to be successful. In the age of Tweets and emails, writing is becoming a bit of a lost art, and therefore proving to be more valuable than ever.
How did the original idea for your blog come about?
I originally started the blog with one of my best friends, Sam Voss. We were in law school at the time and desperately seeking a creative outlet. We had no idea it could be a business or that it would generate a following. We just thought our moms might look at it once in awhile, and hoped it would give us something to G-Chat about during class.
My aesthetic is all about balance. I love to mix old and new, high and low, ornate details with clean lines. All of those things can be found both in my closet and in our home.
What is currently inspiring your style?
Currently my style is most influenced by gorgeous neutral color palettes and classic silhouettes. I’m experimenting with colors and patterns a lot less than I used to, and gravitating toward timeless pieces that are easy, yet sophisticated. Though, when I need a little more flavor, the 1970s always seem to be my inspiration du jour!
What is your beauty mantra?
Put your time and resources toward having good skin and great eyebrows—everything else is just icing on the cake.
Is there one product you cannot live without?
My Clarisonic face brush. Some of the best money I’ve ever spent!
You have to figure out what’s standing between you and that unwavering confidence and annihilate it.
What are the greatest lessons you have learned from being a business owner and blogger?
This may sound cliché, but you can’t expect others to believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself. There’s a fair amount of confidence and self-promotion needed to start a business and/or a blog, which has always been a struggle for me. But one day I realized this: How can I expect someone to believe I’m the best one for the job if I don’t believe it myself? You have to figure out what’s standing between you and that unwavering confidence and annihilate it.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to start a blog?
The only reason to start a blog these days is because you think you’d enjoy it. There are hundreds of easier and faster ways to make money. Focus on having fun and maybe the money will come, not the other way around!
What is the one thing you wish was in your closet?
The perfect vintage leather moto jacket.
We adore your dogs! Did you make any design decisions to make your home more dog-friendly?
Oh, yes! We have two rescued black labs, George and Lydia, and we made a lot of design decisions based on them. Keeping them off the furniture is not a reality—they love to snuggle up with us and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We make sure that nothing is too precious that we have to worry about it around them. I don’t want to constantly be stressed about keeping them off of the furniture. I want everybody to be relaxed and comfortable—including them!
Where is the best place to brunch in your city?
That’s tough—Chicago loves to brunch! For a great, no-frills brunch we head to a little hole-in-the-wall place called Windy City Café. If we’re feeling fancy or celebrating something we always seem to end up at Fred’s at Barney’s.
What made you realize this house was the one?
The location and the outdoor space! We wanted to move to our neighborhood for convenience. I love being able to walk everywhere. Then we knew this apartment was the one when we saw the outdoor space. Our patio is almost larger than the apartment itself—a rare find in downtown Chicago.
Do you have a favorite room in your house?
My favorite spot is definitely our son’s room. My husband and I spent a lot of time designing it, and putting it together. It has classic details, but a lot of whimsy. Every square inch was well thought out and created with love!
How is your décor style influenced by your love of fashion?
It’s hard to tell where one ends and one begins. I think I have an overall aesthetic rather than a separate décor style and a fashion style. My aesthetic is all about balance. I love to mix old and new, high and low, ornate details with clean lines. All of those things can be found both in my closet and in our home.
In the age of Tweets and emails, writing is becoming a bit of a lost art, and therefore proving to be more valuable than ever.
Do you have any future plans for your house? A room you’re still working on, or a design project you have yet to tackle?
Always! I’m getting ready to redo our kitchen floor with some gorgeous patterned cement tile, and our eventual plan is to change the floor plan and add another bedroom.
Was there a room that you found particularly challenging to design? How did you work through the challenge?
Probably our kitchen. We knew we wanted black cabinets, but we don’t have a ton of natural light in our kitchen, so the challenge was keeping things bright. I think our white quartz countertops and subway tile backsplash did the trick! I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.