A bathroom with a glass wall, handgun art, and more surprises from boutique rental company Bangtel | Space | Chicago Reader

A bathroom with a glass wall, handgun art, and more surprises from boutique rental company Bangtel 

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click to enlarge Liz Klafeta - ANDREA BAUER
  • Liz Klafeta
  • Andrea Bauer

In 2007, she rehabbed her town house from top to bottom, tearing down walls to open up the space, replacing a dated Formica countertop with a giant slab of concrete, and revamping the roof with commissioned graffiti to create an outdoor lounge. In big block lettering, the phrase “Oh man . . . Oh geeze . . . " stretches across a hallway wall; print on a bedspread says we should probably cuddle now; a neon sign reading "thug" glows in the living room. A giant street-art-style drawing of a handgun graces the wall of a guest room. In the master bedroom, a "floating bed" appears to hang from the ceiling by thick rope. (A support beneath it aids the illusion.) When Klafeta moved to New York City in 2013, she decided to rent out the pad on Airbnb. "I got such a positive response from so many people I thought, Let’s just keep rolling with this."

click to enlarge Living room - ANDREA BAUER
  • Living room
  • Andrea Bauer

Having spent 13 years as a wardrobe and prop stylist, Klafeta says the transition into home design felt natural: "It’s all related—trying to make things look good, fitting things together." Experience creating custom looks on a small budget has served her well. By using rejected pieces of reclaimed wood, for instance, she was able to floor her second level for $600. The bathroom wallpaper is actually gift wrap coated with vinyl plastic. She often re-creates her own DIY versions of fixtures and other household items she sees in stores. "I see things and think, 'I could do that better—or different, or a little more funky.' It's just doing a little more research, a little more legwork," she says. "Most of the time it ends up being less expensive, and more meaningful because you put it together."

click to enlarge The rooftop - ANDREA BAUER
  • The rooftop
  • Andrea Bauer

Klafeta also works with artists and businesses, outfitting her rentals with products and artwork that are all for sale. CB2, Flor, and several local artists are collaborating with Klafeta on her next project, a Lincoln Park bed-and-breakfast happening in partnership with the developer New Era Chicago. "We get excited when we think something’s cool and we can showcase it," she says. "It's all about sharing and community." 

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