This compact coach house is big on style and inspiring ideas after a recent redesign

Cozy spaces can be the best spaces – designer Lj Savarie's Chicago coach house redesign is the stylish living proof

living room with white walls and blue sofa red cushion and wooden coffee table red side table and monchrome patterned upholstered stools
(Image credit: Heather Talbert)

Just because space is limited doesn't mean you have to hold back on style, as this bijou coach house home amply demonstrates. Its recent interior redesign has refreshed the look of the 100-year-old property, bringing it up to date and maximizing its style and footprint. The result is a homely, welcoming space, full of style inspiration.

The property is the original coach house adjacent to the main house, both built in 1923 in Evanston, IL., a suburb just north of Chicago. The main house and coach house were both renovated in 2016 by Konstant Architecture, with the smaller dwelling intended for out of town guests. In 2019 the owners wanted some interior design input for the coach house, hoping to create a a multi-functional space that embraced color and casual living. They wanted a space that was beautiful and approachable for their kids and guests. 

Living room ideas are apparent from the second you walk through the door, and include several solutions for smaller spaces. The blue sofa is neat and compact, the coffee table has a sleek profile to allow maximum circulation space, and occasional chairs can be added to the scene when there are extra guests or moved out when not needed. 

Living room redesign

living room with white walls wooden coffee table and patterned upholstered stools and chandelier lighting with view to mudroom and coat pegs

(Image credit: Heather Talbert)

The owners called on the design expertise of Winnetka-based Lj Savarie at Savarie Interiors who was delighted to take on the project. 

In the living room, Lj maximized the seating and added a mix of materials. 'We wanted to give the room a fun, layered look. Upholstered swivel chairs, rattan coffee table, blue and white leopard stools, jute rope/wood frame chairs and red lacquered drink tables added the unexpected to the room,' says Lj.  

Living room lighting and accessories

living room with white walls and blue sofa with red cushion and blue patterned armchair wooden coffee table and chandelier above with black bamboo armchairs

(Image credit: Heather Talbert)

The lighting was also an important element.  The two tiered black iron hanging fixture and whitewash bamboo lamps help to outline the space. 'One of my favorite pieces is the whimsical photography above the sofa.  Our clients love to ski, I knew it would be the perfect addition,' adds Lj. 

Sofa from Century; drink tables, Oomphjute rope/wood chairs, Palecek; lighting, Visual Comfort

Kitchen rethink

kitchen white units white walls blue pattened stools

(Image credit: Heather Talbert)

Kitchen ideas for this smaller scale home still make a big style statement, and Lj came up with some good ways to make the most of the available space. Keeping to a mainly white palette increases the sense of light and space. Wall cabinets are shallower than standard, so don't dominate the room. And the countertop wraps onto the wall to form a continuous, but smallscale, backsplash. 

'The blue and white stools add a fun pop of color against the white shiplap and soapstone countertops,' says Lj. 'While the red toile fabric on the roman shade was a great way to add another layer to the kitchen and tie in the other rooms.'

kitchen window with coral patterned roman blind sink and white walls

(Image credit: Heather Talbert)

Dining space

round dining table and wicker chairs in room white walls and french windows

(Image credit: Heather Talbert)

In the opposite corner of the kitchen is this tranquil dining space, the perfect breakfast nook for overnight guests. For anyone looking for dining room ideas for a smaller space, using a round table is a great starting point as it will naturally fit into a corner without making the room look cluttered or cramped. 

Bedroom inspiration

bedroom with bamboo blind white bedside table bedhead and red gingham cover and red cushion in room with white walls

(Image credit: Heather Talbert)

There are bedroom ideas aplenty in this coach house guest room, where the bright, upbeat colorscheme creates the warmest of welcomes. 

'Our clients love red, white and blue, and they are such fun colors to work with,' says Lj.  'The custom headboard and bed skirt in blue ticking was the perfect pairing with the red gingham duvet, while the blue ceramic lamp and whitewash nightstands completed the look.'

We asked Lj how she feels about the new-look coach house – 'I love the relaxed feeling of the space. It’s elevated but not fussy,' she says. 'The finished space has a traditional vibe with a twist of modern and I'm thrilled with the final look. On many occasions I’ve offered to move in!  It’s a perfect example that cozy spaces can be the best spaces.'

Photographs Heather Talbert | Styling Kimberly Swedelius

Karen Darlow

Karen is the houses editor for and homes editor for the brand’s sister titles, Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors, and an experienced writer on interiors and gardens. She loves visiting historic houses for Period Living and writing about rural properties for Country Homes & Interiors, and working with photographers to capture all shapes and sizes of properties. Karen began her career as a sub editor at Hi-Fi News and Record Review magazine. Her move to women’s magazines came soon after, in the shape of Living magazine, which covered cookery, fashion, beauty, homes and gardening. From Living Karen moved to Ideal Home magazine, where as deputy chief sub, then chief sub, she started to really take an interest in properties, architecture, interior design and gardening.