Eva Daiberl, who you probably know as Miss Renaissance, grew up in Germany but lives in Chicago. She has a Master of Arts in Public Relations but opted to attend the French Pastry School. And she’s equal parts bona fide fashionista, enthusiastic DIYer, and baker extraordinaire whose pastel macarons could give Ladurée a run for their money. So it’s fair to say the multi-talented Eva wears many different–albeit equally fabulous–hats; and it’s no surprise a tour of her two-story Chicago townhouse reveals disparate styles effortlessly woven together revealing a story of her travels, tastes, and hobbies.
Modern staples juxtapose vintage classics while Western rustic accents meet feminine glam details in this light-filled, contemporary space. In the living room, a mid-century sofa sits atop a cowhide rug dotted with flecks of gold paint while upstairs, a polka dotted wall serves as the backsplash to a traditional wooden canopy bed. Eva blogs from our favorite West Elm parsons desk while her pup nestles at her feet. Since Eva is an avid traveller, both her home and closet boast spoils from her adventures Stateside and abroad. For example, the dramatic Longhorns above the mantel were a find during a cross-country road trip, and the DIY floor cushions in the living area were made from fabrics purchased while visiting Africa and Asia.
It’s been seven years of collecting, tweaking, painting, and rearranging–and naturally, Eva still doesn’t consider her home “finished”–but the home this pastry chef and blogger has designed perfectly reflects the fun, intelligent, interesting, and colorful homeowner who resides within.
Name: Eva Daiberl
Location: West Town, Chicago
Current title/company: Pastry Chef and Creator/Writer at MissRenaissance.com
Educational background: Masters of Arts in Public Relations from DePaul University and graduate of the French Pastry School
Tell us the process you went through to find your home! Do you rent or own?
I own my current home. I was tired of renting and moving every few years, so I took a few months with my realtor to look at many different neighborhoods and types of homes. It was really fun to narrow down my search and really figure out what I wanted and needed. When I saw my current home I just knew–it has the perfect combination of modern and Chicago traditional with lots of natural light, and I love my quiet neighborhood that’s still close to everything!
Do you live on your own now?
I live with my adorable sidekick Fritz – a 4-year-old Norwich Terrier. He loves our place, too!
How would you describe your decorating style? Where do you look for inspiration? Do you gain inspiration from any specific design books, blogs, or designers?
I’d say my style is a mix of modern and vintage with a quirk. I try not to fall prey to trends too much and follow my instincts when I shop. I’m not afraid to mix up different design styles from different decades, and color always makes me happy. I love browsing through Dwell magazine and Elle Décor, as well as DesignSponge.com. It’s so inspiring to be able to get a glimpse into other people’s homes that way.
What was the decorating process like? How long has it taken to get your home to look how it does now?
Ha! Believe it or not, I’ve lived here for almost 7 years now, and it’s still an ongoing work in progress. My life is so much about decorating, reinventing, and creating that I don’t think I’ll ever truly be “done with the place.” I love changing paint, moving furniture around, and switching out decorative touches to keep things fresh.
Favorite colors to decorate with?
I’m a huge color lover! Currently I’m drawn to neutral whites and metallic tones with pops of orange, teal, and pink thrown into the mix.
Has living with a pet changed the way you decorate?
Thankfully, Fritz doesn’t really shed and he tends to behave himself, so I haven’t had to make any adjustments for him. I did add a comfy dog bed in several rooms so he has his own little space to hang out in, but he usually prefers the couch or chair that I’m sitting in anyway (curious little rascal!)
What key items did you consider “must-haves” in terms of furniture and accessories when decorating your home? What is the most unique piece you found while decorating?
A comfortable bed is a must! A solid and large dining room table for dinner parties and gatherings with friends, and a great sofa are all must-haves in my book as well. I also believe in great and unique lighting. Beautiful lights are some of the best ways to accessorize and beautify your home.
I’d say the most unique piece I found for my home is the turquoise-encrusted longhorn skull I got in Santa Fe during a cross-country road trip. It’s an incredible piece of art and craftsmanship, and it makes a great statement on my fireplace.
Tell us about your favorite budget-friendly piece that you incorporated into your space! Where did you find it?
I’m a big DIY-er, so my favorite budget-friendly pieces are all made by yours truly. It runs the gamut from hand-sewn floor cushions from fabrics I got in Africa and Asia, to my antler jewelry holder, to my framed bowtie holder.
What is the biggest purchase that you splurged on when decorating your place? Why did you decide to splurge on that piece—why did you have to have it?
Aside from my Dunbar sofa, my vintage 60’s medical cabinet is my biggest splurge to date. I found it at Post 27 and knew I had to have it right away! The blue-teal color is perfect, and it’s the ideal piece to display my vintage china and glassware that I cherish so much!
When decorating your home, what area did you concentrate on first (bedroom, kitchen, etc.)? Why did you choose that area? What was your first big purchase for that space?
I moved into my home with a few nice pieces of furniture, but my living room area is much larger now than it was in my last place. It’s the room you walk into first, so I wanted to tackle it right away. I scoured the Internet for the perfect vintage sofa. It took me about 2 months to find, but my original 50’s mid-century Dunbar is my biggest purchase to date, and I absolutely love it!
What are your favorite/least favorite things about your home?
I can’t say that I truly dislike anything about my home, but being the fashion-obsessed lady that I am, I really could use a bit more closet space! My favorite thing is my private roof deck. It’s beautiful in the warmer months, and you can see Chicago’s skyline in all its glory!
What is your favorite room in your apartment and why?
I have a hard time choosing, but I’d say my bedroom. It’s very calming, and I love my huge, comfy canopy bed. It’s also the room where most of my owl collection lives. I’ve been loving and collecting owls from all over the world (I search for them every time I travel) for over 10 years now. Their quiet and mysterious nature really humbles me.
Let’s talk work! You have a masters in public relations and worked in the field before transitioning to become a pastry chef. What led to this big change?
After graduate school I realized that working in a traditional corporate environment just wasn’t for me. I’m a very creative person, and I thrive in ever-changing environments that challenge me to use my hands and express myself. That’s when I decided to take the leap and go to pastry school. I loved it and I haven’t looked back since!
Where did you acquire your love of baking? Has it always been a passion of yours?
Growing up in Germany, delicious baked goods have always been a big part of my life. I remember baking cookies for Christmas as a child and how excited I was! To say that I’m passionate about baking and sweets is an understatement–I live for my next sugar rush!
Tell us about your blog. What inspired you to start your blog Miss Renaissance?
Miss Renaissance is an extension of my life and creative thoughts. It’s a true labor of love, and I incorporate my passion for food, fashion, design, and travel on a daily basis. Even though the blog is only about a year-and-a-half old, I can’t really remember a time before having it. It’s opened so many doors for me and helped me to meet an amazing variety of creative people!
What advice would you give to your 23-year old self?
Be yourself, always, because everyone else is already taken! (adapted quote from Oscar Wilde)