You might remember a few months back when we did a fashion feature on GILT City’s Nicole Banks.  Well now with summer winding down, Nicole is getting ready for some changes!  In the next few months she’s marrying the love of her life, and moving to San Francisco for a promotion with GILT City.  However, we couldn’t let Nicole leave town without giving everyone a tour of the beautiful Old Town condo that she and her husband have called home for the past year…

How long have you been in your apartment, and what drew you to Old Town?

We moved into our current apartment August 2013. We were previously in River North and our windows opened about 8″ and all we ever heard was traffic and sirens. We had gorgeous views of the entire city – but had to get out of the chaos of RN. We scoured the city for another great place, which was anything but easy. Once I laid eyes on the Menomonee Unit – I knew we had to have it. Not only do we live on the cutest street – but as you can see, our unit is to die for. I also love Old Town for the convenience factor. We’re a $10 taxi from just about anywhere in the city but have never been woken up by sirens or traffic in the year that we’ve been there!



What have you loved most about living in Chicago?

Chicago is home to easily the nicest people in any major city in the US. We have AWFUL winters – but the summers almost make up for it. There’s a vibe about Chicago that’s not quite LA – and definitely not NY. We just have our own character and unique way of living here in the Windy City. I’ve been back in Chicago for roughly eight years and it’s been fascinating to watch the dining scene explode here. But my absolute favorite part about being in Chicago is the proximity to Lake Michigan. It sounds cheesy but I’ll never get sick of the way that water glistens on a perfect summer day!



After moving in, what was the first step in the decorating process?

I’m actually kind of a freak. Once we sign a lease, I start shopping immediately for the pieces we know we need. I don’t like living in limbo, so I need things to be 95% from the day we move in. I take measurements and photos before we move in to be sure I’m ordering the right items from the get-go. I also sketch a mock-up of the space to be sure everything is going to fit just the way I imagined it to. It’s highly neurotic, but it also means I get to wake up to a gorgeous apartment the very first morning.



How long did it take you to decorate your apartment? We love the neutral color palette!

Umm, literally about 24-hours. No joke. We had most of the items from our previous place in River North. There were a few odds and ends we needed to complete our new place – most of which were ordered in advanced and delivered before we even moved. I’m a unpack-in-one-day kinda gal. This means pictures hung, TV’s installed, coffee table books on display, and only 1-2 boxes left to be unpacked. I want to start enjoying the new digs immediately and hate living out of boxes. I admire those that can stomach unpacking for months – but that just ain’t this girl. Never has been and never will be.



What was your biggest home décor influence?

Literally just my insane love for white and gold.


What’s your favorite spot in your home?

I am obsessed with our little nook/hallway in front of the patio. It’s such a happy place for me. The french doors, the gallery wall, and the console table that serves absolutely no purpose just make me smile.



What pieces do you think it’s important to invest in? What about to save on?

I’ll never forget when Drew purchased our Eames chair and DWR sofa. The chair was something he’d wanted forever and it’s a piece that will stay with us forever. I love that it will be a part of our story and think it’s important to invest in pieces you know you’ll keep for a lifetime. I purchase a ton of decorative objects (vases, frames, odds n’ ends, and coffee table books) from Gilt. Trend items tend to come from CB2 or West Elm since I know my style will probably change as quickly as the seasons do. Since our wedding is in Michigan next month, I also try to go antique’ing and pick up something fun and different during every trip.



How does your home decor style differ from your personal style?  How is it the same?

I’d say it’s more similar than different. I tend to shop without a list or exact idea in mind. I then purchase more on what I fall in love with, without knowing what identity my style (personal and home) has. My taste is constantly changing and if I had it my way, I’d rearrange the furniture every few months due to pure boredom alone. However if you took a peak in my closet you’d find a ton of gold and a ton of white – similar to our home. So I guess they have a bit more in common than I’d like to think.



Does working for GILT have any influence on your home decor style?

Absolutely! Not only do I find a ton of inspiration (and do quite a bit of lusting online), but there’s nothing better than a great Gilt score! One of my favorite Gilt splurges are the coffee table books. While they are necessary to complete any space – those babies add up quickly so it’s great to save a few dollars when you can.



What was it like merging your style with your fiance’s taste?  Does he get a say in the decor?

I actually really enjoyed merging our different styles. I wanted to keep things true to both of our tastes while also creating something new. He definitely gets a say in things (not that I always listen) but he’s currently inflicted a bit of a gold moratorium on our home. The current agreement means that if I bring home a new gold find – that I have to say adieu to an old item. Little easier than it sounds, but it’s only fair as he’s had quite a high tolerance for my obsession with white and gold. I do sneak some things in from time to time (shhhh!).



Do you have a favorite DIY project you’ve completed in your home? What’s your attitude towards DIY?

I LOVE DIY! Actually the “BAR” sign I made for our upcoming nuptials is one of my favorites. It’s pretty basic but we snagged some large paper mache letters and went on a hunt for all new 2014 pennies (the year we’re getting married). Drew’s mom loves coins and travel. She actually started her travel fund many years ago collecting spare change from friends and family. It’s one of the ways we’ve continued to travel internationally every Christmas. I’m excited to hang the sign after the wedding. For now it’s packed away with the rest of my DIY wedding decor but come September it will be a staple in our home.



You’re getting ready to move to SF- do you think your next home will be similar in style?  What’s the inspiration for your next place?

In case you’ve been living under a rock the last couple of years, word on the street is that San Francisco rent is currently higher than NY. Our hope is to find something similar in style – but realistically speaking we’re bound by a bit more than just aesthetics. We’re definitely going to sacrifice a bit in the transition – but wishful thinking has me believing that we’ll still be able to find a great 2BR/2BATH. I’ll keep you posted!

[Photos By Hallie Duesenberg]

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3 Responses to At Home with Nicole Banks

  1. What a beautiful home! I remember eyeing Nicole’s amazing white kitchen in your previous feature. Thanks for sharing! Best wishes to her in SF.

    xo, Laura
    bright and beautiful

  2. Allie says:

    I want to live there!

  3. […] the stylish lives of other Chicagoans [still drooling over the homes of Jay Michael, Lindsay Segal, Nicole Banks, and Eva […]

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