Liz's Playful Chicago Retreat

Liz's Playful Chicago Retreat

Brittany Purlee
Feb 25, 2015
(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

Name: Liz Klafeta, Founder Bangtel
Location: Lakeview; Chicago, Illinois
Size: 1100 square feet
Years lived in: 1

When Liz moved to New York two years ago, she started renting out her revamped home in Humboldt Park on Airbnb. She couldn’t bring herself to sell since she had gut rehabbed every inch of the space. Instead, she chose to share the fruits of her blood, sweat, tears and expenditures with Chicago visitors. You can experience the magic for yourself on your next Chicago visit. Not only is it helpful in paying the mortgage, it gives her guests a lively space to temporarily call home.

(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

Due to demand, she decided to rent out her NYC pad as well. Since then, she has acquired two more places in Chicago, one in the Gold Coast and the one featured here in Lakeview.

Liz brings 13 years of wardrobe and prop styling experience home with her. She confidently applies broad brush strokes of pattern, color, object, and design. These gutsy choices would likely feel chaotic were it not for her master eye. Bold artwork (sourced by local artists and friends) elevates and finishes the space. This apartment cannot be accused of lacking interest and style. It is a direct reflection of her fearless DIY skills and vibrant personality. This synergy between work, play, and personality directly translates to every nook of this fun home.

All of this success inspired Liz to form her company called Bangtel. The goal was to build a portfolio of well-designed spaces available for short term rental, including the amenities and customer service of a 5-star hotel. Bangtel not only provides a fully stocked mini-bar complete with locally sourced food products or amazing jewelry from local designers, but also offers in-room massage or master brow keeping. If you are coming in for a wedding, she can book a makeup artist, floral designer, or seamstress. Hosting an event? She will provide you top caterers, full service plating, chairs, tables and even a DJ if need be.

Her latest endeavor is the first Airbnb "Hotel" in Chicago. She is designing and managing the space under her brand, Bangtel, in a partnership with New Era Chicago. There will be a section called "Things from your Room" where you can buy the artwork, furniture or textiles from Bangtel's specially curated collection of photographers and artists. The basement will be a communal area, complete with exercise equipment, a ping pong table, wet bar, and a cinema screening area. The back patio will host hip brunches and DJs in the summer. She wants to be the first to bring an ACE Hotel vibe to the city.

(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Minimal, modern and clean with unexpected touches that garner attention.

Inspiration: Traveling and having the opportunity to stay in different hotels in cities all over the world. When I travel somewhere, I like to stay in a certain hotel, only 2 nights max, and then change locations.

Favorite Element: My favorite design element is utilizing the "WOW" factor. For example, at one of my places I had a magenta stripe painted from the ceiling of the second floor down the stairs to the ground level. When you enter my tiny powder room, you turn on the light and find yourself face-to-face with a deer head. I like to create memorable, inspiring and fun experiences for guest staying in my Bangtels. I love randomly finding pictures posted of my spaces on social media. Chalkboard walls are always good interactive additions that allow guests to sing their praises.

Biggest Challenge: With each home (I currently have five), I start with a blank canvas. Basically, I have no furniture or palette to work around, aside from the space itself, so the design possibilities are endless. I guess the biggest challenge is narrowing down the theme or mood I want to roll with. In the beginning, the decision making is the most overwhelming. Generally, I am gut rehabbing the spaces or starting from the studs up. In those cases, I am even designing the space itself, which makes for more headache.

What Friends Say: Friends usually say "WOW"," WHAT THE??!", or "HOLY $%^!"

Proudest DIY: My proudest DIY elements in this space are the gold stump coffee and side tables. These tree cutters were going to town at my other property. As they were loading up their truck, I sweetly asked if I could have one of their glorious stumps. They agreed and custom cut the lengths I required patiently. They then loaded 7 of those bad boys into my car. God bless my friend Vyto, aka I am Dez Air, who loaded, unloaded, and spray painted them gold. Technically it wasn't all my DIY, but the idea started with me...does that count? The best part is I got the guy's contact number so the next time I need tables, I have him on speed dial.

Biggest Indulgence: My biggest indulgence is the Five and Dime Store on the San Antonio Riverwalk. I can't resist the taxidermy jackalopes, slingshots, Native American beading and faux kid raccoon hats.

Dream Sources:

1) My neon guy who can make me any inappropriate quote in any font or color I choose. It doesn't get any better than that.

2) FLOR carpet tiles I cannot live without (and I am not just saying that because I prop style their catalog or global ad campaigns). They really have awesome designers that can work you up any crazy pattern imaginable. The best part for me is, especially in my furnished rentals, that I can swap out any piece or tile that gets dirty for a clean, fresh one. The most it will cost is $24 for the rug to look like new again.

(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

Resources of Note:


  • BATHROOM: Black Chalkboard paint


  • FLOR carpet tiles
  • CB2 pendant light, IKEA bulb
  • CB2 Gold "arrow" hooks
  • CB2 Clear acrylic table
  • Salvation Army table $12 spray painted black
  • West Elm orange mirrored tray
  • Metropolis phone on eBay
  • Debbie Carlos "Ice Cream" print
  • Zap Props Canteen


  • Jayson Home and Garden Hide rug
  • Eames white chairs
  • IKEA black leather couch
  • DIY gold stumps
  • LADY sign purchased from the bar the SHADY LADY in Chicago
  • hanging "Octopus" light
  • West Elm tartan plaid pillow
  • HEBRU BRANTLEY painting
  • IKEA roll up shades


  • FLOR Housepet carpet tiles in Hummingbird
  • WEST ELM floor sample dining table
  • IKEA end chairs
  • WWII chest from great uncle spray painted black
  • black metal chairs
  • Stephanie Bassos HOTEL PALAMO print
  • JAYSON HOME AND GARDEN antler ornaments
  • CB2 pendant dome light
  • Aaron Goland commissioned art painting
  • HOME DEPOT door bell covered stained in Ebony
  • IKEA white plant pots


  • FLOR + DECOR Subway Tile
  • FLOR + DECOR Carrara marble mosaic grid
  • MOEN shower and tub fixtures
  • GLACIER BAY wall mount sink
  • TOTO toilet
  • FLOR carpet tiles in Rake Me Over
  • URBAN OUTFITTERS "Save Water Shower with a Friend" shower curtain


  • IKEA wall mirror
  • HOME DEPOT wall mount closet light
  • WORLD MARKET ceiling light fixture
  • IKEA toilet paper holder
  • CB2 full length mirror
  • IKEA mini trash can


  • I AM DEZ AIR "Sweet Dreams" stencil
  • WEST ELM Upholstered Bed
  • URBAN OUTFITTERS wall lamps
  • TARGET Room Essentials Duvet Cover is the softest!
  • T.J.MAXX Dream pillow
  • IKEA dresser
  • CB2 table
  • IKEA barstool
  • AUDREY KAWASAKI painting


  • IKEA cabinets
  • GE stove and dishwasher
  • CB2 hanging rope lights
  • IKEA pendant light
  • IKEA table
  • EAMES chairs
  • FLOR carpet tiles in Rake Me Over
  • FLOR + DECOR butcher block countertop stained with pickled white
  • IKEA sink and faucet
  • CB2 magnetic board
  • TARGET clock
  • IKEA white metal u-shaped shelves
  • HOME DEPOT floor sample fridge
  • Thrift store elephant
  • WEST ELM diamond cut glasses
  • DEREK ERDMAN painting


  • CB2 white file cabinets
  • IKEA floor length mirror
  • IKEA bed
  • EBAY metal elephant head
  • CB2 wall lights
  • URBAN OUTFITTERS elephant duvet cover
  • POTTERY BARN KIDS heart pillow shams
  • WEST ELM striped pillowcases
  • CRATE & BARREL laundry bag
  • TARGET iron board


  • FLOR carpet tiles in Rake Me Over
  • ALL MODERN pendant light fixture
  • IKEA outdoor chairs
(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

Thanks, Liz!

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