Listen to Your Heart

May 2022 View more

When shopping for home decor and accessories, Mark Allen, owner of Warehouse 55, lets his heart lead. “I don’t buy things specifically for a room,” Allen says. “I buy what I love, and it always works out—and if it doesn’t work out where I first try it, I can always put it in another spot.”

There’s plenty of room for home furnishings and decor in the six-bedroom, three-and-half-bath, 5,000-square-foot Georgian revival that Allen owns with his partner, Shaun Shouldeen, who works as a DJ. Their circa 1909 home, which sits on a corner lot in downtown Aurora, is a testament to Allen’s many diverse interests and collections: Staffordshire china, vintage coffee table books, alabaster grapes, glitzy chandeliers, and antique trophies, to name a few.

An eclectic mix of Hollywood glam, midcentury modern decor, and chinoiserie, the home is a safe place for Allen to take decorating risks. He effortlessly mixes modern and floral artwork, taxidermy, and fuchsia wall paint. And somehow it all works.

It also doesn’t hurt that if Allen fails to find a space at home for a special item, he can always resell it at Warehouse 55, which has locations in Aurora and Chicago. The retailer specializes in vintage items, repurposed furnishings, and home accessories—a perfect fit. 

The sweet exterior of this Aurora home belies the bold decor found inside.

Low-maintenance greenery (snake plants and pencil cactus are favorites) take root in vintage vessels.

Vintage taxidermy from flea markets adds a fun twist.

Raise your hand if you love pink: Allen chose Behr Paint’s Glamorous, a bold fuschia that pairs well with navy upholstery and the room’s many antiques.

Gathering around the living room fireplace on winter evenings is a favorite pastime for the couple.

Built-in bookcases in the library house Allen’s trophy collection, which numbers some 500 pieces. Modern pillows provide a foil to the Chesterfield sofa.

Allen outfitted the guest room with four-poster beds and a vintage chandelier. The antique portrait of a woman seated at a desk was a Christmas present from Shouldeen.

Photos courtesy of Mark Allen