Quick plug here for Chicago Spaces. It’s great, full-color house porn for people who love to be immersed in the style of a single, singular city: Chicago. It’s published by Chicago Home + Garden magazine, the same folks who publish Chicago and the Chicago Tribune, so they know Chicago.
The book is divided into two sections. In the front, readers are treated to photo tours of homes, from a swanky Gold Coast apartment to an enormous eclectic Victorian in Wilmette. Visualize “rich you” in a new space!
The second half is devoted to rooms, from foyer to kids’ rooms and everything in between. Excellent inspiration for renovations, large and small. I love the foyer on page 93.
Besides the obvious, things I look for in a book like Chicago Spaces:
- Ingenious art – I love, love, love to see how people build art into their daily lives. And especially love it when the art knocks me out.
- Color palettes – Would this neutral palette work in my home? That door that is drenched in sunshine?
- Replicate-able approaches – I could arrange my books by color! (I won’t, because it would make it impossible to find anything, but I could.)
- Decorating with pets – OK, I admit it. Stick a pug or a frenchie in the picture, and I automatically like the room.
Things that drive me nuts in this kind of book:
- Matchy-matchy – Really, three kinds of faux animal upholstery with a zebra skin rug? (It better be faux.)
- Hyper-luxe – That ottoman costs more than my car.
- Unlivable design – No lights to read by. The chairs are all five feet apart and there’s no place to put a coffee cup.
- Minimalism – All these people must have other rooms where they really live. Alternatively, they are the people with a wardrobe consisting of eight pairs of identical, always-pressed jeans, eight white silk t-shirts, and a kimono.
Chicago Spaces has a forward written by the always-charming Nate Berkus, which is sure to give the book a boost. I bought it, liked it, and am now recommending it. Please pretend, if you will, that I live in the Ukrainian Village home of Bob Coscarelli and Karen Valentine, and that I am good friends with Jeffrey Moss, so I can hang out on the leather couch in his Pilsen loft whenever I want. This is vastly preferable to the reality: a cramped American Foursquare littered with pugs, paper, and autumn leaves.