A few days ago I met Joel Robare at his new home office in a highrise in River East. Joel, who grew up the youngest of 14 children in a small town near Rockford, has had a thriving design business in San Francisco and is expanding here. His company, JR Studio, has come up with a nifty “lite” design service plan for those who just want to dip their toes into the interior design world, or who, for budget reasons, are scaling back. He calls it “Elite Interior Styling” and it involves buying either a half or full-day consultation with Joel, plus you get his to-the-trade-only discount at participating showrooms—Frette Linens, Bang & Olufsen, Roche Bobois, Baker Furniture, Waterworks, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, and more. (The list changes; contact JR Studio for specifics.) The discounts will likely make the consultation fee pay for itself. Of course, Joel also offers comprehensive design services.
    Oh, and that home office? Stunning, as you can see.
(The dining room set he bought in Palm Springs, then proceeded to bleach several times before staining it to give it a wonderful dull, light look and really bring out the grain.) I also totally love the way he had the chairs upholstered.