Chicago Home editor Jan Parr

In another life, I edited a magazine about online investing. My world was about investment sites, insurance sites, financial planning sites. I had a firm handle on my finances-my portfolio was pretty. Now I’m editing a magazine about interior design, and I want a pretty home. My days are spent in some of the most gorgeous residences in the city and suburbs. At local showrooms I see rich fabrics, exquisite tile, sculptural faucets and knobs. My inbox is full of photos of more of the same, all alluring.

Ah, the joys of being part of the design profession on a journalist’s salary. A lot of us are in the same boat-we have an active, deep appreciation for good design but can’t afford it all. Fortunately, smart options for the budget-conscious are available. We’re still grateful Sharon Stone showed up at the Oscars in a Gap T-shirt and a designer skirt. The high-low mix is in.

The trick is in the choosing: splurge on a countertop, save on the sink? Splurge on tile, save on a light fixture? Hire a professional to help us avoid costly mistakes or attempt to do it ourselves?

A large part of this issue is devoted to great design for less (starting on page 54). We tell you about the best outlets,  the most interesting sales, the easiest ways to upgrade a room without having to take out (another) home equity loan. We reveal professionals’ favorite money-saving tips, and we go inside a talented architect’s home to find out how she came in on budget when renovating it.

We routinely publish stories about smart design solutions-customizing Ikea cabinets, painting as a quick fix, thrifting, using inexpensive accessories to change the look of a room, applying principles of design to arrange and edit what you have to better effect. And we also feature stunning, professionally designed homes in which money was no object. These are spaces that inspire us (we can dream, can’t we?). We’re not partial. Good design is good design. Finally, some renovation news of our own: after a year of publishing quarterly, Chicago HOME will now appear every other month. Look for us on the newsstand six times a year, or subscribe (800-678-6693) and let us come to you. In any case, we hope you find our magazine both accessible and aspirational.

What do you think? Write to us at and tell us what you’ve enjoyed or what you’d like to see.

Jan Parr, Editor

Coming in May/June
Second Homes
Our Resources guide will feature:

  • Closet Design
  • Contractors
  • Windows & Doors
  • Window Treatments & Upholstery