chicago home editor Jan ParrSome might say I’ve gone too far. To them I say, is it wrong to love a well-designed tissue box?

You can’t edit a design magazine and not get a bit obsessive. Yes, it was a gut rehab of the kitchen last year and a modest but thrilling redo of the living room last month (Shaker Beige by Benjamin Moore on the walls, can lights in the ceiling-thanks for the advice, Michael Abrams!). This month, it’s the new, way cool Kleenex boxes that have caught my attention. A new oval shape, mod floral and geometric designs, muddy browns and oranges, happening blues-I have one in every room, and more in the closet. It makes having a cold more fun.

Everyday things ought to be beautiful. My hard-working, frugal cousin Lynn just dropped some serious change on a bright orange front-loading Kenmore washer and dryer. Other family members were incredulous. But to my cousin, it made perfect sense. The first room she enters when she gets home is the laundry room, off the garage. Why not make it a delight?

Whether it’s lighting, tissue boxes, or candy-colored appliances, who’s to say what adds value to a home? That was the question we posed at a recent informal round-table discussion with design professionals at The Chopping Block. The issue itself provoked some controversy. Who cares what adds value, as long as you love it? asked architect Claudia Skylar. What adds value to a home is what makes you happy. What’s making Chicago homeowners happy these days, according to our guests: second-floor family rooms; tricked-out mudrooms with a faucet to clean dirty paws; wide-open spaces everywhere, borrowed from the lofts of downtown; spa-style open showers, fewer tubs; and chandeliers and other unlikely niceties in bathrooms, to name a few trends.

How to make these projects happen? Our Resources section includes listings for hundreds of local design professionals and showrooms. Subscribers (call 800-678-6693 to become one) and readers who buy HOME on the newsstand have access to our complete and searchable listings on our Web site, Just use the access code in this section from the magazine.

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 Spring
Great Design for Less
Our Resources guide will feature:

  • Architects
  • Contractors
  • Landscapers
  • Windows & Doors
  • Window Treatments & Upholstery