There’s nothing like a little chilly weather to make you want to stay indoors, put a pot of stew on the stove, and pay attention to your pad.
Thankfully, Chicago is a hub for home decor—particularly the handmade. The city has fine artists with an eye for creating that piece your home shouldn’t live without. We’ve scouted out the city’s craftsmen and women to help you deck out your dwelling—one local, handmade piece of art at a time.
Go custom. Stop by the FoundRe Furnishings storefront in Wicker park on Division (at 2151 W. Division) to check out a sea of handmade home wares. Here you’ll find handmade frames of all sizes, tables, chairs, lamps and boxes—all made from reclaimed wood, which is chock full of character. FoundRe owner Raun Meyn also builds custom pieces from salvaged wood; he makes kitchen tables, islands, benches, end tables, shelving and even made a custom picnic table once for a client. So if you’re looking for just the right size dining table or a mantel made just for you, FoundRe’s may be your place.
Kitschy up your kitchen. If your kitchen is your favorite place in the house, Nourishing Notes just might make you giddy. This line of silkscreen-printed dishtowels and prints combine the love of food and well-crafted design. The “Do the Dishes Tomorrow” towel is one of six designs that might make a whimsical addition near the sink. Andy Schwegler and Julie Morelli, the husband-wife team behind Nourishing Notes, also make simple, framable 8×10 screen prints with foodie phrases such as, “Count the Memories, Not the Calories” and “Cook With the Ones You Love.” Perfect pieces for adding flavor to bare kitchen walls.
High-end up your home. Herron Clothier is a small company in Chicago founded by weaver Dee Clements. Her newest line includes handwoven pillows (and, soon, blankets). Her Mano pillow, for instance, is made with locally sourced, hand-spun wool naturally dyed in seawater. The wool for these pillows came straight from goats in North Carolina. Clements collects and hand-dyes much of her own wool—you can see pictures of her doing it on on her blog. It’s a slow art, she says, but it’s built to last.
Stock your shelves. For some people, there’s nothing more fun than opening a kitchen cabinet or small home bar to reveal beautiful glassware. And Glass Ware glasses have a story and a past—they are all made from repurposed beer, wine and water glasses and turned into beautiful new glassware. The founders, chronic recyclers Erin Schultz and Laura Nelson, started their business when they decided to purchase a glasscutter and a sand blaster to start making something out of their recyclables. Each glass is cut and the rim of the glass is ground, sanded and polished until perfectly smooth; from there, hand-drawn stencils are permanently etched onto the glass with a non-toxic sandblaster (learn more about the process here). We love the shape and color of the glasses made from old Perrier bottles; the sandblasted shapes and animals are nice edition to any hip home.
Pick practical wall art. If you live in Chicago, where there’s never enough storage, you might consider making your bike a piece of art. Eric Petersen of Trophy Club Racks makes wall-mounted wooden bike racks to help patrons store their bikes, and organize and decorate their home at the same time. Many of the racks have lights, drawers and interesting knobs. You get to pick the style, the stain and the size—all custom to your own aesthetic. The best part? Your bike is safe, and so is your wall—the frame holds the bike wheel far enough away so your paint job won’t get scuffed. Trophy Club Racks also has plans in the works for racks that hold two bikes.