Category Archives: Interiors

Home is Where the (Heart) Hare is

Chicago - Interiors
coffee maker

iCoffee Opus

Moving four times has given me a unique perspective about packing up and moving to different neighborhood every so often. The neighborhoods have different flavors; each period of time has a distinct beginning and end. There was a different reason for each move and each period was a different period of growing. Three years is a relatively short time in a person’s life, but I am a very different person than I was—or maybe just more of myself.

In the first two apartments I lived alone—something I found very valuable but was unable to keep up. The third apartment was with roommates; too many roommates to tell the truth and the space was never clean enough for me.

Now I’m living with my sister, and it’s a happy medium, someone to split the bills with and who knows me.

Cleaning up and unpacking is the least fun aspect of moving. Packing is really no fun either. Both jobs seem to grow in size the longer you keep them up. Two weeks after the move we are 90% settled in. There are a few more books to put on shelves and a couple more pictures to hang, and the dining table has become a collection for all sorts of random items but we’re getting there.

living room

Logan Square Living

One of the first things to make me feel finally at ‘home’ was when I unpacked the coffee maker. The iCoffee maker is the perfect compromise for those who want to drink good quality coffee—but don’t always want to go through the trouble of getting out the Bialetti or the French press. The reusable pod means I get a good cup of coffee (whatever that means to me—in this case it’s Intelligentsia La Perla Oaxaca) with the convenience of a pod coffee maker.

My favorite thing about this coffee maker is actually not one of its functions though those are all good. It’s got a blue light that glows under the spout and in the water tank, so it looks like it belongs in another world, a space-ship coffee maker. The blue light is my favorite.

It’s made mornings in my new home very comfortable and for that I’m very grateful.

This post was sponsored by iCoffee; all thoughts and opinions are mine.

Fulton Market Kitchen: The Hare Dines

Chicago - Interiors - Photography

I have visited Fulton Market Kitchen on two occasions and both times I felt like I was in an art gallery or some really wealthy, eccentric friend’s house who has exquisite taste and always invites me over for dinner and drinks.

Monday night at six o’clock is not crowded, nor would you expect it to be. I love that you can relax and eat in a variety of different spaces. A dining table with banquettes offers a slightly different feel then the rooms in the back, each decorated in their own unique style. The bar is comfortable and offers an almost overwhelming choice of beverages.

There are regular tables, for your ‘standard’ dining experience, as well as fun chairs (I sunk comically down in a mint-green slipper chair ) while bellied up to one of the smaller tables along the side of the restaurant. It has the feel of having been collected over a lifetime, by someone who has lived well, traveled, and has their ear to the ground as far as what constitutes as good taste in modern (contemporary) art (street-art/urban-art?).

As far as dining, service, food and drink–Fulton Market Kitchen has it all. A new restaurant that I hope is here for many years (it’ll take at least that long before I can get a real dinner date…) Named on of the 12 best looking restaurants in the U.S., it’s easy to see why here, dining is more than dining and when you don’t want to be in your own home, this is second best.

photo googleimages.com

Trendspotting at the International Housewares Show

Chicago - Cooking - Interiors

I’m late. The blue line is running late because of construction. I really don’t want to get out of the subway and get in a cab because I have to go all the way to McCormick Place, and it’ll be expensive. I keep waiting hoping I can get one more stop so I can switch to the red line. The man sitting on the seat next to where I’m standing asks me if Uber is any good here. I say it is. It turns out he’s going the same place I am, the International Housewares show at McCormick Place. He’s the inventor of a collapsable silicone water bottle called the Bübi. See pictured, below. Named after the bird, it holds boiling water, keeps cold water cold, it resists punctures and is even sold as a baby bottle. It can be used as a pillow while traveling and it is microwave and dishwasher safe. Meeting the inventor of such a cool product was just the beginning of my afternoon. Hearing Ree Drummond speak about her journey blogging and how she came to her success was very inspiring.

 

After luncheon (and after Ree said I look like Anna Kendrick, squee!!) I go down to the show floor. It’s massive. Amazing. So many huge booths (think multiples floors, with stairs) stacked to the brim with dishes, pots, pans, bakeware, tea pots, coffee pots, gadgets and more. I notice some trends while I’m exploring with my aunt and her business partner. Here they are:

  • Silicone!! Everything is made of silicone. Oxo, Trudeau, and Kitchen Innovations all have wonderful new lines of kitchen accessories, bakeware and cookware. It’s the new plastic the material of the future.
  • Infusions. Between Prodyne’s beautiful new line of infusion pitchers, to Takeya’s great tea pitcher (I recommend their tea too, I got to try some and it was incredibly refreshing. Tasty without any added sugar or preservatives.) For tea, water and even spirits, infusions were the order of the day and a great spring purchase for all those afternoons spent outside with friends!
  • New designs, and a focus on inventions and entrepreneurs. I got to see Trudeau’s new pastry cutter, a 2015 design award winner, as well as a new induction cook top by Paragon. See their Indiegogo campaign here.
  • Copper. Kettles, pots, pans, bakeware…many new lines included shiny new copper materials.
  • Green and sustainable materials. I liked the focus on being green, being sustainable, and caring for the environment. If we can keep this trend going, perhaps our planet has a chance after all. Kitchen Innovations’ new Zeal
    line mirrors nature, and will make your kitchen look like fairy garden. I felt like I could have been in the kitchen with Fern Gully.
  • Stackable, storage saving and adjustable tools and gadgets. Saving space and being able to use a tool for multiple things is a great idea. With the focus being on less waste, it was great too see so many products that had this new attitude in mind.

I can’t possible talk about everything I saw at the show, as it was massive, and so full of new and great stuff for the home and kitchen. My favorite part was getting to meet so many great people. This industry is extremely friendly and everyone showed a lot of care and pride introducing their new products.

Room Tour: The Hare’s Den

Chicago - Interiors - Photography

Spaces and interiors have been a fascination since I was little. I made paper doll ‘houses’ with old JC Penny catalogs. Set up ‘houses’ for my stuffed toys with items found around the house and I got a drafting set when I was kid and drew dozens of spaces that probably had no viability engineering wise, but they certainly had an abundance of towers and windows. I like to look at a space and see how I can transform it. My favorite assignment during my 2009 internship with Big Shoulders Digital Media in Chicago was the design and home shows. My favorite part of Halloween when I was a kid? Getting to peek behind the adult to look into their living room.

Thus, I redid the den recently. Relatively recently. One roommate moved out, another moved in and I took the opportunity to make the den over. I resisted for a while. I didn’t want to spend any money. But it became too much to bear and any of you who like a nice space will see why. The before and after is a transformation I’m proud of, on a shoe string budget, and something I enjoy doing when the opportunity presents itself.

I liked that I could decorate the room, and none of my roommates would care. Being guys, it only mattered that there was a couch and TV. So I combed Craigslist, communicated with sellers, rented cars through Enterprise Car Share, and transformed the space, all by myself. It was a huge task. Each time I rented a car it was a bus trip to the car, a drive to the item, and drive back home to drop off the item, a drive to drop off the car, and a bus back to the apartment. I repeated this process 3 times. At one point I was carrying a bright red Crate and Barrel wool rug on the bus. I was damned if I was going to get in a cab, especially after what I was going to spend on a couch and possibly on other items. Finally I had the room decorated to my liking. No there’s nothing on the walls yet, and perhaps the space needs a floor lamp but on the whole it’s inviting and not too cluttered.

A clean and simple space resulted and it looks good. I can take pride that it’s a project I did entirely on my own, though I will thank my roommate for helping me carry the couch down a flight of spiral stairs. Oy.

You never know what you can find when you get things second hand, and I made it to Bucktown, South Loop, West Town, and Lincoln Park in the space of two days to complete my den. Enjoy the room tour!