As the owner of Bang Bang Pie Shop, Michael Ciapciak spends plenty of time in the heat of the kitchen. But when he comes home, he gets a different kind of warm feeling. Ask him what he loves most about his Logan Square home, which he shares with his wife, Susan, and their sons, Ned and Will, and he’ll tell you: “My favorite thing would have to be the sense of warmth of it [from] being filled with all of our things we have collected.” One glance around the space confirms the Ciapciaks are quite the collectors. Their decor includes vintage pieces (a brown and tattered US map) and alley scores (an old fire escape that serves as a pot rack), not to mention a whole wall of curiosities in the sitting area off the dining room. Some pieces on the wall were gifts, such as the photo of the Australian outlaw Ned Kelly. Others are family heirlooms, including the silhouette of Susan’s mother when she was a girl. Still, not everything here is old or used. “We have a few items that we've saved for and purchased,” Michael said. For example, the tufted headboard in the master bedroom was bought new and looks elegant against colorful bedding and embroidered pillows. In contrast, the guest-bedroom headboard, while no less beautiful, is nothing but stacked apple crates that were repurposed from Bang Bang. Despite drawing from such a wide variety of sources, the Ciapciaks achieve an unmistakable unity in their decor. This harmony is due in part to a few smart design choices: selecting simple furnishings with classic shapes, sticking with neutral wall colors, and connecting spaces throughout the home with beautiful oriental rugs. Ultimately, though, the reason the home blends together so well may have less to do with any aesthetic theory than with the sense that each item has meaning to the owners. “[I] can't say we really have a specific style other than decorating with what we like,” Michael said. He added that the most important element in creating a harmonious home has nothing to do with furnishings. “If I didn't have family to share my home with, there would be no real sense of warmth in it.” Photos: Andrew Nawrocki, Groupon Find even more home-design inspiration at ideel. There are even more tours of gorgeous Chicago homes to be found on the Groupon Guide: Inside the Photogenic Home of Two Pro Photographers Trying to deal with living where you work? Take a cue from Stevi and Matt Savage, who designed their Lakeview home with flexibility in mind. This Kids’ Musician’s Home Is as Cheery as Her Songs Little Miss Ann is one of Chicago’s top “kindie” rock musicians. Learn how a simple act of decorating kindness inspired her after a hospital stay. How a High-School English Teacher Assembled One of Chicago's Coolest Modern Furniture Collections Nick Roux has a knack for finding Eames lounge chairs for cheap. Tour his striking Lincoln Square apartment and find out how he does it.Read More
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Play It Again Sports
When wearing all-over prints, it’s a fine line between looking glamorous and looking like grandma’s couch. But it’s actually not that complicated. The key? Choose sophisticated prints in modern silhouettes that suit your body type. We’ve found four matching sets, and added some coordinating garments to show how versatile these printed pieces can be as separates. Look #1: The Deconstructed Dress Palm jacquard tee, Topshop ($130); Palm jacquard midi skirt, Topshop ($170); Black leather skirt, Avenue 32 ($598 on sale); High-waist jean shorts, Jolly Chic ($22.99) Buying separates instead of a full dress can be more figure-flattering, as you have more control over fit (it can be more cost effective, too). For a sleeker look, pair the top with a leather pencil skirt and strappy high-heeled sandals, or dress it down with high-waisted shorts and espadrilles. Look #2: Crop Tops Taffeta Picnic midi skirt, Topshop ($190); Taffeta Picnic crop top, Topshop ($76); Iris crop top, Abercrombie & Fitch ($17.10 on sale); Short-sleeve Pima tee, L.L. Bean ($17.99) This set’s longer crop top shows just a sliver of skin, giving your eye a break from the bold pattern. Show more skin by swapping in a shorter lace top and wedge sandals, or less with a black tee and canvas sneakers. Look #3: Classic Cuts Charley pineapple sweater, J.Crew Factory ($34.50 on sale); Printed stretch chino short, J.Crew Factory ($49.50 on sale); Pineapple collector tee, J.Crew Factory ($34.50); Cropped jersey top, H&M ($6.95) The simple tailoring of this sweater and shorts keeps the pineapple print from being too sweet. This also makes it easy to separate the set: double down on the ‘apples by half-tucking this printed tee, or mix prints with a striped top. (Read more tips on mixing prints.) Look #4: Back to Bed Animal-print top, Zara ($29.99); Animal-print trousers, Zara ($29.99); Skinny low-rise jeans, H&M ($9.95); Neon jacquard-weave skirt, H&M ($49.95) Wearing pajama-inspired clothes may not feel chic, but this animal-print set looks quite sophisticated with some black-leather Birkenstocks. Even more surprising is this bold print’s versatility, as it pairs equally well with dark-blue skinny jeans or a neon miniskirt.Read More
Poets have long cornered the market on love letters, but mathematicians might have a new advantage when it comes to romantic gift giving. At her new Andersonville boutique, Winifred Grace (5642 N. Clark Street), jewelry designer Winifred Gundeck specializes in creating simple bronze pendants stamped with letters, symbols, and—frequently—numbers with sentimental value. What is a sentimental code, exactly? For one customer, it was the geographic coordinates of the Ferris wheel where he proposed to his wife. For another, it was the house number of her mom’s childhood home. Still others opt for momentous dates, often stamped with no punctuation as six-digit strings of numbers. “You can get really personal,” Winifred said. Yet her cool, simple designs, with their “modern-looking” sans-serif typeface, acknowledge the fact that not everyone wants to wear something as sappy as, say, a necklace with the word “love” on it. “I want pieces of jewelry that represent my son and how important he is to me,” she said of her own bronze pendant, which features a capital “A” in honor of her son, Alexander. “I want pieces that I can wear every day, and when I put [them] on, I don’t even have to think about them.” As such, her boutique is full of versatile, everyday accessories like that one—five of which she shared with us below. (To see more of Winifred’s custom work, check out her Instagram, where she posts prolifically.) 1. Custom-stamped pendants ($150 large; $135 small) The bigger one is stamped with the coordinates of Chicago, the smaller one with initials. Winifred said they look good whether they’re a little tarnished or freshly polished—and each one comes with a free polishing cloth. The stamping process takes 10–15 minutes, which means they can be made while you wait. Price-wise, the smallest pendant costs $90 (unstamped). For stamping, there’s an additional setup fee and a charge of $3 per letter. 2. Aries constellation bracelet ($143) Winifred offers bronze bangles punched with all 12 astrological signs’ constellations. The Aries one is her favorite “because it’s very minimal.” 3. Horse-bit chain bracelet ($290) This chunky, toggle-clasp bracelet is “inspired by vintage Cartier,” as well as the real gold Gucci bracelets Winifred inherited from her mom. “I just loved them,” she said. “They made me feel like a disco queen.” This particular bracelet is also inspired by a horse bit—a shape that’s ubiquitous even outside the farm. “Gucci, their signature buckle on their shoes—it’s a horse bit.” 4. 60-millimeter round pendant ($170) Anthropologie has stocked this necklace, which Winifred said “is nice because you tie [the leather] off at any length.” She also likes the way she put the pendants’ tiny jump rings to use: they hold the leather cord rather than dangling decoratively. 5. Bar ring ($127) This is “supercomfortable to wear,” Winifred said. “Your fingers just nestle in around the shape of the ring. It has two places cut out for your [adjacent] fingers.” She also stocks it in multiple sizes and can custom-make sizes she doesn’t have in two to three weeks. Photos: Andrew Nawrocki, GrouponRead More
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