Chicago Inspiration: My Big Three Takeaways!

It's been about two weeks since Gary and I set foot in Chicago. While we were only there for four days, we left with a plethora of knowledge. It seemed as though every place we visited, we learned something new!

We even visited the Adler Planetarium to gain some knowledge! :D

Gary had to attend a conference on two of the four days, but while he sat in a lovely hotel banquet room, I roamed around Chicago in search of inspiration for our future builds.

Ladies and gents — I found what I was looking for!

Here I'll share a few of the takeaways from our trip, and you'll see the Chicago inspiration in the design of our second home in Belle Oaks! I'm still tweaking the design, and yes, I'm driving Gary crazy with the wait — but hey, what can I say? A masterpiece takes time. ;)

Searching for inspiration from high in the sky! 103 stories high!!!

Here are some of the biggies that stuck with me:

#1. Being BIG isn't everything.

We've all heard the saying — "Everything's bigger in Texas." While us Texans love our big houses, big trucks, and big spaces, what's even better than being big is being quaint.

quaint- /kwānt/adjective

attractively unusual or old-fashioned. "quaint country cottages"

No matter what size, all of the Chicago homes in the area we toured felt charming. Some were 6000+ sqft and others were 1500 sqft., and yet all felt quaint. This got me thinking about how I could design a home to feel quaint regardless of the actual square footage. It's not easy, but with a little Chicago inspiration, I believe we'll be able to make it happen!

We don't have many pictures from this place, but oh, the charm! The wall behind us is a wall of candles. Such a warm touch!

#2. Gable roofs are timeless.

Don't get me wrong — modern roof lines are gorgeous too! I just have a thing for gables! There are valid reasons to go with other roof types like a hip roof, but in the Texas Hill Country, there aren't many reasons to be afraid of going with a simple gable roof. Many of the Chicago Greystones and other historic buildings were built with a gable roof. I suppose it was to shed the snow and offer attic space, or maybe it was just cheaper solution (as it is today), either way, it's a beautiful feature of Chicago homes! You can expect to see that charming gable roof in our second Belle home!

#3. Wood, stone, brick, and metal

There is a wide variety of materials and textiles used in Chicago homes. While Chicago is best known for its bold brick look, it doesn't take long to realize there's more to Chicago's architecture than just brick. This might just be my favorite Chicago takeaway. Exposed ceilings, warehouse-style windows, warm wood paneling, exposed brick, raw materials — you name it — Chicago has it all! And sometimes all in one space. It was a great reminder that there's nothing wrong with mixing textiles and materials. Each element used creates a layered depth and adds more character to the home, and there's nothing sweeter than that!

So there you have it! My BIG THREE takeaways! There is so much more that I have to share, but I'll leave that for the Chicago-Inspired Belle Oaks home. Each home we build has a story to tell, and I can't wait to share that home's story with you!

Merry Christmas and Happy holidays!

Walking the streets and being inspired! Can't wait to go back to Chicago!

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