Interview with LivingRoom Broker Kate Paris


Tell us about yourself 

I’ve lived in Chicago for 17 years, and I grew up in Royal Oak, Michigan, which is a place I lovingly refer to as “the Oak Park of Detroit.” I like ice cream and pizza, snuggling my dog, hanging out with other people’s babies and attending book club meetings without having read the book. I spend a lot of my social time going to see live music and hanging out with friends on porches, stoops and in back yards. I am a visual-person and a people-person and a cancer, so everything makes me cry, but usually in a good way. I am married to a drummer and we share our 1965 ranch in Logan Square with our adorable and crabby elderly chihuahua, Biscuit.

Like a true millennial, I’ll now list the people/tags I follow on instagram: #Ihavethisthingwithtiles (where people post pictures of amazing tile), #blackworkersubmission (for pictures of tattoos made only with black ink), @cheapoldhouses (for AMAZING historic homes for sale all over the country), @onetailatatime (because dream-me has about 15 dogs), @smittenkitchen (the OG food blogger), #minimalistwardrobe (because capsule wardrobes changed my life), @vintagebathroomlove (because tile + houses + historic design),

Why did you decide to become a real estate broker

As a kid I really loved dragging my dad to open houses, seeing how our neighbors lived and imagining what it would be like to live in a different house. As I grew up and started thinking about what kind of work I wanted to do, it actually never occurred to me to go into real estate as a broker. I was working in a corporate job and realized that I wanted to do work that would allow me to have a flexible schedule, would be different every day, would indulge my love of design and architecture and would encourage me to participate in my wider community. I also really love working with clients and seeing my impact more directly than in a more corporate setting.

What is it about real estate that you are drawn to:

I have always been very curious about and sensitive to environments and spaces that hold people and their stuff. I love exploring different ways of living and supporting said environments and activities in my capacity to do so. Also, I really like that while it is sales, it isn’t as transactional as past sales jobs I’ve had. Each sale is based on a more long term relationship built on trust and respect. Each collaboration is more like a celebration of reaching a shared goal of a solid financial situation and a home that suits each client individually. Aside from my interest in houses and the day to day of the job, I also find the housing market and the socioeconomic forces that drive it to be fascinating.

Favorite thing about being a Broker

My favorite thing about being a broker is that the daily ins and outs feel natural. I am a person who has an expertise and I go about my day helping people with my accumulated knowledge and experience. It's not a job that I go to and leave from - it's an extension of who I am. It is a career that weaves into my life and makes me feel useful and helpful without feeling imposing or compartmentalized.

What advice would you give someone looking to Buy

Sometimes it is hard for me to make a decision about what to eat for dinner, and deciding on a home is way more complicated. The best thing I can suggest is to spend the time to make a very specific list of things you want and things you need in a home and mark down whether each house you are really considering meets those criteria. When we looked for our house, we made a weighted criteria list and scored each house on each criteria and then each of those scores were weighted based on how important each criteria was…. that is a little extra, I know, but for me it was helpful to make it feel a little less emotional, and I worked at a software company so using a mathematical formula to make my decision for me felt right at the time.

What advice would you give someone looking to Sell

Two things:

1. Pricing strategy is really important and a property’s true market value will fall in a range of valid prices. A lot of sellers want to push the market and go high “just to see” if they can get it. A good listing agent will come to a seller and explain the market climate and provide data on relevant comparative sales. That data should drive the pricing strategy, not a seller’s desire to make as much money as possible or because to the homeowner, the property is worth more than just money. So this is another situation where taking little bit of the emotion out of the process can ultimately save you time and money.

2. A focused presentation of a property is very important. Each punch list item may seem silly or insignificant but together, if completed, can make the property have a strong presentation on the market. Buyers shop online first, so the pictures matter and unless you have very exceptional taste in home design, less will always be more in terms of how you stage the house for the pictures and showings.

Tell me how you first got involved in with LivingRoom

I RSVP’d to a Co-Op Buyers seminar. I knew I wanted to transition into real estate and I had actually set my goal on specializing in co-ops and artists. One day my husband was browsing facebook, saw the event listing and said, “I think someone already thought of your idea.” So my first reaction was disappointment, which turned quickly into a desire to meet Annie (now my managing broker) and learn everything I could from her. I went to the Co-Op seminar and then reached out to Annie to meet one on one to talk about the business in general. I had a lot of reservations about becoming a broker, but in that meeting I felt like all my reservations went away when I saw an example of someone that was being a broker in the way that I wanted to be a broker: people focused; interested in community, historic preservation, and affordable housing; getting artists into affordable home ownership; genuine and thoughtful about the industry, etc.

What's your first memory of moving to Chicago

I moved here for college at DePaul. I actually vividly remember my parents dropping me off at my new dorm and then when they drove away I remember looking out the window and going down to the street and thinking… “I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, wherever I want, for whatever reason, and I don’t have to explain it to anyone.” But the sense of alone-ness and not knowing anyone else was pretty acute too. It was a simultaneous sense of excitement and fear.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

I grew up in a cult…. No actually that’s not true. There really isn’t that much surprising about me. I wear everything on my sleeve, for better or worse.

How do people find you

I am active on instagram (@kateparis) and you can find me on Facebook (Kate Paris) but I’m not very active there. And of course, anyone who wants to reach out to me is always welcome to call or text me at 248-561-5869 or email me at

In Our Living Room Home Tours: Megan & Alex Menocal


In this installment of In our LivingRoom home tours we were thrilled to visit Megan and Alex and their North Park bungalow.

LivingRoom: Tell us about your property?

M & A: We live in a classic brick bungalow in the North Park neighborhood of Chicago. We were impressed with the quality of the green spaces in walking distance, with the neighbors, and the vintage feel of the homes in the neighborhood. The house itself is a three-bedroom with two and a half baths. The history of the home is really evident in certain areas - the basement includes a showerhead over a drain, which was installed so that the homeowner could bathe after coming home from his work in aluminum fabrication. The second bedroom has a charming built-in bookcase that has been in place since at least the early '60s. The bathroom on the main floor is tiled in classic Chicago fashion. The attic features a nice office / guest bedroom space and a full bathroom. We also love the garden, which has been lovingly cared for over the years, and we see peonies, lilacs, roses, hostas, and ferns come to life every spring.

LivingRoom: What were the deciding factors when choosing your area and picking your property?

M & A: We were looking for a quiet, stable neighborhood. We had been living in Albany Park, so we had become pretty entrenched in the far north side. We based our search around areas that we already knew that we liked, and the North Park neighborhood was familiar to us, Megan graduated from North Park University. We were planning on starting a family, so the school districts were also very important to us, and North Park has great elementary schools.

LivingRoom: What’s your favorite thing about your property?

M & A: It's a 100 year old home with some great details - one of our favorite features is a beautiful tulip stained glass window in our living room. And unlike many homes of this age, there are no objectionable “upgrades” by prior owners, as a matter of fact all of the upgrades have been legitimate improvements, like central air, a modernized kitchen, and all new windows.

LivingRoom: What would you tell someone who is embarking on the buying process?

M & A: Trust the process, be patient and give yourself time! We were so excited to get into homeownership that we were ready to make offers on homes early in the process that probably wouldn't have been a good fit for us or would have more work than we were prepared to do. As we saw more homes through the process, we got a better feel for what our priorities really were. We also saw firsthand that it is very common for a purchase to fall through after an offer has been made. This happened to us a few times and it was very discouraging. In the end, we are very happy with the home we found! This house was by far our favorite and we are really happy here.

LivingRoom: Tell us about yourself?

Alex: I am director of strategy at Mess, a design and web development agency in West Town. I love sitting in the sunny garden reading a book while Megan works hard to keep everything in order!

Megan: I am a registered nurse at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. I love to garden and have enjoyed finally having a backyard of our own. We have a toddler who keeps up laughing and who loves taking his tricycle around the neighborhood and waving at every dog.

LivingRoom: Tell us about any improvements you made or plan to make and why?

M & A: We had a new chimney built as well as some masonry work on the house's brick front. So far, though, the biggest home improvement that we have made so far was to replace all of the galvanized steel plumbing with copper piping. At the time of purchase, we knew that the plumbing would eventually need repair because of our home inspection. It was a large and expensive job but we can really tell a difference in water pressure now. The next project on our list is to replace the concrete front steps which are falling apart.

LivingRoom: Can you tell us about that process?

M & A: For both of these projects we started by taking recommendations from friends, using online resources and by getting multiple bids on projects.

LivingRoom: Well thank you so much for sharing your beautiful home with us!

In Our Living Room Home Tours: Ted and Sharon Burdett


In this installment of In our LivingRoom home tours we were thrilled to visit Ted and Sharon Burdett of Strand Design and their inspiring studio condo at the iconic Marina City. This dynamic duo designed, renovated, and built custom cabinetry and furniture to maximize space, create efficiency, and live in a modern and serene home. We hope you enjoy this tour, and if you wish you could live there you are in luck as LivingRoom Realty will be listing this beautiful condo soon!

LivingRoom: Tell us about your property?

T & S: Our condo is located on the 47th floor of the east tower in Marina City, facing northwest. It's a 500 sq ft. studio —with a 150 sq ft patio —which is really one of the most defining characteristics of Marina City. When we purchased this unit, it had been a rental for over thirty years. It hadn't been given any TLC for a very, very long time, and we had to gut it entirely. Nothing was salvageable. We treated the space as a testing ground for our design ideas, and have actually built and rebuilt many of the pieces that are now part of the apartment..

LivingRoom: What were the deciding factors when choosing your area and picking your property?

T & S: We've always believed in the philosophy of location, location, location. As two very busy people who were running a business together, we didn't need an enormous amount of space, since most of our waking hours were spent outside of the home. We just wanted something that would help make life easier, and bring a lot of enjoyment to us every day. Marina City is located in the center of the city, right on the Chicago River.  We've enjoyed the incredible views, daily walks on the riverwalk, the ease of being able to walk everywhere to get everything we need, and the access to transportation. We knew that these things would make things easier on us, and they certainly have.

LivingRoom: What’s your favorite thing about your property?

T & S: You really just can't even believe how awesome the balconies are. It feels like you are inside of your own private opera-box with the ultimate view of the city. I've also been able to walk to work every day for the last five years.

LivingRoom: What would you tell someone who is embarking on the buying process?

T & S: Be honest with yourself. What are the things you can compromise on, and what are the things you cannot? We were able to compromise on space, but not everyone may be able to do that. We knew that convenience, access, and the daily enjoyment of the city were the most important things for us at the time.

LivingRoom: Tell us about yourself?

Ted: Professor of Design Entrepreneurship at UIC, co-owner of Strand Design, Fourneau, and Ironwood Cookware

Sharon: Co-founder Strand Design, and Fourneau, currently working at a health-tech startup

LivingRoom: Tell us about any improvements you made or plan to make and why?

T & S: Well, we had to change almost everything in this apartment, so I'll focus on the things that we think make the biggest difference.

  • Installing a glass door. The windows are so beautiful and give you that seamless curtain of glass, but the standard doors are solid. We installed a glass door and it was huge improvement. The whole space is filled with light, it also allows light to travel down the hallway.

  • Installing a murphy bed. This is a real gamechanger, and allows you to actually have a living room. 

  • Making the closet into a desking area. We wanted to have multiple "zones" in the space, and the hallway closet is really huge considering the size of the space. We modified the wall, removed the door, and installed lighting so that it could become a "mini-office."

  • Using an under-counter refrigerator. A full-size refrigerator just looks absurd in these units. With an under-counter fridge, you get more counter space, and better sight lines.

LivingRoom: Can you tell us about that process?

T & S: As two designers who had a practice of building furniture together, this space was a mini-laboratory. In much of our work at Strand Design, we focused on utilizing urban lumber, and we continued to do so in our apartment. Almost all of the wood that you see in the space is salvaged ash from the Chicago urban forest.

LivingRoom: Well thank you so much for sharing your beautiful home with us!

If you want to see some before pictures check them out here.

In Our Living Room: Dana Lewis and Sam Vinz

Dana Lewis and Sam Vinz were looking for a place they could call their own in the West Town area. Working with Sarah Frier at LivingRoom Realty they found a perfect bungalow they could transform into a light and art filled dream home.

LivingRoom: Tell us about your property?

Dana: We bought a 1890 one story 750 sq ft bungalow in Humboldt Park in 2014. It is a standard Chicago lot size. The house had not been updated/renovated in quite some time (many decades). It was a one bedroom/one bath with separate garage and unfinished basement. We knew when we bought it what it would be big renovation project.

LivingRoom: What were the deciding factors when choosing your area and picking your property?

Dana: We had looked at so many properties and could not find anything that seemed like the right fit for us. We were open to the perfect condo, single family or a multi-unit that was in our price range. The more we looked, we realized we would be paying for renovations that did not match out aesthetic. When we found our house on an MLS listing we thought it seemed like a unique property and worth checking out, especially after seeing so many places and listings that  looked so similar. We went for a second visit and brought a contractor who thought the best approach for adding space and renovation would be to add a second floor rather than finishing the basement or extending the length into the back yard. We then had an inspector out to make sure the foundation could support a second floor. Once we got the ok from the inspector we made an offer and got the house.

Sam: It got to be really difficult to walk into a condo/single-family/multi-unit that had just been redone in a bunch of awful standard materials. All of that is factored into the price of the home. The ‘contractor-special’ is not really our vibe - so to pay a premium for those finishes was not appealing to us.

Dana: Very quickly it became apparent that we were best suited for a place that needed a little love. Which is what we found in this house - it needed a lot!

LivingRoom: What’s your favorite thing about your property?

Dana: This the first time either one of us has owned a property. It’s so much more quiet than living in an apartment, which is nice. It’s also great to have a yard for entertaining. We plan to design the yard for an optimal entertaining space next year. It’s also very nice to be so close to the park. There are great restaurants, coffee shops and bars a 5 minute walk away.

LivingRoom: What would you tell someone who is embarking on the buying process?

Dana: I would say to not settle on a place unless you love it. We made a few offers on places and thankfully none of them worked out. We realized we were settling. As run down as our house was when we bought it, we both knew we had found the home that was going to be perfect for us

Sam: Agreed, while much harder to create a space in that manner that we did, settling for something less would have left us both unfulfilled.

LivingRoom: Tell us about yourself?

We rented in Ukrainian Village for 4 years before buying our home. We love to travel and met while traveling in Mexico City in 2010. I am an Emergency Room Nurse Practitioner and Sam owns Volume Gallery, a contemporary design gallery in Chicago.

LivingRoom: Tell us about any improvements you made or plan to make and why?

Dana: We gutted the entire first floor and added a brand new second floor to make a 3 bedroom/2.5 bath home. Everything in the house is new except the first level exterior brick. We did not finish the basement because we don't need the extra space and for now it is nice to have laundry and a workshop type area for Sam for the remaining house projects

Sam: We need to do things in stages. First stage is the house, second stage is the yard, third stage is the garage.

LivingRoom: Can you tell us about that process?

Dana: Once we bought the house we rented it out on AirBnB and a 6 month lease which was great because we were able to cover the mortgage while get got everything in order for the renovation. It took about 15 months to get the plans, permits, hire the  contractor, loan, etc.

Since Sam owns a design gallery, he knows a lot of people in the Chicago Architecture world. We asked our friends Carrie Norman and Thomas Kelley of the  Norman Kelley Architecture firm if they would like to design our home. They accepted the job and we are very grateful for all their hard work, patience and dedication. We collaborated with them for the basic concepts of what we were looking for- an open space ideal for entertaining, 3 bed/2.5 bath, a large skylight in the stairwell, an overall modern looking design. We interviewed several different contractors. We basically went with the most affordable option, Walsh Custom Homes  and Jim Walsh was great and I would recommend him to anyone without hesitation. I don't think many people can say that about their contractors.

We started construction in January of 2016 and moved in August 2016 with no floors, kitchen, dry wall not completed- basically we had plumbing and electric and that was enough for us to stop paying rent and move in. We worked everyday after work and every weekend for about 5 months. Luckily, Sam is very handy so he put in all the floors, kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities, trim for the floors and painted the entire interior of the house. We hired someone through our contractor to install all the tile.

We tried to be as resourceful and economical  when finding materials we wanted. We also wanted to support smaller business and stay away from the Home Depot type stores as much as  possible.  We got wide plank pine for our downstairs floors from a lumber company in Wisconsin. We got 10 ft solid wood doors from salvage place in Milwaukee. We used a small company in Glen Ellyn for our soap stone counter tops and they are also carpenters so they hung our doors and did an excellent job with both. We hired amish from Wisconsin to make and install our built-in closets. We spent many weekends going to tile outlets, salvage yards, estate sales, habitat for humanities, etc looking for what we needed.

We still have several projects to finish, but have been living comfortably and loving our space since getting the bulk of the project done by December 2016.

How to Buy Property Cooperatively Series: Financing Your Cooperative


Join us for the next event Financing Your Cooperative in our Cooperative Housing Series, 

Tuesday January 22nd, from 6:30-8pm 

at LivingRoom Realty.

Are you ready to own your own home, but concerned about rising real estate costs? Do you want to plan for the future or have a built in community by sharing your home with friends or family? Want to buy a commercial building and share resources? Are you interested in combining the financial, environmental, and/or community/social benefits of communal living with the security of property ownership?

If so, LivingRoom Realty's Co-operative living Info sessions are for you! This new series of informal meet-ups is for anyone interested in learning more about how to successfully purchase, manage, and occupy co-operative real estate in Chicago. Join LivingRoom Realty brokers Annie Coleman & Susannah Ribstein, and Co-op Development Consultant, Corrigan Nadon-Nichols, for this informative event series.

This next event Financing Your Coop will feature guest speakers Michelle Bobart Senior VP of Mortgage Lending at Guaranteed Rate and Kevin Truitt Senior Loan and Program Officer at Chicago Community Loan Fund (CCLF).   Michelle and Kevin will walk you through the loan products available to meet your Cooperative Housing needs.  Corrigan Nadon-Nichols will go over basics of how to prepare your finances.  This will be an very informative event!  Please RSVP to attend.

Future Series Events (More Details To Be Announced):

Date TBD - Living and working as a Community - Membership Process, Group Decision Making, Conflict Resolution and other topics to create and maintain a happy and healthy community.

Date TBD - Coop Case Studies - Meet Coop members of current Chicago Cooperatives and hear there story and we’ll also highlight some national examples.


Landscape of the Market for Buyers Class - January 23rd from 6:30-8pm

  • LivingRoom Realty (map)

Thinking about buying a home or investment property this Spring or in the next few years? Don’t jump in without being prepared. Winter is the perfect time to start learning about the process, your options and what you need to do to get prepared.  Join us at the next Landscape of the Market for Buyers.  LivingRoom Realty's Managing Broker Annie Coleman, Mortgage Broker Ben DeBoer, and Home Inspector Mike Lamb will walk through the process, share key information to help you prepare, and answer your questions.  Topics we cover are:

  • The pre-approval process and preparing your finances, including information for independent contractors and self-employed
  • Step by step overview of key parts of home buying process
  • Loan products available in today’s market
  • Overview of current market conditions
  • Helpful Information on how to decide what type of property to buy
  • What to expect from a property search
  • What to expect from a home inspection
  • What to look for in a building
  • What are closing costs and a detailed breakout
  • Tips for saving for home improvements

Q&A at the end of class so bring your questions! Food and Drinks will be provided. Class is complimentary.

Please RSVP to attend so we can plan accordingly.

In Our LivingRoom: Meet Christen Carter of Busy Beaver Buttons

Meet Christen Carter of Busy Beaver Button Company

Busy Beaver Button Company, a thriving small business, was looking to grow their space, open a museum, and stay close to their original location on Armitage in Logan Square. With the help of Annie Coleman, Managing Broker of LivingRoom Realty, they purchased the perfect empty building sitting on a double wide lot a few blocks west of their original location on Armitage.

We asked them a few questions about their journey to expanding their headquarters.

LivingRoom Realty (LRR): Tell us about yourself?

Christen Carter (CC): I am a small business owner - Busy Beaver Button Co., and co-curator of the Button Museum. Right now, my life is mostly around buttons since I’m also working on a book about cultural history told through buttons.

I do love fixing up old buildings that need love and kinda like having property - it’s part of my retirement plan. I also like decorating and nesting into places, this has become a hobby of mine.

LRR: Tell us about your property?

CC: It’s a double-wide storefront with two apartments above. When I bought the building, it was just a blighted shell that suffered a couple of fires. But the beautiful yellow brick and personality were there! Plus, it has “good bones” as they say. The location is 3407 W Armitage, just west of Kimball. There’s also a big backyard and 3 car garage.

LRR: What were the deciding factors when choosing your area and property?

CC: We knew that we needed a place to expand, since I’m hoping this will be a 10+ year place for my company, Busy Beaver Button Co. And the big back yard will let us build out when we need to.It’s also walking distance from my house and close to the homes of many people who work here. And only a block away from our old location, so we wouldn’t lose any employees because of the distance. Being only a block away was very handy during construction - we could meet a tradesperson on a dime, since it took 2 minutes to walk from our previous location. 

The two apartments above help pay the mortgage and give us a cheaper property tax rate, those two things really help! Plus, for security sake, it’s nice that people are here during the day and at night, too.

I feel connected to Logan Square having lived and worked here since 2004, so I wanted to stay nearby. Plus, I remember when this building had two separate fires, the building was empty for years and it needed some serious love.

LRR: What’s your favorite thing about your property?

CC: The feel is just so nice. It’s pretty spacious and can display the Button Museum and accommodate the visitors. My brother, Joel found all this beautiful salvaged doors and interior windows, people can hardly believe that this place was a burned shell before we got it. You can really tell in all the details that a lot of love and consideration was put into it - this is mostly because of my brother!

LRR: What would you tell someone who is embarking on the buying process for your type of building?

CC:I always tell people to expect the project to cost at least 50% more than quoted by a GC and also about twice as long. The city can take awhile and things always come up.

We had to re-zone but that was the easiest thing - we had a good lawyer. That’s the other big thing - the professionals that you work with must honestly respect you and what you’re doing - trust is key. Some of the people we worked with were great, but some really made our lives more difficult than it needed to be. I learned a lot and now have developed what a “trusted partner” is, this helps us recognize red flags to change course. Have a good idea of what's important to you in terms of property characteristics, but also keep an open mind about what's going to work realistically, and be honest about your lifestyle needs. Obviously, finding the right agent is also crucial!

LRR: Tell us about any improvements you made or plan to make and why?

CC: I’d love to expand out the back to make more space for the button production. I also want to fix up the garage, not exciting, but we ran out of money with everything being over budget. Hopefully all of this within the next 3 years!

Thanks to Christen and Busy Beaver Button Co.  for letting LRR into their living room! Visit Busy Beaver Button Co. where you can order custom button, magnets and more. Do you have a button fan on your gift list? Consider picking up the Button Box  which contains one hundred colorful postcards featuring over three hundred buttons from the collection of the Busy Beaver Button Museum.

New Rental Listing: 3061 W Augusta Chicago IL 60622

Sunny, spacious and lovingly cared for 4 bedroom/2.1 bath single family home on double wide lot across the street from Humboldt Park.  Current owners extensively rehabbed the house preserving vintage charm, adding modern amenities, and thoughtful touches throughout. This home features a wide footprint, 10' ceilings, hardwood floors, original stained glass, and a side yard with many windows facing it to let in nature and light.   The main level features a foyer, spacious living and dining room with views of the park, half bath, open floor plan modern kitchen and den area with high-end cabinets, quartz counters, and  professional appliances.  The 2nd floor has 4 generously sized bedrooms, including a master suite, and a second full bath. A mud room at the back of the house leads to a gardener's dream yard with raised beds, fire pit, and perennials throughout.  The home has a full size garage and 1 car parking pad.  Conveniently located close to the Express Grand Bus and the Metra Stop at Artesian and Hubbard that takes you downtown in around 10 minutes!  Easy walk to wonderful restaurants and stores on California, Ascent Gym, and amazing location to all that Humboldt Park has to offer including tennis courts, swimming, running, park activities, and more.  Don’t miss your opportunity to live in this special home.  Smaller dogs considered.

Offered at $2,950 a month

Contact Sarah Frier at 773-860-3452 or Annie Coleman at 312-371-9293 for questions and to schedule a showing. For more pictures visit our featured listings









Ash, Bone and Fire - Exhibition from artists Christopher Michael Hefner, Jessica Joslin, and Jared Joslin

Join us at LivingRoom Realty  Friday November 2, 7 pm - 10 pm for the opening of "Ash, Bone and Fire" an exhibition from artists, Christopher Michael HefnerJessica JoslinJared Joslin


Chris, Jessica and Jared are Chicago based "creeps" with their respective specialties being divination through charcoal, resurrection of the dead, and the capturing of spirits within oil. Halloween costumes are welcome at the opening, and appreciated!!!

SHOW DATES: November 2 – November 24, 2018. VIEWING HOURS: Saturdays 12-5 pm. To receive a collector's preview, with images & prices before the opening, or schedule a visit during the show please email

Christopher Michael Hefner

Christopher Michael Hefner is a visual artist working predominantly in charcoal.  By employing some of the most elemental means for image-making, he addresses themes of Mortality, Desire and the mirage of Control.   Hefner has also directed two feature films, “THE POISONER” (2014) and “THE PINK HOTEL” (2010), and hosts a radio show on Lumpen Radio called NIGHT TIME WITH CHRIS HEFNER, which airs on Wednesday nights.

Jessica Joslin

The creatures that populate Jessica Joslin’s world are intricate fusions of bone, brass, antique hardware and other scavenged treasures. Infused with the Victorian era’s passion for natural history and arcane technology, these creatures reflect both the real and the imagined animal, the living and the dead. Through careful observation and intricate construction, they re-imagine the animal kingdom, bolt by bolt, beast by beast. Inspired by the beauty of skeletal architecture, and a passion for assemblage sculpture, Jessica Joslin began building her menagerie of mechanical animals in 1992. A monograph of her work, “Strange Nature” was published in 2008, and her work has been featured in numerous books, magazines and exhibitions worldwide.

Jared Joslin

Jared Joslin is a figurative painter who has been devoted to his craft for over 30 years. His paintings are exquisitely realistic, with a mysterious, and slightly eerie quality. He is a clever storyteller, whose symbolic scenes are flooded with luscious colors and rich details, which can easily distract the viewer from darker undercurrents of each tale. Recurring fascinations are surreal circus themes, nostalgic glamorous portraiture, and opulent floral still lives creeping with hidden creatures. Timeless yet immediate, simultaneously mysterious and direct, his portraits and still lives seem to have been painted by the feverish hand of a lucid dreamer!  If open to receive, they welcome us into a world to dream.

Home Ownership Outside the Box

How to Buy Property Cooperatively 

To Save Money and Build Community

Are you ready to own your own home, but concerned about rising real estate costs? Do you want to plan for the future or have a built in community by sharing your home with friends or family? Want to buy a commercial building and share resources? Are you interested in combining the financial, environmental, and/or community/social benefits of communal living with the security of property ownership?

If so, LivingRoom Realty's co-operative living Info sessions are for you! This new series of informal meet-ups is for anyone interested in learning more about how to successfully purchase, manage, and occupy co-operative real estate in Chicago. Join LivingRoom Realty brokers Annie Coleman & Susannah Ribstein, and co-op development consultant, Corrigan Nadon-Nichols, for this informative event. Join us for our first meet-up

Thursday Nov 1st from 6:30-8:30pm

 LivingRoom Realty 1530 W. Superior St.

Refreshments provided!

Please RSVP at

In Our LivingRoom: Meet Aaron & Vincent from East Garfield Park

Meet Aaron and Vincent, two new homeowners with serious artistic vision. Aaron and Vincent recently purchased a three bedroom, two bathroom home in East Garfield Park with the help of Susannah Ribstein and Annie Coleman of LivingRoom Realty.

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Both are Chicago transplants who were captivated by the city and couldn’t imagine leaving now. Aaron is the Director for Operations for Dynamism, Inc., a Chicago-based technology distributor focused on 3D printers and scanners.


Vincent is the Art Director of a nonprofit that supports adult artists with disabilities: Arts of Life. He also runs LVL3, a gallery and online publication supporting creative talent from all around the world. They are also the parents of a beautiful cat, Rox and an impressively photogenic pitbull named Milo.

We asked them a few questions about their journey to homeownership.

LivingRoom Realty (LRR): So, what were the deciding factors when you were selecting a neighborhood and picking out a property?

Aaron & Vincent (A&V): One of our primary concerns was being close to work. We were both coming from super easy commutes and didn’t want to change that. We were lucky enough to find a place that's almost directly in between both of our day jobs--our commutes are really only about five minutes. We also wanted to make sure that we would be able to access a grocery store, a gym, and our friends fairly easily. We did not want to go to the suburbs! 

LRR: Can you explain a bit more about that process?

A&V: Our initial goal was to buy a commercial building, start a business, and live above it. After months of trying and several business plan drafts later, the process for financing proved too difficult to secure the property we were initially after. We eventually began looking strictly at residential homes, but came across a lot of bleak looking properties that needed tons of work and were at the top of our price point. We actually overlooked this property at first, but are ultimately very happy with it.

LRR: What made you choose this particular home? What’s your favorite thing about the property?

V: I love having a finished basement. We can hang out down there, watch movies, and display our art collection. The basement also serves as a private guest space when friends and family need a place to stay. We also wanted a large closet and were able to turn a whole room into a closet here.

A: Natural light is super important to me, so the fact that the kitchen and our bedroom both get a lot of that was a big factor. Also, having a space to garden (we have an extra long lot) is huge. 

LRR: After going through it yourselves, what would you tell someone who is about to embark on the home buying process?

A&V:  Don’t rush into it; the right property will come about in time. It’s easy to get excited about a property or feel like there's nothing out there worth your time, but it’s important to avoid settling on something you aren’t thoroughly excited about.


Have a good idea of what’s important to you in terms of property characteristics, but also keep an open mind about what’s going to work realistically, and be honest about your lifestyle and needs. Obviously, finding the right agent is also crucial!

LRR: How did you incorporate your own style into the home? Tell us about any improvements you’ve made or plan to make.

A: We honestly didn't have to do much to the house since it had been renovated shortly before we bought it. The biggest things we did were paint the entire interior of the house ourselves and swap out all of the light fixtures to match our aesthetics better. 


If we could have done that over, we definitely would have hired professional painters as opposed to two people who could help us paint. That was really challenging.

V: We hope to add some curb appeal to the house and paint the exterior (at least the front) in the next few years.  We have lots of plans for the front and backyard. Aaron’s planning a pretty complex garden, and I’m looking for ways to host backyard gatherings by adding a projection screen, fire pit, barbeque, and outdoor furniture.

Thanks to Aaron & Vincent for letting LRR into their living room! 


More Air-Like Than Water by Marianne Fairbanks at LivingRoom Realty

Join us at LivingRoom Realty on Saturday, September 29th from 6 to 9 pm for the opening of Marianne Fairbank's solo exhibition, "More Air-Like Than Water."

The work presented in More Air-like than Water explores the deep meaning in geometry and abstraction as they relate to textile and graphic design vocabularies. Fairbanks approaches weaving, painting, photography and sculpture with a playfulness of process that destabilizes conventional value systems of hard and soft form-making while digging into more philosophical understandings of material vs. immaterial.

The viewer is asked to consider object as photo, photo as pattern, pattern as dimensional. Confronted simultaneously with macro and micro, foreground and background, the view is disoriented as they search for a focus. While the work fights for perceptual attention, it also encourages a deep engagement with our material world in the construction of philosophical belief systems and physical realities.

For more information about Marianne and her work or to schedule a showing, please visit her website.

Closing Tea: Saturday, October 27th from 1 to 4 pm at LivingRoom Realty.

New Listing! 3141 W Palmer Boulevard. Beautiful Home Across from Palmer Square Park in Logan

Come and see this 2 bedroom/2 bathroom condo with a welcoming open floor plan, located right on beautiful Palmer Square Park in Logan Square. Professionally-managed and well-maintained classic brick and terracotta courtyard building. Warm cherry hardwood floors and quality finishes throughout. Living room with cozy gas fireplace and thoughtful built-in shelving open onto a dining area overlooking the peaceful landscaped courtyard. Bathrooms have granite counters and marble tile, with a whirlpool tub and shower in the en-suite master bath. Large closets and hardwood floors continue in the bedrooms. Convenient in-unit laundry. A charming haven on one of Logan Square's loveliest boulevards, with restaurants, parks, and public transportation right outside.

Offered at $300,000. Open House Saturday, September 15th, 2018 1 to 3 pm. Contact Susannah Ribstein at 708-207-6590 or for questions and showing requests.



New Listing: 7137 S. Luella! Gorgeous Home on Huge Lot in South Shore

This is a rare opportunity to own this stunning 5 bedroom/4.5 bathroom limestone Tudor on an expansive 100'x125' lot in historic South Shore, blocks from the Lake. This home is a perfect combination of gracious vintage style with thoughtful modern updates. The welcoming foyer leads to a grand living room with marble fireplace, opposite a spacious dining room with original leaded glass windows. The eat-in kitchen is tastefully done with ample storage, granite, Viking & Bosch appliances. Updated entertainment room & brand-new full bath complete the ground floor. Two large en-suite bedrooms upstairs, one with a separate entrance. Master suite has a large bath with a tub. The original finished attic is perfect for a light-filled studio or rec room. Full semi-finished basement with gas fireplace is ready for your ideas. Professionally landscaped yard with patio and a 3-car garage with access for a roof deck. Just outside the front door: Metra, Lake Shore Drive, South Shore Cultural Center, Jackson Park, Obama Center site & more.

Offered at $485,000. Open House September 8th, 2018 from  12-2 pm & September 9th, 2018 from 1 to 3 pm. Contact Susannah Ribstein at 708-207-6590 or for questions and showing requests.

Carnival of Amateurs, Closing Tea - Monday, September 3rd, 2018

Please join us at LivingRoom Realty for the last opportunity to see the Joshua Lantzy's Carnival of Amateurs at the closing tea on Monday, September 3rd, from 12 - 6 PM. 

“It is in the very limitations of shadows that we learn…It is in the gap between the object and its representation that the image emerges, the gap we fill in” - William Kentridge

RSVP for this event on Facebook and for more information about Joshua Lantzy's work, please visit his website.

Landscape of the Market for Buyers Class is Back! Wednesday Sept 5th!



Join us Wednesday, September 5th from 6:30-8:30pm at LivingRoom Realty as Real Estate Broker Susannah Ribstein, Mortgage Broker Ben DeBoer, and Home Inspector Mike Lamb help guide you through the landscape of home purchasing.  Whether you are planning to buy a home this fall or in 2 years this class will help you get prepared.  Topics to be discussed are:

– The pre-approval process and preparing your finances – Step by step overview of home buying process – Loan products available in today’s market – What are closing costs incl. a detailed breakdown – How to decide on what type of property to buy – What to expect from a home inspection – What to look for in a building – Tips for saving for home improvements

Food and drinks will be provided. Please RSVP at, so we can plan appropriately. We look forward to seeing you!

Carnival of Amateurs a solo show by Joshua Lantzy at LivingRoom

Join us at LivingRoom on Saturday August 18th from 7-10pm for the opening of Joshua Lantzy's Carnival of Amateurs: stories of making told through drawings and objects, mythology and metaphor.


“It is in the very limitations of shadows that we learn…It is in the gap between the object and its representation that the image emerges, the gap we fill in” - William Kentridge