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Prof. Jennifer Brier interviews homeowners for Illinois Humanities project and exhibition

"Everyone's a Designer/Everyone's Design" offers a peek into the heart of some fascinating Chicago homes

Where you live is, for better or for worse, an expression of who you are. Some people, though, are better at expressing themselves through design than others. The new traveling exhibit "Everyone's a Designer/Everyone's Design," which has its opening reception tonight, celebrates five especially distinctive Chicago homes.

The staff at Illinois Humanities chose the five homes, each from a different corner of Chicago, and one which no longer exists. Jennie Brier, a historian at the University of Illinois-Chicago, sat down with the homeowners for a recorded interview. The interviews will be screened at the exhibition, which will travel throughout the fall and winter to the neighborhood where each of the homes is located before concluding at the Chicago Cultural Center.

"It was an incredible thing to do, to go to different places, talk to people, see the neighborhoods," says Brier. "In a couple of cases, the homes were built from almost nothing, and they were renovated in way that was so dramatic. It was also incredible to see how deeply heartfelt their experience of designing the interior of their home was, how it reflects who they are, what they think of the home, what they think about their role as residents in these homes."

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