BY BARRETT NEWKIRK
Medill News Service
CHICAGO | Chicagoans now have the same localized resource for cheap, hip home decorating ideas that residents of New York City and Los Angeles have had for years.
Apartment Therapy Chicago, a blog of home interior ideas and tips, was launched in April. It's the third member of a family of Web sites revolving around the philosophy that a flat that's under the weather puts its occupant in the same mood.
The site, //chicago.apartmenttherapy.com, probably won't elevate the entire city's spirits, but it could reveal some of Chicago's best kept design secrets.
"In New York it seems like shops and products and design-type things are everywhere," said Heather Blaha, one of the site's editors. "If you're out walking around Chicago you have to look for them a little bit more."
Blaha, 29, said she's been encouraged to take inspiration from her own living space and that the search for good content is continuous.
"I talk to a lot of friends. I look at a lot of magazines. I wander around the city a lot," she said.
Other recent posts have included a list of recommended IKEA bathroom accessories priced under $10 and a list of furniture Blaha found for sale on Craig's List.
She said the site will focus on furnishings and retail stores and eventually branch out into services and artists as the blog's following builds.
Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, cofounder of Apartment Therapy, launched the New York blog in 2004, followed by Los Angeles last year. A trained interior designer, he continues to work with clients in tandem to managing the collection of blogs. He still edits the New York site.
"Everything I do for clients goes into the blog and vice verse," he said. He called blogging "a glorified side job," which he does with the help of his wife, brother, and a small support staff.
"Our goal was that we wouldn't get rich, but that (the blog) would pay for itself and pay us for what we do," Gillingham-Ryan said.