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Chicago Homeowners

From a former butcher shop in the West Loop to a modernist bungalow in Mayfair, these Chicago homes have one thing in common: owners who can't stop improving them.

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Circular but true: when you buy a home it's yours. There's no landlord to blame for the Disney-theme flocked wallpaper (Pluto's got fur!) or the conversation pit upholstered in Mayfair plaid leather. It's your taste, energy, skill, and cold hard cash that determine what goes in, and on, your house. Essentially, it's you. The people profiled here have taken that fact to heart. An architect and contractor have turned a modest bungalow into a lab for their professional creativity. Another couple has turned a two-flat into an ongoing tutorial for fellow DIY remodelers. The plastic surgeon has found a mission in restoring a disfigured mansion. The spiritual granddaddies of them all, Edgar Miller and Sol Kogen, created a fantasia that was still evolving more than half a century after they started. And all of them would probably empathize with artist Brian Bonebrake, who calls his duplex apartment "a giant piece of installation art that's always in progress."

We're on the lookout for other special spaces, so if you know someone who's done something cool to their house—or condo or loft or garden or garage—please let us know at

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