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BIG THINKERS Real estate investor Ryan Cahalan and photographer Mary Carol Fitzgerald were the driving force behind newly formed creative collective, Live Edge Chicago.

 

CRAFTY COMBO Through their company BGD&C, Rodger Owen and Charles Grode are the talent behind many of the cities finest homes.

 

WONDER WOMEN Design partners Melissa Lewis and Cari Giannoulias have differing styles that they masterfully combine into a cohesive, unique look. 

BETTER TOGETHER 2Design Group is comprised of a talented team that provides full-service interior design services, along with their own retail store. 

Best of Design: Best Collabs

In our homes and around town, this city is bursting with stop-and-stare design. Here, a celebration of the places, people and products keeping Chicago front and center in the design spotlight. 

Best Art & Design Collective
Live Edge Chicago

Equal parts furniture showroom, gallery and event space, the Live Edge Chicago operation didn’t take long to get on our radar. Founded by Chicago-based photographer Mary Carol Fitzgerald with real estate investor Ryan Cahalan, metalworker Robert Koch and artist Roman Maliszewski, the Lakeview creative collective set out to establish not just a retail space for their own expertly crafted pieces, but a unique exhibition outlet for emerging artists and creatives. The hand-crafted woodworks coexist beautifully with custom steel cabinets and pieces from Fitzgerald’s own portfolio of fine art photography, along with a rotating roster of local artists. With direct access to some of best hardwoods in the country, the beauty of the one-of-a-kind pieces—such as black walnut tables and benches ($7,500)—are enhanced by the carefully curated gallery environment. 3633 N. Ashland Ave., 312.884.9411

Best Builders
BGD&C Luxury Custom Home Builders

Rodger Owen pivoted from buying and rehabbing old homes in the Gold Coast and facilitating real estate investments when the tax laws changed in 1986. With Charles Grode, who had just joined as partner, the duo formed a small general contracting firm that catered to the city’s high-end architects. They received so much positive feedback and work that they decided to move forward with the concept and formed BGD&C Luxury Custom Home Builders. Today, with more than 30 years’ experience, their reputation for quality, service and timeless aesthetics precedes them and can be seen in the details and millwork of many fine homes around the city. 875 N. Michigan Ave., 312.255.8300

Best Design Team
2Design Group

At the height of the recession in 2009, founders of 2Design Group Christine Moritz and Trisha Cohen took the ultimate risk and started a new business together. Not only did they survive the market downturn; the firm thrived and has since expanded with a full-service design empire that includes a bigger team, a retail shop, a second location in Denver and a new partner, Pawel Witkowski in Chicago. Their design work correlates with their business trajectory in that each project is fresh, inspired and a skilled combination of their talents, always reflecting the personality of their client. This butler’s pantry for a family that loves pattern and color by one of their senior designers, Maria Kulesa, shows that they are able to impart some fun and personality into their work too, no doubt a physical extension of a great working relationship. 1631 W. Belmont Ave., 773.248.7637

Best Design Duo
Lewis Giannoulias Interiors

With a combined experience of 18 years and an impressive portfolio of stunning high-end projects, Melissa Lewis and Cari Giannoulias, principals of Lewis Giannoulias Interiors, are a true dynamic duo. In fact, they founded their design firm after collaborating on a large-scale residential project and realizing their complementary styles and work ethic were a great match: Lewis’ custom-designed pieces marry beautifully with Giannoulias’ bohemian sensibilities to create unique interiors that are never lacking character. Case in point: this eclectic-chic living room in a Lincoln Park home designed by the pair. Customized modern pieces like a Christian Liaigre sofa slipcovered in white linen set the stage for ethnic touches like an antique Moroccan coffee table. A modern sisal is layered with an antique rug from Oscar Isberian, just another example of how their different tastes combine and exemplify the mantra they work by: livable luxury. 910 W. Van Buren St., Ste. 603, 312.455.8000

Best of Design: At Home
Best of Design: Out & About 
Best of Design: Best in Biz
Best of Design: Products & Pieces