A New Chicago Bed-and-Breakfast Occupies a Former Publishing House

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By Melissa Dalton
Aptly named The Publishing House, a just-opened bed-and-breakfast in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood avoids the kitsch of traditional B&Bs.

Instead, the owners and hosts, Shawn Uldridge and Kimberly Lowerly, sought to preserve the building's historic character and infuse it with decor that's both stylish and homey, making for a refreshing B&B experience.  

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Constructed in 1909, the building was named for its original occupants, The Free Methodist Publishing House, before it became the Museum of Holography, and was bought by the new owners in 2012. They tapped Nushu Architecture and contractor Vero Design + Build for a renovation of the structure to include 11 bedrooms, a capacious communal area, a kitchen, and a fully-equipped lounge. 

Nushu describes the results on their website: "The interior brings to fore the building's sometimes quirky original structure, and maximizes natural light, views, and an expansive floor plate." Finished guest rooms were then named for local literary luminaries such as Upton Sinclair, Sandra Cisneros, and Saul Bellow.

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For the interiors, Nicole Alexander of Siren Betty Design combined a colorful palette with an impressive collection of vintage pieces, which was assembled over a two-year scavenging period at flea markets around the country. She mixed restored finds—like a buffet refinished in teal automotive paint—with original art, Persian rugs, and in the communal room, a brass chandelier fabricated by the local Wayward Machine Company.  

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High ceilings, exposed brick walls, and refinished wood floors now coexist with modern interventions, such as the stairwell composed of sapele, glass, and steel, and custom maple built-ins in the cozy library lounge. Time to pick up a copy of The House on Mango Street and tuck in.

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