Ever since she was a kid growing up in rural Illinois, Homepolish Chicago's Megan Born has been obsessed with design, and it shows in all aspects of her life.
Photos by Dustin Halleck.
Megan! You’re one of our original Homepolish Chicago designers. How long have you been with the team?
“I’ve been Homepolish for 2.5 years, just after the company started work in this city.”
How did you land in design before coming on board?
“I grew up in the tiniest town in Central Illinois, not even a stoplight small. Like many designers, I was the kid constantly rearranging my bedroom (like moving the dresser by my scrawny self) and asking my dad to paint my walls again and again. One of my favorite things to do growing up was to go on trips to Menards with my dad and grab paint chips and laminate countertop samples. I never thought about making it a career until I decided to take an interior design class in high school. My teacher encouraged me to make a life of it. Then, as soon as I had the chance, I moved three hours north to Chicago and have been here almost 10 years!”
Like many designers, I was the kid constantly rearranging my bedroom (like moving the dresser by my scrawny self) and asking my dad to paint my walls again and again.
Wow, so you have a pretty long history with design! In that time, have you had any design heroes?
“I’ve come to appreciate Frank Lloyd Wright so much for his attention to every detail, down to how the bricks on his homes were laid! I also have a serious crush on Amber Interiors. I love that you can pick her homes out from a million miles away because every one of them is so well done, so different yet so similar.”
Definitely worth admiring. As a designer, it’s important to develop your aesthetic but still make it unique for each client. What would you say your style is?
“That’s one of the hardest questions for a designer! I hadn’t quite come up with the perfect way to describe my personal design style until I saw a comment on one of my Homepolish projects featured on Instagram that described the room as ‘simple yet lovely.’ I think that hits the nail on the head.”
How does this style affect your design decisions?
“This simple approach affects my color palette. Anyone that knows me, knows I love me some white paint. I especially love when people doubt my decision to paint a room white, because it seems like such a boring choice. In the end, they see just how magical it really is. Walls, trim, kitchen cabinets, furniture… you can’t go wrong. Decorators White by Benjamin Moore is my fave. That said, I’m not opposed to color… some of my Homepolish projects have incorporated deep teal walls or saturated magenta rugs.”
What’s a space that you’ve seen that best embodied that white-on-white look?
“I have so many favorite restaurants and hotels that I love because of the streamlined design, but my latest favorite is The Modern Honolulu Hotel in Hawaii. They used over 21 different shades of white paint throughout the hotel and it’s SO stunning! When we find the perfect plot of land to build my dream pre-fab, I’m hoping the master bed and bath looks a little something like the room we stayed at in the Modern.”
Wait. What’s this about a dream home?
“My husband and I talk about our dream home all the time! A modern pre-fab on a wooded lot with a big backyard for my daughter to play in with our imaginary dog. White walls, cozy furniture, and lots of windows. The problem is we have no idea where this dream home sits. We adore the city life in Chicago, but we know it’s not a forever thing. Open to suggestions!”
My husband and I talk about our dream home all the time! A modern pre-fab on a wooded lot with a big backyard.
Haha, maybe back in Honolulu! Back to real life though, is there a space you’ve designed that’s your current favorite?
“My favorite project of all time was probably for this couple in Lincoln Park who had just moved into a gorgeous new construction penthouse. White was the theme throughout the condo. These clients had expensive taste and (for once) a budget to support their impeccable style. White sofas, white rugs, lacquered consoles, lucite legs layered with textured white sheepskins, knits and hides, touches of brass and sparkling lights. Absolutely gorgeous. You can see a similar space in Laura Branning’s home.”
Again, you’re in love with simplicity! Does this cross over into other aspects of your life?
“My wardrobe is pretty darn basic but classic. I made the mistake of reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo while pregnant last year and when it was time to put on my pre-preggo pants I realized I got rid of every last pair. Seriously. I highly recommend the book… but maybe not while pregnant. (As a side note, this is a good book suggestion for clients who have way too much stuff, but you don’t know how to tell them.) It makes getting dressed in the morning so much easier. Not to mention, it’s one less decision I have to make every day!”
We have quite a few Marie Kondo fans in the Homepolish office as well! Oh, good tip for clients! And are there other design projects you’d like to tell us about outside of Homepolish?
“I love to dabble in graphic design. I have so many ideas but don’t know how to execute most of them, so luckily, I found a graphic designer to marry. Together we make a lot of things (mostly for fun). Websites, t-shirts, bumper stickers (seriously, I made my own “Baby on Board” sticker because the generic ones suck), invitations, greeting cards, and posters. We even designed this “Good as Gold” tee recently to raise money for the Shriners Children’s Hospital since our daughter is a Shriners patient!”
Sounds like your style might be simple, but your life is nothing but!
For more, follow Megan on Instagram at @megnborn!