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Carrie Barker is not the type to leave any details overlooked. Especially when it came to the new home she and husband Brad were building.

The couple built a home in Mahomet in 2013, after having lived in a southwestern Champaign neighborhood for six years.

They bought a spec home in Champaign from Premier Homes, and they were quite happy with it, especially with the features such as crown molding and tray ceilings.

Long before they built their Danville home, Dave and Susan Warner were collecting materials they’d use in the home. The couple loves architecture, and they like to see old architectural materials repurposed.

“We’d been salvaging for probably 10 years before we built,” Dave said. “I’d see something and say, ‘We’ve got to have that. I don’t know where we’re going to put it, but we’ve got to have it.’”

The two wanted a bigger home, and they thought they wanted an older home. But most older homes they saw needed a lot of updating, “or they have little bitty rooms,” Susan said.

An open, modern space recreated from a small older home.

This vintage Airstream was restored using sustainable materials.

Home showcases environmentally friendly features


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Sakanaya is a Japanese restaurant in Campustown that offers something different from the many fast-food options.

Owner Jin Park said he had long wanted to open a restaurant in Champaign when he met Tommy Lim, who is now Sakanaya’s chef. The two opened the higher-end sushi and ramen restaurant in November 2013.

“Everything is cafeteria-style (in Campustown),” Park said. “I wanted to give a better dining experience to students.”

The appearance of the restaurant at 403 E. Green St. stands out as well, with a wood-paneled exterior and a modern industrial feel inside.

Authentic Mexican dishes, margaritas a specialty at Fiesta Cafe.

Bayern Stube serves authentic German food.

Two sisters add their own touch to desserts

Thinking beyond burgers and steaks


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Jim Bier created a garden modeled on those he's admired in Japan.

Sandra and David Lampert have filled their property with trees, shade plants, and annual and perennial flowers.

Margaret Dillon grows colorful flowers she loves that are easy to care for.

The garden offers more flavorful varieties than the grocery store.

Kay Gilliland's Savoy garden is filled with perennials and decorative items.


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Tile has a rich and varied history in decor, from Roman floor mosaics to majolica to Delft ceramics to Mexican terracotta.
These styles and more continue to inspire artistry. Many of the newest collections of ceramic and porcelain tile were on display last fall at the five-day Cersaie international exhibition in Bologna, Italy.

A fire warms the room on the lower level of Kevin McGill’s  house, the place he calls his man cave/art studio. The fire heats a bowl of peanuts sitting on top of the stove. A pipe sits on a nearby table as McGill works, winding thread around and around and around a metal spring held in a vise.

Brightly colored deer hair is attached to the spring. And after he applies a layer of glue, McGill adds tinsel — similar to what you might put on your Christmas tree — and some small orange feathers.

Jody Littleton of Champaign has found a way to remember her late grandmother every day as well as display a collection of jewelry she received from her grandmother.

Littleton’s grandmother, Josephine Tewel, collected turquoise and silver jewelry. She wore much of it, but toward the end of her life she passed on the collection to Littleton.

Jerry Savage aims to comment on social issues with his paintings and sculpture.

The costumes for the annual production of "The Nutcracker" are a visual treat.



When Theresa and Thomas Kohl bought their St. Joseph home in 2004, it was very beige. The walls were beige. The carpet was beige.

Organizers help clients declutter, organize their homes

A new showerhead lets you listen to your playlist in the shower.

Maps are a great way to decorate, and remember a great trip or a childhood home.

Homeowners change the look of their house with a wraparound porch


Designing a kitchen in five (not so) easy steps.

A love of food and budget-consciousness are competing factors in Amy's kitchen remodel.

Amy has a new appreciation for countertops, as her new concrete counters are installed.

Galvanized tubs make great planters.

A move to a new home prompts memories of what the old one meant to a family, their lives there literally marking the home.