Insider Interview Chicago: Kara Mann

By: Katie Manning

January 8, 2013

Having designed some of the most upscale homes and spaces in Chicago, interior designer Kara Mann knows about all things gorgeous in the Windy City. Get to know the design diva and her Chicago tips in our Kara Mann interview.

What about Chicago inspires your design choices?

Everything about Chicago inspires my design. The skyline. The lakefront. The people. It all comes through in my work. I constantly play on my surroundings, whether in the colour palette I select or the curvature of a chair.

Where in Chicago do you love to hunt for home accessories and why?

Revival is a one-stop shop for vintage furnishings and accessories for inside and outside the home. They have an eclectic and curated collection of ever-evolving inventory and the staff are always friendly and helpful.

Kara Mann DesignsKara Mann designs © Kara Mann

What is your favourite restaurant?

Avec. Hands down. Effortlessly chic and infinitely delicious, nothing compares to it. Its handmade charcuterie is to die for and the selection of wine is brilliant – you can get loads of them by the glass, which is great for experimenting. It’s also really reasonably priced and they’re very relaxed about which courses you have or combine with each other. Perfection.

Avec | ChicagoAvec, Chicago © Avec

When you want a great glass of wine or a cocktail, where do you go?

NoMI Kitchen and Garden. The only thing better than the crowd is the cocktail menu. There’s also a beautiful garden area which is perfect for relaxing in, and failing that, a spa that with every treatment you are given a bite of food or sip of (healthy) drink to “complement’ your spa course”¦!

NoMI Spa | ChicagoNoMI Spa © NoMI

After you’ve completed a big job, how do you reward yourself?

The ultimate reward for me is clothes, of course. I head straight to Ikram on East Huron Street for my fashion fix. With designs from the likes of Alexander McQueen, Celine, Nina Ricci, Manolo Blahnik and Massimo Alba, it’s hard to stay away for too long”¦ Try the café for lunch too – its menu changes daily according to what produce is available from local farmers’ markets.

Ikram | ChicagoIkram, Chicago © Ikram

Check out Kara’s truly stunning interiors at her website: – and you can follow her on twitter @karamanndesign.


Katie Manning

Katie is an author for the Virgin Atlantic blog. Despite her urban London residency, Katie can often be found exploring far-flung corners of the globe in search of exciting new experiences and stories. A self-confessed night-owl, she makes it her mission to search out the best cocktail bars and live music venues on each and every expedition. Follow Katie @kt_saramanning

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