People often ask, “What’s the best part of your job?”

It’s not what you might think.

Sure, having access to fabulous homes is a thrill.

But the joy for me is entering a home as a stranger and leaving as a friend.

More often than not, an interview starts with a handshake and ends with a hug.

It’s a great feeling to make those connections. And a privilege to be trusted to get the story right.

Readers lead us to the best homes. Ellie Archer and Mary Jochim tied for Tipster of the Year in 2019. Both have wide circles of friends with eclectic styles and tastes — an editor’s dream when you’re fishing for leads. Mary’s own Egyptian-themed downtown condo, with design by Julia Russell, (“Gift of the Nile,” March-April, 2019) was a personal fave.

Five things I’ve learned about you, our readers:

You love Before & After features. Our online galleries get thousands of clicks. Two extraordinarily popular features: Glass artist Tyler Curnes’ two-year transformation of a 1915 gas station into an apartment home and studio in Elkhorn (“Olde Towne Triumph,” September-October, 2019) and Chris and Chelsea Samson’s transformation of a 1890s farmhouse near Fort Calhoun (“Find. Renovate. Repeat.” online-only, February 2019).

You’re crazy for Historic Gems. On the hit parade: Jim Kieffer and Gary Lopez’s Tudor Revival in historic Council Bluffs (January-February 2019); Sandra and Bert Murray’s 1928 English Tudor on Fremont’s Nye Avenue (May-June 2019); Eryn and Ben Swan’s perfect blend of old and new in a Bemis Park beauty (July-August 2019).

You are gardeners, eager for advice, tips and anything else from our resident authority, Marjie Ducey. You’re impressive landscapers, too. Bob and Janelle Goding, I’m talking to you! A mountain stream is the centerpiece of their backyard oasis (July-August 2019).

Bob and Gerry_2016-07-25 OWH 132 N. 33rd St.0966.jpg

Bob Benzel and Gerry Sullivan staged a lovely garden party shoot in 2017.

You excel in hospitality. Bread baking with Chris Allen included brunch, complete with Grandma Adler’s cinnamon rolls. And then there was the time when Bob Benzel and Gerry Sullivan pulled out the stops for a garden party shoot, complete with twinkle lights, floral arrangements and chandelier (“Urban Oasis,” July-August, 2017).

You’re creative, even if you don’t see yourself that way. I can’t tell you how many times we hear, “My home may not be good enough for your magazine but …” And then a sneak peek blows us away. The spaces that grace our pages each issue made selecting our 10 favorite interiors of the decade a challenging but glorious trip down memory lane.

All of this warms our hearts, dear readers.

Thank you for your affirmations.

Here’s to a new decade of Inspired Living!

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Chris is a magazine and special sections editor for The World-Herald. She writes on lifestyle topics and trends, including interior design, travel and fashion. Follow her on Instagram @chrischristen and Twitter @cchristenOWH. Phone: 402-444-1094.

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