#106, Arlington Heights, IL
Lest I be accused of hating on brick, I should preface this by saying that few things meet my eye more approvingly than a good brick wall, preferably one in a state of artful semi-decay. But there's just a quality to the brick work in a lot of Chicago's suburbs that just rubs me the wrong way. You see it mostly in those boxy bungalows they built in the 50's like they were going out of style. (In this case, they were out of style to begin with, so they have simply folded still farther inward on their own ugliness with the passing of time.) The colors are unappetizing, the textures unpleasantly rough, and there's just. So. Much of it. So I do appreciate it when a brave soul tries to brighten up the dullness with something unique and homespun. There's a block in Arlington Heights (the town where I was born) that has a whole series of these hand-crafted address signs: a squirrel nibbling on a nut for 117, a jaunty girl behind the wheel of a Studebaker in 110. Yet there is something creepy about these three whitewashed trees that I can't quite put my finger on.