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Design Dose

May 2008

9 years
ago

 

Shedding Light on Color

Anyone who’s ever tried to paint a wall yellow knows that color can be extremely tricky and changes in different lights. That’s why we were excited to hear that Benjamin Moore is opening a showroom in the Mart by June 9 in suite 1686. It will be open only to designers and architects, so if you have one, get yours to take you over for expert color viewing. They’re tricking the place out with state-of-the-art lighting technology that lets you see colors in a range of lights (daylight, natural, incandescent, and halogen).

Photograph courtesy of Benjamin Moore

9 years
ago

 

The Flea Marketeers

Adam Moroschan, our trusty associate art director, had another big idea. Why not head to opening day at the Randolph Market Festival and design a room on location using our favorite finds? We could call it “On the Spot” and post big Chicago Home + Garden signs at the market promoting it.  I believe he used the words “make it a spectacle.” Then, he said, we’ll publish the results in our special September/October eco-chic-design issue (after all, isn’t reusing and repurposing old treasures the best way to recycle?). So in true Adam form, he got it all together, right down to the perfectly art-directed fine weather!

I pull into port on Saturday, May 24, at 7:57 a.m. (the market opens at 10 but we spy plenty of in-the-know early birds.) The first find of the day? Front-of-the-gate, rock star parking. Let this be a sign. I head in, heart already racing (did I mention I am a flea market junkie?) to find Larry Vodak of Scout already perusing the rows (his home will get its close-up in our next issue, after all). I meet the crew  (shown above from left to right; I’m the one crouched at the bottom): Matt Gilson (photog and fellow collector), Nellie Williams (intern of all interns!), David Ettinger (Matt’s ace assistant), and the aforementioned Adam. We set up our backdrop and let the fun begin.

Dashing up and down the aisles snapping pics of ideas and taking copious notes (thanks, Nellie), we decide a few of our finds would anchor well on a ruddy red and grey Turkish rug. It is said to have mystical powers. Who wouldn’t want that? We haul it over, and begin to build our room. Pairs of chairs, a settee, a mod coffee table (hey, is that Saarinen?). A wooden ironing board (yes, we repurpose it in our room). Hmmm. Feel like home yet? One of the most exciting parts of the day is that our picks begin to sell right off the set. My favorite part is adding the extras (dealers call them smalls – I call them personality) that make it look like someone lives there. Vintage specs on a side table and a retro cocktail glass. Shells from a vacation destination. Auction catalogs and old books. It’s nearing 11:12 a.m., and Matt snaps some pics. The crowd gathers. They are brimming with queries and offers to buy.

Shown at top right is a sneak peek of a few of our finds. Stay tuned for more in the September/October issue. To hear about some of my favorite ideas on flea marketing, tune in here for a recent interview with Sally Schwartz (owner of the market) and me on Nate Berkus’s Oprah and Friends show on XM Radio. A big shout out to Sally for her support (shown above, to the right of Nate). It’s good old-fashioned fun.

9 years
ago

 

Lulu Book Release Party



The party for textile designer Lulu de Kwiatkowski’s new book Lulu (AMMO) at Elements was hopping. The preggers designer sat up front signing her gorgeous folio with one of the evening’s hosts, Nate Berkus, sitting at her side and cracking jokes. “Let me answer that,” he quipped when I asked the authoress about the inspiration for her book. She told us (or actually, her PR person told us later, as she was so busy greeting admirers one felt bad making her go too deep) it was “all about the journey of the artist–how you get to where you are going.” And indeed these collage-style pages with diary entries and snapshots of family and friends, alongside original botanical art by Kwiatkowski herself, give you a peak inside her very creative mind. The other eye candy was Elements itself. The new store is amazing.

Photos by Barry Brecheisen

9 years
ago

 

Maxalto Opening in Chicago

Chicago will be the first city in the U.S. to get a freestanding Maxalto store (it’s opening June 6 at 309 W. Superior St. in River North). This collection by Antonio Citterio is part of B&B Italia but has a more classic look, with lines inspired by French design of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. —Gina Bazer

9 years
ago

 

Art Director to the Rescue


So, I mentioned on an earlier blog that I got a house. And here it is! Yay! The windows, though charming, are super-old and we are replacing them with new vinyl windows (I know, not ideal, but the place has 33 windows and we are on a budget!). I’ve been mulling over getting aluminum mullions put on these ho-hum newbies to preserve the original 1920s look, but when I mentioned this to our art director (and general in-house maven about everything that looks and doesn’t look good!) she told me that we must consider our options in Photoshop. What a beautiful thing! She got rid of the mullions to show me what the windows would look like with nothing, and I’m so relieved. I don’t need to order these fakey embellishments. The place looks better without them. Now she’s on another mission. Helping me decide whether to go with white windows or dark brown, given that I will eventually want to re-stucco the house in a different color. I will keep you posted. Anyone else have opinions on this? Please share!

9 years
ago

 

Hunting Season



Ladies and gentlemen. Straight from the farms of Sterling, Illinois, starring center stage in their first-ever appearance at Randolph Street Market Festival (formerly Chicago Antique Market): Rick and Linda Gibson of Henhouse Furniture and Antiques. We dig their one-of-a-kind pieces as well as their “yeah, we can make that from old wood for you” offerings (they’ll make you a killer kitchen island, like the one shown here). Stellar craftsmanship and sweet people to boot. If you’ve never been to the Chicago Antique Market, season five promises to be a hit. New name, same game. Go early. Go often. And look for us (we’ll be there opening day for a special feature we’re doing called “On the Spot,” designing a room with pieces we find at the market that day). Opening weekend Saturday, May 24, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, May 25, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Photos:
Randolph Street Market Festival by Keith Portman
custom kitchen island from Henhouse Furniture & Antiques

9 years
ago

 

Old is New Again


While looking for parking on Damen Avenue last week, I ran into an old friend I wanted to be sure you knew: Daniels Antiques. The Ashland Avenue warehouse shuttered about a year ago and this juicy new incarnation (at 2062 N. Damen Ave.) popped open with no fanfare, offering more of its ever-changing mix of mid-century modern and other antiquities of all ages. Georg Jensen pitcher anyone? Edward Wormley for Dunbar furniture? A 17th-century map? Guilty pleasures abound. Be schmoozy and get invited to the warehouse space the owner still maintains (a mainstay for decorators).

9 years
ago

 

Apartment Therapy’s Small, Cool Party


My favorite design blog, Apartment Therapy, recently sponsored a contest, Small Cool 2008, in which design-savvy people living in less than 850 square feet competed for Room & Board gift certificates and accolades. I was one of the judges, who took readers’ picks and helped choose four winners from the semi-finalists. Apartment Therapy founder Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan flew to Chicago for the party last week, where the winners were announced. We were thrilled that a Chicagoan (and one of my picks) made it to the top four; see it here. We also hope to publish photos of this apartment—located in the iconic Marina City—in a future issue.

9 years
ago

 

Maison Rouge

“Horse Mane,” photo by Ron Seymour

“That Guy’s Gotta Stop,” mixed media on canvas by Peter Mars

One of the great joys in my life is settling down with a large Diet Coke for an indie film or two at the Landmark Theatres in the Century Shopping Centre, but I usually just avoid the mall shops on the winding road up to my Shangri-lobby. It’s pretty much Retail Without a Cause, unless you’re in the market for board games based on reality television, or some cloyingly sweet body lotions (who are these customers demanding to smell like gingerbread pancakes, anyway?). But there is an unusual, salon-style gallery on the third floor called Maison Rouge that I’ll drop by now and then, and always see cool stuff. I like the WPA-ishness of some of the photos and paintings, and noted Chicago artists like Ed Paschke, Tony FitzPatrick, and Marc Hauser can often be spotted. This Peter Mars painting popped out to me, as did the black-and-white horse photos of Ron Seymour. The eclectic gallery also carries a great selection of sculpture, vintage silver items like watches and frames, and African-American art.

Images courtesy Maison Rouge



 

9 years
ago

 

Alessandra Branca Opening


Alessandra Branca threw a party to celebrate the opening of her new home furniture and accessories store at 17 E. Pearson St. last week and it was quite a bash. The place, which is set up much like an elegant home, is full of fun finds (like the African feather headdresses pictured here) and antique glass radiometers on pedestal bases, along with china, silverware, Branca’s favorite design books, antique chairs recovered in modern fabrics, and tons more. Her PR guy, recently relocated here from New York, said he didn’t know of another store like it in this area, and I had to agree (maybe the just-opened Michael Del Piero’s Good Design; see our May 7 blog entry)? Or Elements… But it’s true that this is one store truly curated by its owner, with a great mix of old and new things that all seem fresh and modern, even if firmly grounded in the traditional. Elegant and charming—just like Branca herself.

9 years
ago

 

Lovely Lanterns


Interior designer Kara Mann just sent over pics of some new lanterns from Casamidy that she is carrying at her showroom. They are so cool, I want one in every room of my new house (about which I will soon be sharing—so exciting!). They are meant for the outdoors, of course, but I like the idea of pretending that I live in a medieval French castle. (At least for now, while the electrician is updating some of the wiring in our new, um, old place).

Photos courtesy Kara Mann

9 years
ago

 

Post27


It’s always fun to drive west on Grand Avenue and discover a new storefront. The good stuff always pops on this strip of old warehouses and invariably (at least in my case) leads to a near-collision. A recent discovery is Post27 (1819 W. Grand Ave., 312-829-6122; you’ll read more about it in our July/August issue) in the old location of Olde Good Things. With a cool mix of vintage (lots of mid-century Scandinavian pieces) and new American-made accessories that all have a cool, eco-stylish slant, the place feels very indie and hip. Here’s a decorating tip: they have Thomas Paul rugs hanging on the walls as art. Love that for a loft space!

9 years
ago

 

The New Bronze Age


Two great local companies have teamed up to produce a new line of cabinetry with gorgeous hardware. Jill Salisbury of el: Environmental Language has partnered with New Bronze Age Tile to come up with sustainable new cabinet doors in her el: Kitchen line. These fab new doors—in sustainable rift-cut oak or walnut—feature custom metal inlays and handles.

9 years
ago

 

Green Design Party


Sit down, relax, and don’t worry about global warming. (Well, worry about it a little.) You’ll be helping the environment when you lounge in Roscoe Jackson’s new line of recycled plastic outdoor furniture (look for these cool chairs in our July/August issue!). Also try on some eco-conscious attire from Pivot boutique, and check out the much-talked-about Smart Car. Get a 25-percent-off discount on an item from Pivot when you purchase the guilt-free lawn loungers or make a Smart car reservation. If you are already the proud driver of one of these groovy tiny new automobiles, pull up in yours and feel extra cool. Hors d’oeuvres from Carnival will also make an appearance. May 15, 5 to 8 p.m., at Pivot Boutique, 1101 W. Fulton Mkt. Click here for more details.

Photo courtesy of about.com.

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