Fendi Casa’s embossed black leather and chrome table and chairs (left), with a Fendi chandelier. A gray oak Binova kitchen enclosed behind glass and aluminum doors by Rimadesio (right). Fendi Casa’s crocodile-embossed leather sofa with a concrete and Lucite lamp by Jan Jander.
Before Jeffery Smith renovated his kitchen two years ago, he did what anyone would do: he comparison-shopped. But when he asked a local kitchen dealer for a quote, he got an unexpected reply. “The salesperson said that if I needed to compare quotes, then I wasn’t their kind of customer,” Smith recalls. So he took his business elsewhere-and the woman who eventually sold him his $50,000 Boffi Soho kitchen became his business partner.
In February, Tatjana Ozegobic and Smith opened Haute Living in River North to offer high-end contemporary home furnishings (and one kitchen line) without an attitude. “I’ve lived all over Europe, and always felt a genuine interest from anyone who sold me furniture,” Smith says. “But here, I’ve experienced such indifference. I wanted to change that.”
Smith sells image in his 4,000-square-foot showroom, driven largely by his complete collection of museum-quality Fendi Casa furniture and home accessories, which the venerable Italian fashion house has produced for more than 20 years but only recently began marketing in the United States. The look comes at a price: bed linens are between $1,800 and $2,500 for a set, a Swarovski crystal chandelier is $16,000, and a crocodile-embossed leather sofa is $18,000.
Also available are concrete and Lucite lighting by Chicago designer Jan Jander, Binova kitchens, and Rimadesio doors and closets (the latter two are Italian lines new to the U.S.). And in March, the showroom debuted ten new pieces by design legend Vladimir Kagan, whose mid-20th-century pieces are collected by the likes of Madonna and Tom Ford. 222 W. Kinzie St., 312-329-9000, haute-living.com.
Photograph: Matthew Gilson