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Treasure Hunter

At Architectural Artifacts, his huge store in Ravenswood, Stuart Grannen holds court in a kingdom of the beautiful, the rescued, and the reclaimed

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In the foyer of Architectural Artifacts, his 80,000-square-foot antiques and architectural elements store at 4325 North Ravenswood Avenue, Stuart Grannen is contemplating >>>


a table. To reach him, you have to walk past a French art deco glass door etched with an aquatic scene ($8,500), an Argentine wood pipe display stool ($4,500), and a four-foot-tall carved marble crucifix that was purchased today by the diocese of Omaha, Nebraska. There, next to an eight-foot-tall stone fireplace surround ($32,000), he stands beside a futuristic glass-and-steel table suitable for the Jetson family dining room.

“This isn’t really my style,” says Grannen, 49, as he studies the piece, a 1980s techno design similar to that of the English architect Norman Foster’s Nomos table. There is no price tag on the table yet; it has just arrived in the store, and now that it has been set up Grannen seems a bit unsure about it. “Do I even like this?” he asks. The contrast between Grannen and the sleekly contained Argentine table is strong-the table is a pristine slab of thick glass held aloft by a steel grasshopper-cum-gecko creature. Wearing shorts and sandals, and with his long, curly hair pulled back in a ponytail, Grannen resembles a cleaner, spiffed-up version of a 1960s hippie. And instead of sharp edges, there is an openness to both his face and his conversation. “OK, it’s growing on me,” he says, making a decision about the table. “We’ll see, but I think it’s growing on me.”

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