Collectibles on display at Aaron's Apothecary
Bringing Rx-y Back

For decades, the independently owned Parkway Drugs served the pharmacy and shopping needs of Chicago residents with style and personality, providing a fine selection of gifts, magazines, and housewares to peruse while waiting for those curative creams and pill prescriptions to be filled. Last year the company was sold to Walgreens, and the Streeterville and Lincoln Park locations liquidated and closed, ending an era. Aaron Pietrykowski, a pharmacist for Parkway for the past six years, didn’t have a taste for the corporate, cookie-cutter Kool-Aid, and decided to pursue a longtime dream of opening his own like-minded business; thus Aaron’s Apothecary is debuting next week at 2338 North Clark Street. I got a sneak peak at the shop, and it’s as far from a garishly lit big-box as one could imagine. In addition to having a full-service pharmacy (with free delivery in the city) and a licensed cosmetologist on staff to help you pick from such luxe skincare and cosmetic lines as Malin + Goetz and Ahava, the store is stocking high-end pottery, pillows, candles, and vases from Voluspa, Claus Porto, Rigaud, Jonathan Adler, et alia, displayed on handsome wood shelving, lit by antique chandeliers. “I set out to bring back the old-time concept of pharmacy,” Aaron tells me, “when a drugstore was much more than just a place to get medication. We strive to bring glamour back to pharmacy, in our appearance and the merchandise we sell.” Aaron will also stock vintage decorative items, locally crafted jewelry and dog sweaters, and a large children’s and babies’ section.

A sugar and creamer set from PrairieMod

Little Sales on the Prairie

I’ve been a fan of the PrairieMod website and newsletter for several years now, and find it one of the best places for current and exhaustive info on all that’s (Frank Lloyd) Wright in the world, as well as FLW’s other Prairie School companions. The Lisle-based design group also maintains an online store nicely stocked with contemporary Teco pottery, lamps, and stencils, and recently expanded into vintage sales through an Etsy shop, started by Eric O’Malley. O’Malley, who founded PrairieMod with Lisa and Bryan Kelly, digs digging through antique markets and auctions to find cool stuff that fits the PrairieMod aesthetic. He picked up this machine-age sugar and creamer set a few years ago at the Kane County Flea Market, and now you can pick it up for $90. I can’t wait to see what other treasures from the collection they decide to part with!

Suzhou chest at Pagoda Red

Chinese Fire Sale

It’s the Year of the Rabbit on the Chinese calendar, and Pagoda Red is hopping up to the plate with a big blow-out warehouse sale at its Bucktown location this Saturday and Sunday, January 29 and 30, from 10 a.m-6 p.m., 1714 North Damen Avenue. Shoppers can expect up to 80 percent off items such as a 19th century low wooden table (marked to $880 from $2,880), lacquered lattice panels ($480 from $1,980), and a tri-drawered table with horned feet (was $2,680, now $1,280), as well as “smalls”—Mao busts, lanterns, blue-and-white ceramic pieces, and 1930s Chinese textiles. “The Year of the Rabbit is traditionally associated with home and family,” says owner Betsy Nathan, “as well as artistic pursuits, diplomacy, and keeping the peace. Sounds like a good thing for the world right now.” And it sounds like some good deals for us. Anyone who shops the sale can sample chewy Chinese white rabbit taffy and take a chance at winning this rosy cinnabar Suzhou chest, valued at $1,480, by dropping off an entry form. In the spirit of the New Year, Pagoda Red is extending the contest to online applicants who go to the home page and type “rabbit” in the comment space when they enter an email address.

The February 2011 cover of Chicago magazine

Home Styles of the Rich and Famous

Indulge your inner Gladys Kravitz and pick up the February issue of Chicago magazine to get peeks inside the private residences of  such local A-listers as designer Nate Berkus, auctioneer Leslie Hindman, rock-and-roller Joe Trohman, baller Alfonso Soriano, and ex-Pat funny lady Julia Sweeney (who I interviewed shortly after she moved to Wilmette a couple of years ago. It’s on newsstands now.



Nursery furniture on display at Bellini

Gone Baby Gone

The Chicago franchise of Bellini, the fancy furniture store for the binkies and bibs set, is turning out the lights and putting its 1800 North Clybourn outpost to bed. If you or any of your amici are expecting, I expect you’ll want to shop the closing sale, where owner Cindy Hudgins has currently marked all furniture, bedding, and accessories down by 30 percent, lighting by 50 percent, and artwork by 40 percent, with the discounts getting deeper as inventory wanes (she expects to be at this location until the end of February). The crib pictured here, Vanessa, is normally $1,295 but now priced at $906 (Vanessa is Bellini’s priciest line—most cribs are more in the $700 range). Bellini’s European-designed hardwood furniture has been around for 30 years without a single recalled item, and the company is continuing at its other 40-plus retail locations.

The interior of a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

Walk Wright In

Heads up, Frank-ophiles. Tickets for the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust’s annual, always sold-out Wright Plus tour have just gone on sale, and if you want a place at the table you’ll need to act quickly. The all-day event takes place on Saturday, May 21, costs $100 for nonmembers, and offers tours of eight private Oak Park homes as well as the Robie House, Unity Temple, and the FLR Home and Studio. Saturday is just one part of the Ultimate Plus Weekend, if you’re up for a full immersion experience. That four-day package includes a cocktail reception in Chicago’s financial district, a sit-down dinner and exploration of Hyde Park locations, and a daytrip to Racine, Wisconsin, to check out Wingspread (pictured here), the 14,000-square-foot building commissioned in the late 1930s by Herbert Johnson (of Johnson Wax) as a family manse. The May 19-22 grand tour includes meals and lodging, and will set you back $2,600 per person.