This Sunday, the North Dearborn Association is puttin’ on some ritz with its 52nd annual Dearborn Garden Walk, a lovely and anticipated summer diversion taking place from noon till 5:00 p.m. You’ll be guiding your fine self around the backyards of more than 20 glammed-up Gold Coast residences (including Cardinal George’s rose garden), lollygagging at your own pace to see the eight Hollywood-themed vignettes produced and directed by such vaunted Chicago interior design teams as Handman Associates, Laura Barnett Designs, Soucie Horner, and Carol Wolk Interiors, all to a soundtrack of live alfresco classical and jazz performances along the way. Steven Burgert, modern-loving owner of I.D., is taking on 2001: A Space Odyssey, and I can’t think of a more fitting muse for him to interpret. Tour tics are $35 and available through the site or at 312-632-1241 (Get them and entrance in a raffle of hotel packages and local goods and services for $30 if you buy before noon on Saturday; admission is free if you’re under 17 and accompanied by an adult), and the fun starts at 1300 North Dearborn.
Faced with the shock of it already being the middle of July and realizing that I haven’t taken advantage of a single Chicago street fair yet, I made it a point to visit West Fest last weekend, and I’m glad I did. Perfect weather, a chill hipster vibe from the crowd, local food and craft vendors, and a stellar indie music lineup synthesized to create a pretty perfect afternoon. It was also a good opportunity to check out the bizarre bazaar of goods at Rotofugi Designer Toy Store, the East Village shop and gallery that has been selling colorful collectible vinyl figures, cartoon statues ranging from cute to horrific, the largest selection of styles and sizes of those Uglydolls I have ever seen in one shop (the biggies would make a real statement as pillows), art prints and all kinds of other wonderful wackiness for over six years, from the sunny storefront at 1953 West Chicago. So I was a bit surprised to hear of its upcoming move to 2780 North Lincoln Avenue (near Diversey), as of August 27. It turns out that Rotofugi owners Kirby and Whitney Kerr have simply just outgrown their original space—over the years they have expanded and opened a gallery down the street, then later a warehouse and storage facility in another location—and had been looking for a way to have all of these elements under the same roof. The store and gallery on Chicago Avenue will remain open until August 22, selling items that make me giggle like a Japanese schoolgirl, such as this miniature designer chair, part of a series of nine that reference mid-century designs. To help defray relocating costs, a moving sale of stock, open-box items, and rarities from the Kerr family collection will be occurring online through their website.
Up on the Roof
Whilst in the neighborhood for West Fest, I polished off my buttery cob and pulled-pork sandwich from Smoke Daddy and swung around the corner to see what was going on at Sprout Home. Owner Tara Heibel has such great modern taste and her store is usually jam-packed with unusual indoor and outdoor plants, gardening supplies, baby- and post-baby gift options, and home sculptures, lamps, and tabletop items‑no wonder we profiled her for the March-April issue of Chicago Home + Garden. Everything I picked up seemed to be on sale, so now’s a splendid time to visit. A large selection of plants are reduced by half, and if you’re in the market for large-scale outdoor planters be sure and climb the stairs to the rooftop deck (how have I never been up there before???), where stacks of containers are available in materials from galvanized steel to rustic ceramic to lightweight polymolded resins. That last option makes a lot of sense for highrise balconies and roofs, as they won’t be so tough to drag up-top (the dirt to fill, well, that’s another story). The trompe l’oeil finishes don’t look a bit plasticky, and a lot of styles have been discounted as well. I’ll wager that prices will soon be reduced further and wider, as the season progresses.
More Than Floor
Listen up, people—there are only a few more days left to shop Jayson Home & Garden’s floor-model sale (it’s ending July 18), and these bargains aren’t going to snag themselves. This week the retailer has made even more final markdowns, added additional items to the sale, and is offering brand-new back stock merch at floor-sample prices. Shop in store or online (but if you visit in person you can fondle the new autumn upholstery collection which dropped this week). This handsome Jakob bookcase (no relation to Twilight’s Taylor Lautner) is included in the sale, and has been marked down to $1,299 from the original $2,595.
The Arboretum of South Barrington is throwing a rain-or-shine antiques market on Sunday, July 18, from 10–4:00, on the grounds of this upscale open-air shopping and entertainment center. (Which in turn sits on the grounds of a former tree farm, hence the name). In addition to estate furniture, memorabilia, home décor, and vintage jewelry, the market also has a large locally grown produce and freshly cut flower section.
Photograph: (Dearborn Garden Walk) Lindsay Schlesser