Photograph: Kate Roth
"I’m filling a niche between the Merchandise Mart and Pottery Barn," says Michele Fitzpatrick, who designed furniture for interior design clients for eight years before opening Verde (2100 W. Armitage Ave., 773-486-7750) in early September as a source for sustainable home furnishings that are both stylish and affordable.
For Fitzpatrick, going green is as much about quality as it is about all-natural materials. "A lot of things on the market are not very well made and they become part of the problem-ending up in landfills instead of in your home for the rest of your life," Fitzpatrick says.
Her upholstered furniture, which takes its design inspiration from modernists Edward Wormley and Harvey Probber, is made locally with solid-wood frames, eight-way hand-tied springs, and cushions filled with down or wool and cotton. No plastics, polyurethanes, or particle board are involved.
Besides her own furniture-sofas start at $2,400, chairs at $800-Fitzpatrick also carries a few antiques, art (her husband is artist Tony Fitzpatrick), aluminum chain Shimmer Screens, Clear-view (a film that makes windows energy efficient), and several fabric lines usually available only to design professionals, including Soliloquy Textiles, Thomas O’Brien, Maharam, and Pollock. "People are sophisticated and know what they want," she says. "Why should they have to hire a designer to take them to the Mart?"