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Olde Chicago Antiques
3110 N. Kedzie Ave.; 773-935-1200
SAVE Enter the airplane-hangar-size warehouse of this European antique importer and start hunting for bargains. Around for more than 30 years yet somehow still a secret, Olde Chicago is mainly a wholesale source for high-quality 19th-century furniture. But the business happily sells directly to the public and, on a recent visit, we were stunned at some of the prices: an oak clawfoot table with six red-upholstered chairs was selling for $450; a complete dining set (four chairs, round table with leaf, and tall china cabinet) for $650; and a matching pair of beautiful marble-topped wood cabinets from the 1920s for $3,150. The hours are limited (Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and you’ll have to ask for prices. But, believe us, your efforts will be grandly rewarded.
Thomas Jolly Antiques
124 W. Kinzie St.; 312-595-0018
SPLURGE The furniture at Thomas Jolly is not for everybody: it’s mostly English, French, and Italian from the 18th and 19th centuries. But if you’ve ever had the urge to try a Marie Antoinette look, this is the place to go for flawlessly restored period pieces with Jolly’s youthful approach to an often intimidating design tradition. The shop—jam-packed but the polar opposite of your typical dusty antiques warehouse—is set up in a way to help those with a modern sensibility see the possibilities: somehow two chairs that wouldn’t look out of place at Versailles make sense under a midcentury Italian spiral glass chandelier. The pristine antiques come from estate sales and trips to Europe, including a 19th-century French writing table ($5,400) and a rare Russian crystal chandelier ($12,000). Best of all, Jolly’s fascinating explanations of his own merchandise make browsing a lesson in style.