Adam Moroschan, our trusty associate art director, had another big idea. Why not head to opening day at the Randolph Market Festival and design a room on location using our favorite finds? We could call it “On the Spot” and post big Chicago Home + Garden signs at the market promoting it.  I believe he used the words “make it a spectacle.” Then, he said, we’ll publish the results in our special September/October eco-chic-design issue (after all, isn’t reusing and repurposing old treasures the best way to recycle?). So in true Adam form, he got it all together, right down to the perfectly art-directed fine weather!

I pull into port on Saturday, May 24, at 7:57 a.m. (the market opens at 10 but we spy plenty of in-the-know early birds.) The first find of the day? Front-of-the-gate, rock star parking. Let this be a sign. I head in, heart already racing (did I mention I am a flea market junkie?) to find Larry Vodak of Scout already perusing the rows (his home will get its close-up in our next issue, after all). I meet the crew  (shown above from left to right; I’m the one crouched at the bottom): Matt Gilson (photog and fellow collector), Nellie Williams (intern of all interns!), David Ettinger (Matt’s ace assistant), and the aforementioned Adam. We set up our backdrop and let the fun begin.

Dashing up and down the aisles snapping pics of ideas and taking copious notes (thanks, Nellie), we decide a few of our finds would anchor well on a ruddy red and grey Turkish rug. It is said to have mystical powers. Who wouldn’t want that? We haul it over, and begin to build our room. Pairs of chairs, a settee, a mod coffee table (hey, is that Saarinen?). A wooden ironing board (yes, we repurpose it in our room). Hmmm. Feel like home yet? One of the most exciting parts of the day is that our picks begin to sell right off the set. My favorite part is adding the extras (dealers call them smalls – I call them personality) that make it look like someone lives there. Vintage specs on a side table and a retro cocktail glass. Shells from a vacation destination. Auction catalogs and old books. It’s nearing 11:12 a.m., and Matt snaps some pics. The crowd gathers. They are brimming with queries and offers to buy.

Shown at top right is a sneak peek of a few of our finds. Stay tuned for more in the September/October issue. To hear about some of my favorite ideas on flea marketing, tune in here for a recent interview with Sally Schwartz (owner of the market) and me on Nate Berkus’s Oprah and Friends show on XM Radio. A big shout out to Sally for her support (shown above, to the right of Nate). It’s good old-fashioned fun.