Coffee crate ottoman showcased in ID, by Canadian firm Gus Design
Sack It to Me

I’ve been noticing a venti home design trend percolating through town, and I’m pretty wired about it. Designers and artists have started to use the empty burlap bags in which coffee beans are shipped in arrestingly creative ways, taking advantage of the cool company logos that are often silkscreened on the coarse fabric. I first spotted the coffee craze months ago at Brimfield, where owner Julie Fernstrom sliced up the sacks to make whimsical accent pillows (that idiom about making a silk purse from a sow’s ear comes to mind), and later she raised the bar-ista with a pair of wingback chairs covered in the same material. During the craziness of Northalsted Market Days, midst the sweaty torsos, melting drag queens, and rude novelty T-shirts, the mod men of I.D. Chicago were artfully showcasing these caffeinated hassocks from the Canadian firm Gus Design. And then this weekend, I stopped to pick up an iced Americano at my favorite Coffee Studio and wandered across the street to see that even Roost is onboard with the burlap—they had a rack of tote bags on display, selling for about $35 each. I have a stack of South American coffee bags that I picked up at an Indiana barn sale (they weren’t even intending to sell them, but had them to wrap purchased plants); now I also have some new ideas as to what to do with them.

Desk lamp from Scout

Best in Glow

Scout owner Larry Vodak and Chicago artist Ted Harris are kindred spirits with a shared design sensibility—Harris’s quirky light fixtures crafted from discarded objects such as olde-timey schoolroom globes and Eisenhower-era thermoses truly shine amid Vodak’s salvaged treasures. The symbiotic relationship has even been touted by the New York Times, as well as our own magazine. This Friday, August 20, come on out and toast the merger at Harris’s fourth solo Scout show, held at the shop from 6–10 p.m. There’ll be dozens of new floor, table, and hanging lamps (and some switch-hitters that can function as all three), wine, beer, light pupus, and a lot of interesting, friendly folks.

Various items at Vintage Bazaar

First-rate Secondhand

Back in February, design bloggers Libby Alexander and Katherine Raz weren’t sure how many people would pop in to their pop-up vintage “upscale urban flea market” held at the DANK Haus, but the response was overwhelming, with (frustratingly long) lines of more than 3,000 people braving the weather and a dodgy elevator to shop from about 40 vetted furniture, collectibles, and clothing dealers. This Sunday is the Vintage Bazaar’s sophomore outing, held at the much more user-friendly Congress Theatre, at 2135 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square, and the fru-gals are promising a new and improved experience (and pie!). “We’re adding several thousand square feet of shopping space,” says Raz. “Some of our favorite vendors will have 17-by-25-foot booths, like mini storefronts, and while our last show had a lot of clothing and small accessories, the Congress allows us space for larger furniture and housewares vendors.” The event, which runs from noon until 7:00, is free for shoppers, and there will be DJ entertainment, adult beverages, and snacks. See all the 60-plus vendors here.

Children's paintings at the Color Wheel Studio

Children of the Fuchsia

Julie Horowitz Jackson, of the beloved Bucktown boutique Virtu, (great spot for can’t-miss host/hostess gifts and handcrafted table items and jewelry) and her husband, SAIC-trained artist D.J. Jackson have opened a kids’ art school and party space, the Color Wheel Studio, at 2016 W. Concord Place. Their young son Miller had a lot to do with the project also, as it was his experiences and exposure to art and color theories that inspired D.J. to start the business, which offers workshops, formal class programs, studio time, and party packages for children ages two through 12, in a working artist’s studio (that would be his). The trio will be hosting a sweets and treats grand-opening celebration and open house tomorrow, August 19, from 4–8 p.m. at Color Wheel, to show off the space and services. Bring the kids.

Select pages from Todd Selby's book, The Selby Is in Your Place

Selby Date

Todd Selby has skyrocketed to fame by photographing his hipster art/design/fashion/music friends for his insanely popular The Selby Is in Your Place blog, which was recently morphed into an insanely popular Abrams coffee-table book. If you think your living environment is on an equal level of idiosyncratic eccentricity (think people who wear earmuffs year-round, live in all-white environments, and collect things like prosthetic limbs and stuffed peacocks), CB2 has a great opportunity for you to win a $10,000 gift card and private photo shoot with La Selby himself. Simply submit three pictures of your best crazy-fab décor from now until September 15, when entries will be put to a public vote on the CB2 site. Bonne chance, starshine!