S’more Smart

The Museum of Science and Industry’s popular Smart Home exhibit is unveiling its totally revamped interiors tomorrow, and if this chic sneak of the dining room is any indication, I think I’m going to heart Smart Home 3.0—seriously, what’s not to like about this room? (Although one of those “pops” of color all the kids are talking about might be nice here, IMHO.) That table was designed and built by Chicago furniture maker (and acupuncturist!) Keelin Kennedy from the wood of a century-old burr oak tree that fell on museum grounds last year, combined with one of her favorite materials to work with, polished concrete. Chicago sculptor Terry Karpowicz had a chance to repurpose some of that same wood, and you can see his resulting tables and headboard here too. Interiors were designed by Midwest Living magazine’s senior home editor Carol Schalla, with the general idea of this being a home for an empty-nester couple (hence the harmonious color palette and open, flexible spaces for entertaining). The Smart Home will be receiving visitors through January 9, 2011 (call or go to the website to purchase a timed-entry ticket).

Horsing Around

On my way over to the Vintage Bazaar in Lincoln Square last weekend, I stopped to look around Griffins & Gargoyles antique store at 2140 West Lawrence Avenue. Despite the goth-sounding, game role-playing, socially-challenging connotations of the name, the 34-year-old shop actually has two sprawling floors of imported and reproduction wooden chests and benches, good prices on case goods and shelving units, cool framed maps, paintings, and textiles, and nary a dungeon or a dragon to be seen. They do, however, have an impressive collection of handmade European rocking horses, dozens displayed everywhere throughout the building. A sturdy steed makes a fine gift for a child, sure, but the folksy outsider charm jockeys for adult attention as well. The family-owned business also has a workshop in the back of the first floor where they’ll work with you to adapt or customize the function and finish of any of their pieces. (The Vintage Bazaar, by the way, was a hugely attended success that guarantees a repeat performance—the line of bargain-hunting hipsters stretched for blocks, all day long. We spent a few hours exploring the neighborhood, and people were buzzing about the show everywhere we went. Kudos to Katherine and Libby for organizing it, and stay tuned for details on when and where the next pop-up market will be.)

HGTV Splashdown in Chicago

The winner of the first season of HGTV’s Design Star, super-sparkly David Bromstad, will be shooting in to Bucktown’s Colori Eco Paint Boutique for a special in-store appearance and talk on Saturday, March 20, from 1–4 p.m. After impressing judges such as Vern Yip and Candice Olson and winning the contest, easy-on-the-eyes David has gone on to be the host of his own HGTV show, Color Splash, where he cheerfully coaxes people to overcome crippling fears of using anything bolder than off-beige colors for home decor. He’s coming out with a new color collection for Mythic Paint, which Colori owner Michelle Quaranta raves about and has carried for some time now, and will be dishing on that as well as trendy tones and design ideas. Seating for the two 90-minute sessions is limited, so call 773-252-4923 to reserve a spot.

Shining and Dining

Hortons Home Lighting has been an elephantine source for indoor and outdoor lamps, sconces, chandeliers, torchéres—all things luminary, really—as well as an impressive selection of ceiling fans, fire pits, mantels, and home accessories, for more than 100 years. The company started in LaGrange as an electrical supplies shop, and expanded over the years to have full-service (designers and technicians on staff) showroom locations both there and along Chicago’s Clybourn corridor. Hortons just opened an outlet store in Orland Park, offering savings on first-run merchandise at 50 to 70 percent off list prices. To entice in-the-dark urbanites to fire up the GPS and figure out exactly where Orland Park is, they are dishing out $25 gift cards from discount-dining powerhouse Restaurant.com for every $50 you spend, from now until March 14.

File in Style

These are taxing times (literally—you’ve only got about a month to get those off, remember?) but you don’t have to be all Glengarry Glen Ross, manila-wafer boring about organizing your W2s, if Paper Source has anything to say about it. A recent visit to the eccentric River North locale reminded me that they offer so much more than a selection of (albeit great) fancy wrapping papers, letterpress cards, rubber stamps, and top-drawer, creative invitation ingredients. The company, with local outposts in Lincoln Park, Evanston, Highland Park, and Oak Park, carries a fun and funky selection of supplies to spice up your office space. These class-reunion file folders gave me a smile, as did sushi staplers, dog-bone paper clips, and retro-licious “page flags,” (formerly known as Post-it notes).