Blu Dot console
Blu Dot Punctuates U.O.

The Minneapolis-based design firm Blu Dot has partnered with Urban Outfitters to retail a line of affordable furniture, including this Eames-ish console with colorful lacquered sliding doors ($548). The Too collection also includes side tables, an angular shelving unit, a chair, and a sofa—all with the same mid-century mod, architectural inspired flair that Blu Dot brings to its higher-priced pieces (available locally at I.D., At Work Design, and EuroFurniture). The bridge line is available at U.O. stores selectively, or online, and they do require some assembly.

Let’s Make a Deal: Produce Edition

It’s almost the time of year in Chicago when home-gardening co-workers and neighbors start pawning off surplus tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini (there is always too much zucchini, huh?). Now there’s an online option for green thumbs, thanks to, a portal started in March to facilitate buying, selling, and swapping extra homegrown vegetables, fruits, seeds, and herbs. Sign up for the free service and you can search by category or zip code location, post wanted items, or offer up your own goods. As of today there wasn’t exactly a bumper crop of Illinois postings, but the site is pretty fresh, and by giving a shout-out for basil, who knows what will blossom? I think it’s a great idea with a lot of growth potential, especially for locavores.

Bang & Olufsen BeoCom 2 phone

Patina Transported

There’s a new vintage venue in Andersonville, courtesy of Alan Shull and his recently relocated home store, Patina. Formerly on Damen, the store now fronts at 5137 N. Clark Street, joining favorites like George Lowell, Foursided, Marguerite Gardens, and Baan Home on this rapidly developing South of Foster strip. Shull shops rural antique auctions and markets across the country, and pieces have a storied past with an edge. A little bit of a Scout vibe, a little bit Architectural Artifacts, and a lot welcome in the neighborhood.

sleeper sofa from Century

Rancics’ Realities

Television today is glutted with reality shows—they’re cheap to make, people are tuning in, and some are addictive guilty pleasures—but when execs start green-lighting series for lesser Kardashian kids and runner-up contestants who once rode around on a bus or splashed in a hot tub looking for love, I worry about the apocalypse. I did give the Style Network’s Giuliana & Bill premiere a shot last week, mostly because of the promised Chicago settings (Bill Rancic is the first-season winner of Trump’s The Apprentice, and lives in Chicago; Giuliana DePandi is an E! entertainment news anchor and red-carpet correspondent who lives in L.A.; they met cute, married, and now divide their time between the two cities.) It’s no Green Acres, granted, but they are an appealing couple and it was fun to see them run around to local home stores looking for furnishings for their massive Chicago brownstone. They pick out lanterns at Lightology, which Giuliana says will be the “earrings of the house” and frets about their scale (hubby challenges, but she’s right—they’re too big for the façade and she wins an Hermes scarf for her troubles), and Bill promises her a pricey coffee table at Golden Triangle if she can juggle for 15 seconds (they banter and bet each other a lot). It’s fun summer fluff, and I’ll give the show a chance. Although Mrs. DePandi-Rancic looks alarmingly thin sometimes—the girl could use a few slices of Chicago pizza, if you ask me.

Bang & Olufsen BeoCom 2 phone

To Market, To Market

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers is having another eclectic Marketplace sale this Sunday, August 16, starting at 11:00 a.m., with previews Thursday through Saturday. There are more than 700 lots on the block, with tons of original artwork and photos (including six Mickey Pallas black-and-white shots, this little twirler-girl among them, lot #30, with a $400-$600 estimate), Asian trunks and cabinets, garden statuary and trellises, hand-woven rugs, massive wooden furniture…a real mixed bag of items. Summertime is great for getting deals at this type of sale—with people away on vacation or distracted by blockbuster movies, street fairs, and air-and-water shows, there tends to be less competition than at the more high-profile fall and winter sales. If you’re trying to squeeze in as much summer fun yourself, no worries—you can also peruse the goods online and leave absentee bids, right from your beach towel.

Sleepy Savings

There are only a few more days left to take advantage of some rarified, rarely discounted mattresses (30% off three different models), so hasten to Hästens’s River North location, (or the Winnetka shop) then cross Wells Street and cash in on discounted (by 10%–50%) luxe linens at bedding expert Arrelle. Both sales end this Saturday, August 15. Sweet dreams!

Rustic Revelry

Philip and Julie Sassano are throwing a jamboree this Friday night from 5–10:00 p.m. at the Chicago location of their Refined Rustic Studio & Gallery, located at 3924 N. Milwaukee Ave. (for questions and to RSVP, phone 773-685-4670). Philip, a designer and artisan who shows his lamps and furniture in the shop, will be doing a furniture transformation demo; they’ll be showcasing the latest and greatest reclaimed/repurposed finds and creations; and having a launch party for a new design blog, The Snoopster. Snoopster was started by longtime Chicago Tribune home design editor Elaine Matsushita, and promises interviews with designers, peeks into celebrity homes, chances to win giveaways, and lots more stylin’ stuff.