Image from Catalog Living blog
Silly Styling

I’m a big fan of home and furniture catalogs (as inconveniently eco-unfriendly as that may be–but I do recycle them!) but the photo-styling has been known to occasionally stump and bemuse me. Apparently I’m not the only one, because former Chicagoan Molly Erdman has started the Catalog Living blog, “a look into the exciting lives of the people who live in your catalogs.” Erdman, a comedian and actress who graced our Second City mainstage and now lives in Los Angeles, created a fictional prepster couple named Gary and Elaine who live in the land of West Elm and Pottery Barn, etc., and gently mocks especially ridiculous design decisions with witty captions, along the same lines as another of my favorite laugh-out-loud design blogs, Unhappy Hipsters. Under a dining room table set for a dinner party and surrounded with mismatched chairs (some not so comfy-looking) she writes, “If you find yourself the last to arrive at Gary and Elaine’s dinner party, you’d better enjoy sitting on swivel stools and staring at images of a haunted forest all night.” I’m sure you can picture the image captioned with “Sweetheart, the Turners will be here any minute now! Did you put the plate of figs under the table?” And pictured here is one of my faves: “Hi Nancy, it’s Elaine. I’m going to be a little late for lunch. I can’t find my hat or my back-up hat.” Check it for some chuckles.

Stone fountain from Pagoda Red

Garden Parting

After ten-plus years on Green Bay Road in Winnetka, the North Shore outpost of Asian importer Pagoda Red will be relocating. Owner Betsy Nathan is being hush-hush about the new locale for the moment, but she’s excited to take on new opportunities–if a bit bittersweet about leaving behind the fantastic scholars’ garden behind the store (the setting for some swanky parties over the years, and a featured subject in Chicago Home + Garden last spring). To lighten the load for the move (and you can bet your Buddha those Chinese meditation stones, massive urns, bells, benches, and doorposts are anything but light), the prices on outdoor items have been reduced by 30 percent. This moon-shaped fountain, for example, crafted from a circa 1800 Northern Chinese post anchor, is yours for the taking at $6,216. Stay tuned for details on the move.

Vintage calendar

Antiques Road Show

Remember when I told you about Katharine Raz and her website, way back in the day when Domestica was a newborn newsletter? Raz dazzles by culling CraigsList and other sources to compile an impressive weekly list of local yard sales, online bargains, and vintage and antique shopping events—do yourself a favor and sign up for her missives, if you’re looking for the vintage advantage. This Saturday, July 24 at 1 p.m., she’ll be giving a talk with the weighty title of “Secrets of the New Antiquers: How a New Generation of Vintage Seekers Is Changing the Antique Market and How You Can Get in on It” at the Forest Park Public Library. The workshop is free and participatory, so come with any questions you might have about finding, buying, reselling, decorating with, refinishing, or reimagining all things vintage.

Patrons at the Sidewalk Sale

On the Street Where You Shop

More than 80 Highland Park retailers have joined forces under the organization of the Highland Park Chamber of Commerce to put on the annual Sidewalk Sale Days, running Thursday through Saturday from 9–5. Home-style dealers such as Table Compliments, Green Living Designs, Dream Kitchens, Jolie Maison, and Adesso will be in the mix, along with boutiques, galleries, and other eclectic businesses busting out of the fourth wall to offer discounted services, contests, food, and music in the fresh (and hopefully not too humid) air. The action is mostly situated along Central Avenue, between Green Bay and Sheridan roads.