Luxurious bed linens by Maida Korte
Vintage Pine Branches

Anyone who steps into the 22,000-square-foot showroom and galleries of Vintage Pine will quickly realize that there’s a lot more going on than the name implies. Certainement, you can find rustic imported French and English antique furniture, but you’ll also see new merchandise from all over the world, and be privy to design resources and services from more than a dozen local dealers and decorators. The enterprise, founded in 1979, has added some new vendors to the mix, and is having a celebratory summer soiree Thursday, June 24 from 4–7 p.m. at the Blackhawk Street location. I’m familiar with most of this new crowd, and it’s an exciting bunch. Michigan’s in the house now, with restored architectural salvaged selections of furniture and accessories from Circa (in Douglas, Michigan) and Amsterdam (right off Blue Star Highway in Saugatuck), and Woodstock and Bucktown’s Designs by Maida is launching a new collection of luxe bed linens, window treatments, furniture, and pillows (some pictured here). I’m intrigued by Maida Korte’s tri-level drapery program, in particular, where you can buy ready-to-hang curtains, semi-customize presewn panels to your size specifications, or go all-out Maida-to-order from scratch. Also new at Vintage Pine: an updated Lori Wallis gallery space with a tricked-out wallpaper bar.

Metal pitcher by Michael Aram

Aram Show

I have always admired the metalwork of Michael Aram, and have been following his climb to world design domination for many years (and using a few of his hammered silver and steel serving pieces and bowls for just about as long). Love it all. Tomorrow night Susan Fredman’s At Home in the City will hold a trunk show of his new work from 4–7 p.m., with cocktails, snacks, and summer entertaining ideas from Fredman’s industrious designers. RSVP here. This organic pitcher is cast stainless, from the Black Orchid line.

A Lurie Affair

Millennium Park’s gardens have filled in quite nicely since their inception, and if you’d like to get an insider’s thoughts on the native plants and flowers that make it shine, join Roy Diblik, owner of Burlington, Wisconsin’s Northwind Perennial Farm and the Lurie Garden’s official plant grower, for an introduction and hands-on walkabout of the grounds Saturday, June 26, from 10 a.m. till noon. The talk/tour is free, but you need to save yourself a spot here.

Lofty Ambitions

Kathleen Newhouse’s Park Place Interiors design firm, with locations in Elmhurst and Geneva, has had a retail component for quite some time, but only recently introduced the LOFT, a new division of discounted furniture, rugs, and accessories at the Elmhurst location. This location will still offer upholstery and interior design service (including free in-store advice and tips), but has added a changing assortment of merchandise that will be at least 50 percent off retail prices.

Modern metal bathroom caddy

Reading Room?

I’m not sure how I feel about keeping periodicals and other reading material in bathrooms. With all the attention paid to W.C. fields, and great-looking available fixtures and fittings for the bath, it seems a shame to muck it up with a wicker basket full of US Weekly magazines or a dog-eared stack of celebrity bios (although I’ve been known to knock off a chapter or two during a typical Sonicare session, and there’s certainly an indulgent appeal to thumbing through a paperback while taking a bubble bath). June is National Bathroom Reading Month (no really—it is—didn’t you get my card?) But if you’re going to do it, might as well do it with some panache. This portable chrome caddy from Urban Outfitters is just the ticket for keeping life in the loo organized and tidy. It’s $36 online. Urban Outfitters has been impressing me lately with its selection of home design items, or what they’ve termed “apartment” accessories. They don’t just carry hot-pink-flocked Buddhas and beer-pong kits—they actually have a lot of nice rugs, vases, and bedding. Gotta go!

China cabinet from Tom's-Price

Toms-Price Fixing

It’s sample-sale time again at all three locations of Toms-Price Home Furnishings, and the savings, as they say, are deep (50 to 80 percent). Toms-Price has good, sturdy classic pieces, and now until Sunday is a nice time to invest in something special. This glass-doored display hutch is priced at $3,375 from $11,250, and is available at the Wheaton and Lincolnshire locales (but phone first, as these pieces can move out at any minute).