Fulton Festival

Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood has a well-deserved reputation for white-hot restaurants, but this zip code also contains a lot of unusual home stores, furniture and art galleries, and boutiques that fly a little lower on the public’s radar. They can be challenging to find, some have unpredictable hours, and by the time foodies and nightclubbers start strolling most shops have shut down for the day. It’s also easy to see how workday visitors can be put off by the forklifts and warehouse trucks beeping up and down the one-way streets, which is why this Saturday’s open house, Explore Fulton Market, is a perfect opportunity to get to know some of our favorite indy resources. More than 30 businesses will be open from noon to 5 p.m., including Black Walnut (chunky wooden furniture by Robert Wayne), the Casati Gallery (museum quality mid-century furniture), Basia Frossard (lady-gear, but also custom drapery, bedding, and cushions), Organic Looms (handwoven Tibetan rugs), and the always-fun-to-say Morlen Sinoway Atelier (made-to-spec furniture, design services, and a sunny storefront of sleek accessories). Eco-aware fashion Pivot Boutique is participating on Saturday May 9, but also having a sidewalk sale from Friday to Sunday, and Jessa invites everyone in for a drink and some deals during your exploration.

Outdoor Offerings

Liven up your lanai and make some savvy porch purchases at next week’s Outdoor Furniture Sample Sale at the Merchandise Mart, Monday-Friday May 11-15, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (shop late ‘til 8 on Tuesday). You’ll have access to the 250,000 square feet of al fresco–focused furniture and accessories on floors 15-17, including the showrooms of Agio, Lloyd Flanders, Ancara, Ebel, OW Lee, and Laneventure (that’s their verdant sofa above). Summer’s simmering, so take advantage of up-to-75 percent discounts at this admission-free event. While you’re at the Mart, why not cross a visit to DreamHome off your to-do list?

New Packaging, Same Great Taste

If you’re a Home + Garden subscriber (gracias!) you already know that a fresh issue just came out. If not, May/June is on newsstands, and when you see her you’ll probably notice that she’s had a little work done. For starters there’s a bold new logo, and the tweaks and turns continue on every page from there. We’ve added a “Bring It Home” bonus to some of the layouts that provides local sources (with pricing) and practical tips from designers. The new Front + Center section was inspired by our Design Dose blog, and is full of snappy little news items covering local events and trends (don’t miss Barneys New York creative director and all-around cheeky monkey Simon Doonan riffing on current obsessions, in honor of Chicago’s big new Barneys). In general, photos have even more room to breathe—I defy anyone to look at the “Lake Effect” pictorial of a vintage cabin on a Wisconsin lake and not drift off into a daydream.

Nab Some Nadeau

Nadeau’s ready for your close-up with their first annual photo contest, where you can win $500 of store merchandise by submitting a picture of a room that you’ve enhanced with one or more of their imported pieces. (I’ve gotten several Nadeau notions from the Ravenswood location, and believe me, $500 goes a long way.) Send photos to Chicago@nadeauimports.com by May 31, and designer Jonas Hohenfield will pick the winner. Hohenfield recently joined the Nadeau team as a design consultant, and is on hand to help shoppers sift through the floor-to-ceiling inventory to find the right A’s to your design Q’s.

Mom’s the Word

Sunday is Mother’s Day, and several home stores have special events, suggestions, and sales planned to motivate maternal-minded shoppers. If you have a mod mom, stop by I.D. Saturday and Sunday for some champagne and a display of floral arrangements that’ll be for sale (knowing I.D.’s m.o, I bet they won’t be using baby’s breath and dyed carnations), or visit Chiasso’s site for gift ideas and free shipping. Art Effect is thinking of the more traditional (and apparently myopic) mama by offering 15% off reading glasses and free shipping on $50+ online orders, with a portion of all sales going to breast cancer research, and Careful Peach is presenting a new artisanal line of preciously packaged French candies and salted caramels, as well as 15 percent off all jewelry.