Sale items from Merchandise Mart
The Sample Life

More than 45 showrooms in the Mart are participating in the annual spring sample sale this Friday and Saturday, where high-end furniture, rug, lighting, and accessories dealers have granted the John and Jane Q. Publics of the world access to their to-the-trade trappings. The participants are all on floors six and 15‑18, the admission fee has been dropped this year, and designers will again be on hand from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. both days to provide 30-minute consultations. Sign up for a slot when you arrive at the event, or send an e-mail to with your name, phone number, and desired time, and they’ll try to hook you up with an appointment in advance. This is always a festive, well-attended sale with eclectic offerings and deeply discounted deals from the likes of Niedermaier, classic furniture maker Henredon, and Michaelian & Kohlberg rugs and upholstered furniture. Last year there were also aisles and aisles of stylin’ outdoor furniture on sale and this year looks to be no different, with dealers like Summer Classics and Ebel joining the soiree (Ebel’s three-piece Bordeaux set pictured here, marked down to $1,795 from $4,665). So if it’s time to up your design ante, pencil in a Mart stop for this weekend.

A Corallo bench from the Campana brothers

Twelve Months of Modern

May 15 will mark a year now since the Art Institute opened its splendiferous new Modern Wing, and I continue to be impressed with every visit. There is something breathtaking about the simplicity, proportions, and lighting of the galleries, atrium, walkways, and outdoor spaces, and the couple of meals I’ve had at Terzo Piano have been memorable. Two new architecture and design exhibits have just opened (a fresh gallery rotation of furniture, objects, and illustrations from the permanent collection looks especially enlightening–that’s a Corallo bench from the Campana brothers, pictured here), and the anniversary party on Saturday at 1:30 in Griffin Court will be a fantastic time to check them out (and have some birthday cake with museum majordomo James Cuno at 1:45 p.m.). Tip: If you purchase anything from the Michigan Avenue gift shop and bring the receipt in to the Modern Shop, they’ll slice 20 percent off any purchase, Saturday only.

Green chairs by Milo Baughman

Revitalized Revision

Fulton Market’s always engaging Revision Home is having a party tomorrow, May 13, to show off new vintage items and introduce local interior designer Elizabeth Siegan’s artsy, earthy line of pillows, Plume. The by-appointment-only store will also be showcasing the abstract oil paintings of Chicago artist Kelley Shields, whose work hangs in the West Wing of the White House (and over this kicky green Milo Baughman chair scenario). Owner Katie Ernst is pretty stoked about the synergy of mixing up the old and new. “It’s going to be our best sale ever,” she said. “We’ve even got midcentury folk art, and a new collection of pottery from a favorite, Jay Strommen.” The sale continues with an open house on Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.‑4 p.m, and after that any remaining items will be posted to Revision’s website.

Pliés Give

The gallery, garden- and gift store Homey is helping to celebrate the River North Chicago Dance Company’s 20th anniversary and raise some cash for the troupe by hosting a silent auction benefit party this Saturday, May 15, 6‑9 p.m. Owner Michael Laconte, along with RNCDC board member Mark Reeves and Isberian Rugs’ Oscar Tatosian, have joined forces to organize the Champagne and cosmo-fueled fete, where attendees will be able to bid on sculptures, paintings, glass art, jewelry, and other hush-hush items. All proceeds from the donated auction items go to the dance company, as well as 30 percent of any non-auction Homey sales. A ticket to ride is $50 per person; RSVP to 312-944-2888.

Ritzy Business

Ding-ding! Round two of the swapped out furniture from the Ritz-Carlton Chicago’s recent redo arrives at Bridgeport’s Fort Pitt Furniture Showroom today; this batch to include high-quality tables, consoles, chairs, and sofas from the lobby and common areas of the hotel. The first stage of the sale began in January, and another phase or two is expected to check-in in the future.