A sizeable structure made of cans
Canned Laughter

The fifth annual CANstruction design contest/benefit for the Greater Chicago Food Depository gets cooking tonight in the lobby of the Merchandise Mart, with a $25-ticket judging party from 6–8:30 p.m. This year 19 teams of architects, engineers, and construction companies will be sculpting about 90,000 tins of canned food into Jenga-worthy stacked creations, which will remain on view until May 31. A team of soup-er judges (including Chicago Home + Garden editor Jan Parr) will be picking winners in categories such as most cans used, best meal (the pile of comestibles that could potentially provide the tastiest supper), and best use of labels. The contestants take this seriously—here’s a tasty teaser from the Wight & Company design/build firm’s team—and results are always fun and imaginative. (I wonder what’s shaping up here, a rocket? A Snooki? Now that I’d like to see—the cast of Jersey Shore depicted in groceries! They’d need a lot of cling peaches, yams, and mandarin oranges to capture those skin tones.) There will be donation bins during the exhibit, and all the food will go to the charity after decanstruction.

People posing with items from Vintage Bazaar

Fun Flea

Vintage Pop-Tarts? Ugh. Vintage pop-ups? Sign me up. Get down to Pilsen this Saturday for one of the creative collaborative conglomerations known as Vintage Bazaar. This is the first sale since last August, and it promises to be a biggie—more than 50 furniture, home décor, and clothing dealers have signed on, including Seek Vintage, Griffins & Gargoyles, Apartment 528, and Cercis Design, and there will be a DJ, concessions from Bleeding Heart Bakery and Goose Island, and the opportunity to have a picture like this one taken with your purchases in a mobile photo booth called GlitterGuts. The doings are at 2229 South Halsted Street (above Architectural Anarchy), from noon till six.

A model posing with items from Revision Home

Revisit Revision

The typically online and by-appointment-only retailer Revision Home is opening its warehouse doors to the public from 11–4 this Friday and Saturday for another of its semiannual sales. For this go-around, owner Katie Ernst has trucked in a big and easy bunch of furniture and home accessories from her native New Orleans, but, as usual, expect an eclectic and arty mix of inventory (everything from aqua velvet French chairs to farmhouse-industrial tables to chrome 1970s chandeliers). There will also be photographs from Erika Dufour, new patterns of locally-designed wallpaper from Urban Source, and some summer fashions from TwentyThirtyForty.

A modern-design rocking chair

Your Magis-try

EuroFurniture, the family-run Chicago business that has been operating for three generations, has declared this May to be Magis month, and substantially reduced prices on all of the company’s Italian dressings. Magis was a pioneer in developing sleek, air-molded plastic furniture, and many of its products are suitable for outdoor use. As a rocking example, this sinuous Voido chair, designed by Ron Arad in 2006, has been marked down from $920 to $730. The showroom is located at 2145 West Grand Avenue.

Items featured at Merchandise Mart's annual outdoor furniture sample sale

Take It Outside

The cherished Chicago summer season is nigh upon us, so for more al fresco design options, check out the Mart’s annual outdoor furniture sample sale, today through Saturday. Dozens of showrooms specializing in casual accoutrements have slashed prices by up to 75 percent, and many of them are offering discounts on custom orders as well. Soak up the sunshine on floors 15, 16, and 17.

Items from Refined Rustic

Geneva Convention

Celebrate Spring Lake this Saturday and Sunday at downtown Lake Geneva’s May Days, where the streets will be hopping with live music, food kiosks, and nurseries and vendors selling fresh flowers, plants, and garden accessories. Retailers such as Refined Rustic, (pictured here) Flemings Irish shop, and Global Gourmet will be having in-store specials and giveaways as well, and there are demos, a book-signing, and other events scheduled for both days.

A pair of Chinese vases from Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

Asian Fever

Last week’s sale of Asian works of art at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers brought astonishing results: Presale estimates for the 571 lots were estimated to fetch about a mil, but when the last hammer came down, the spirited eight-hour session brought in more than $4.5 million. That’s a good day at the office! The loftiest in the lot, these pear-shaped Chinese bronze vases from the Qianlong period (expected to sell for $120,000, tops), sold for $660,000. Leslie’s scheduled another Asian sale for October 4 and is currently accepting consignments, so if you have any Tang treasures or Ming things that you’ve been thinking of de-accessioning from your collection, this might be a good time to ride the wave. Contact department specialist Andrew Lick at andrew@lesliehindman.com for more information.

The exterior of the Austin Town Hall Park District building


If you’re hankering to nose around private North Shore homes or gander at Gold Coast interiors, have I got a couple of stylish strolls for you. The 23rd Annual City Style House Tour takes place this Sunday, May 15, and promises peeks into six Astor-adjacent homes (tickets are $125 to $155). Skip brunch, as it debuts with a catered shindig at the Junior League and progresses with a guided tour, where snacks will be served at each stop. Up north, the Winnetka Woman’s Club is throwing its annual housewalk on Wednesday, May 18, from 10–4, with the opportunity to gain access to five architecturally significant homes (one pictured here) that have been styled with flowers and finishing touches by such area businesses as Sawbridge Studios, Material Possessions, Seagrass, and Artistica Italian Gallery. Tickets, which you can pick up in person at the Woman’s Club, are $60. Take a sneak peak here, courtesy of Sheridan Road magazine.


Photograph: (Refined Rustic) Matthew Gilson