Susan Fredman items
Trunks in the City

This time of year, Chicago-area home stores seem to have more trunk showings than the Ringling Bros. Circus or the luggage cart at the last Kardashian family getaway. No complaints, mind you—it’s a fun way to see new products, meet store owners and designers, and maybe have a little nosh in the process. There is a good one coming up next Tuesday, November 30 at Susan Fredman’s At Home in the City shop, located at 350 West Erie Street in River North. Reps from companies such as Chilewich, Sferra bedding, Voluspa candles, Michael Wainwright, and Michael Aram will be showing off their goods, answering questions, helping you with your holiday gift list, and taking special orders. The party is from 4–8 p.m., RSVP to Jamie at

Various items from Customs Imports

Dee Dee To-Do

There is one singular shopping experience to be had at Dee Dee Duhn’s Customs Imports store in New Buffalo, Michigan, that’s for sure. Walk in the door and you’ll be greeted and offered a beverage, given a bit of an explanation, and ushered in to a head-spinning maze of rooms filled with hand-carved African masks and sculptures, Moroccan rugs and ceramics, Indian textiles and furniture, Vietnamese pottery, glass pieces, candles and incense, nice rustic furniture made locally from repurposed wood, jewelry. It just goes on and on, and it would be easy to spend hours poking around the 15,000-square-foot space (that’s a football field or two, isn’t it?). With an editorial eye, there’s bound to be something for everyone. I wasn’t feeling the contemporary home “accents” and paintings so much, but there were some handsome Nakashima-ish tables and sculptures, massive carved cabinets, and nice metalwork. If you’re going to be up in Harbor Country next Thursday, December 2, stop by her Grand Party and see for yourself. It’s from 6–9 p.m., and there will be live music, karaoke, charity raffles, and special discounts. Dee Dee has arranged some deals on room rates at local hotels and resorts, if you have a hankering for a road trip and want to stay over in the area. Get to know this unique shopowner and traveler here.

Sleek kitchen items at Porcelanosa

Till Tuesday

Porcelanosa, the high-end Spanish contemporary kitchen and bath company that settled nicely into the Mart’s Luxe Home assemblage of chic showrooms last year, is having its splashiest sale of 2010 this week, with 40 percent off everything in the store. That’s the kind of sale I like—clear and consistent, without a lot of disclaimers or excluded items. (How many times have you been lured in to an “UP TO 99 PERCENT OFF!!!” sale, only to find a few shelves of forlorn, discounted merchandise in the back of the barn?) The sale runs until Tuesday, November 30, and you’ll have to take delivery by the end of December.

A speaker at Small Business Saturday

Think Small

As soon as some people snap out of Thanksgiving’s tryptophan-triggered food coma, they set their alarm clocks obscenely early in order to hit the Black Friday sales running. They battle through big-box crowds in stuffy malls, fight for the attention of overworked, testy temp help, and stand in lines for hours. It’s like a Survivor challenge, and if you were one of those people today, you have my sympathies. Then there are the point-and-click Cyber Monday bargain shoppers, who don’t even have to put on pants to get the good deals. But there’s a new American Express–initiated event this year sandwiched between these two extremes, Small Business Saturday, and I’m definitely buying what they’re selling. The movement is meant to support independent local shops and restaurants, and as an incentive, AMEX is offering cardholders a $25 credit if they register and spend more than that amount on Saturday, November 27. For a double-dip of discounts, drop $300 at Lake View East businesses, bring the receipts in to the Chamber of Commerce, and get a $50 gift card. Oak Park has a similar program. So get out there tomorrow and show your favorite neighborhood businesses some love. With your pants on.

A sculpture at Maison Rouge

Maison Rouge Closeout

It was just announced that Maison Rouge, the gallery/shop on the third floor of the Century Shopping Center, will be closing, and before that happens they are slashing prices on the eclectic collection of modern and contemporary paintings, sculptures (like this Wesley Dolinsky bronze), and photographs, as well as rugs, historical drawings, and small objects. So if you’re heading to the Landmark Theatres to see James Franco having a really bad day, or a severe tattooed Swedish girl kicking and burning things, stop by and see if there’s something you have to take home.