Mining Brimfield

During a drizzly Andersonville Arts and Home walk earlier this month, I stopped in to see what was new at Brimfield, Julie Fernstrom’s home store at 5219 North Clark Street. She showed me around the newly opened basement showroom, (which virtually doubles her floor space) jam-packed with more of her comfy country antiques, midcentury furniture, plaid pillows, and lots of other eclectic finds such as vintage cowboy boots and leather jackets, framed artwork, and cases of “smalls.” She’s also transformed the first-floor backroom, formerly a loading dock, into a Christmas wonderland of shabby-chic ornaments, retro outdoor sculptures, and other festive holiday foofaraw. Lots of inexpensive, nostalgic deck-the-hall options, if you’re so seasonally inclined.

Haute Deals

The inspirational, aspirational high-end arbiter of home design, Haute Living, has become somewhat more attainable now that the owners have further reduced prices at their River North showroom, through the month of November. You can find furniture, rugs, accessories, and even kitchen systems from luxe lines such as Rimadesio, Erba, Piet Boon, Binova, and Moooi. Discounts clock up to well over 50 percent on some items—these Oxford dining chairs, designed by Arne Jacobsen and produced by Fritz Hansen, are reduced to $790 from $2,328.

Minimalist Masterpiece or Crappy Furniture?

Donald Judd is one of the grand pooh-bahs of the 20th Century’s minimalist art movement, and is represented in the collections of the Chicago Art Institute and our Museum of Contemporary Art, where he’s currently in a show. I’m a big fan of his elegant, reductive works, but have to admit that if taken out of the context of a museum or gallery setting, it can look a lot like something you wouldn’t hesitate to set a coffee mug or stack some books on. Which is why this online quiz cracks me up—“Donald Judd, or Cheap Furniture?” You get 12 chances to guess whether it’s fine art or Walmart, and it’s superhard (unless you really know your art history or big-box stock). I only got seven correct—how did you do? I’ll give you one: This “chair” is the real McCoy.

Homey Happening

Lincoln Avenue’s Homey gallery is going Gallic this Friday, October 30 with a champagne reception from 6–9 p.m. to introduce a new showing of plein air paintings by French artist Lionel Tréboit. RSVP to or call 773-248-0050 and let them know you’re coming. Homey is a good resource for large, affordable limestone and terrazzo garden statuary (that’s also welcome indoors—why not?) as well as figurative, landscape, and abstract paintings, prints, and gifts by local and international artists.

Dancing Deals

The Joffrey Ballet recently acquired new rehearsal and performance pianos and will be selling the previous season’s batch at a one-day sale this Sunday, November 1, from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Nothing classes up a joint like a baby grand, and this is a rare opportunity to purchase a storied instrument at a handsome savings. All Joffrey pianos have been professionally maintained and come with warranties, and there will also be an additional selection of lightly tickled grand, upright, and digital pianos from names such as Steinway, Boston, Roland, and Yamaha. For an advance opportunity to see the instruments before the general public, call 847-807-9488 to make an appointment on Friday or Saturday, or visit here and register online for a time slot. In other Joffrey-related news, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers will be selling 137 lots of items owned by Joffrey Ballet co-founder Gerald Arpino, who died last year, this Sunday and Monday, November 1–2. Fans of The Dance can pick up photos, props, and historical items from the company’s 50-plus-year history, and fans of home design can find interesting ethnographic artifacts, furniture, table items and a lot more. Browse the catalog here or stop by for previews this Thursday thru Saturday. This handsome antique wooden horse stands 30-inches high and carries a presale estimate of $150–$250.