Window treatments intimidate me. There are a lot of premade panels, blinds, poles, and gewgaws for hanging available, but I’m never sure where to measure or hang the rods, and I’m not a fan of big contrasting buttons, tabs, or clips. My partner Peter and I have been talking about changing up our sunroom window situation for quite some time, so we finally decided to bring a pro in to help. Steve Hafliger, an artist, designer, and friend, came over to assess and measure, and took us on a fun field trip to pick out materials at his favorite fabric resource in Chicago, Pilsen’s Textile Discount Outlet. This sprawling, inspirational store has three huge floors and a mind-boggling selection of drapery, upholstery, and fashion materials stored on towering racks, all at crazy-low prices (the owners buy overrun lots from mills, priced by the pound, so they are able to pass on designer-quality textiles at great prices—there are thousands of options well under $10 per yard, and some rooms with nothing over $5 per yard.) I would still be wandering around if it wasn’t for Steve’s decisive, enthusiastic, guiding assistance and familiarity with the outlet’s labyrinthine floor plan—he helped us pick out a sturdy Jonathan Adler–esque geometric pattern for crisp Roman shades, and a couple other patterns for additional window treatments that I didn’t even know were up for discussion. Call Steve at 773-478-6703 if you have any sewing needs, or if you just want to hire him to help you shop.
Speaking of Jonathan Adler, the cheeky trendsetter has just come out with a kittenish collection of home products inspired by the Barbie doll, after being asked to create a version of Miss B for her 50th anniversary. You can get Adler’s doll and accessories for $50, including mini-versions of Adler ceramics, furniture, and even his book; there are also (slightly) less saccharine full-size items such as laquered trays and boxes, needlepoint pillows, plates, and a version of his Pat Nixon albaca throw (in screaming pink and white, natch). This silly silhouette mirror is 20-inches square and retails for $295.
Fun and Games at Simone’s
Shopping for fabrics on our Pilsen prowl worked up our appetites, so it was the perfect opportunity to check out the buzzed-about interiors and empanadas at Simone’s bar and restaurant, located on the main Pilsen drag at 960 W. 18th Street. (Some of our favorite home design ideas come from restos, hotels, shops, and other commercial businesses, so keep an open mind when you’re out and about anywhere.) This friendly corner hangout used Salvage One’s in-house design firm, Alter Ego Form, to create a carnival/arcade environment, repurposing things such as bowling-alley floors, laboratory counters and beakers, schoolroom chairs and desks, and even a glass door from an old newsroom studio, with the logo still intact. (I love that sort of detail—give me Mary Tyler–more!) We sat at these pinball booths in the front room, which had backs woven from seatbelts, blinking game tops used as light fixtures, and sturdy seating created from the bases of the games (I sat on KISS!). There are creative, doable design ideas everywhere you look—don’t miss the backroom bar, which resembles Frankenstein’s lab—and the casual food is pretty impressive as well.
This Saturday, Oct. 10, Pasquesi Home and Gardens is celebrating the fall season with an Autumn Harvest event at its Lake Bluff location. From 11 a.m.–3 p.m. there will be cooking demos, trunk shows, an olive oil tasting/talk, and a chance to meet and watch Vietri glass artist Paolo Cristane work his deft decoupage magic on plates and platters. The crafty Italian artisan selects images from art history and nature, hand-cuts them, and layers them on the bottom of glass pieces, embellishing with rice paper and gold or silver leaf. He’ll be signing the one-offs, so bring in any previously purchased items and boost their value with his John Hancock.
As if I need any more TV shows to record, but I am jonesing for tonight’s premiere of a new design series on the Sundance Channel called Man Shops Globe, which follows Anthropologie antiques buyer Keith Johnson as he hops all over the world choosing and commissioning merchandise for the store’s 115 locations. I used to think of Anthropologie as an earthy, estrogenic clothing store, but I’ve come to be consistently impressed by the selection of home goods and hardware at their Southport Avenue, State Street, and other local locales (great windows, too). It’s only eight half-hour episodes, so that’s not too much of a TiVo commitment.
Dunno if it’s this recession we’re in, but gosh-darn, there are some good sales going on right now. Casteel Stone Design is having a liquidation sale this weekend, with great deals on granite vanities and countertops (as low as $150 for 9-foot lengths); DWR has a 15-percent-off, storewide sale with free shipping for any purchase of more than $1,000; Jayson’s 20-percent-off upholstery sale continues through Oct. 12; Bedside Manor is cutting prices on all iron beds this month; and the mellifluously-monikered Mobili Möbel (that’s Italian and German for Furniture Furniture—the River North store mostly buys their contemporary stock in Milan and Cologne) is having an anniversary sale on floor samples and special orders, through Oct. 24.