BBJ’s Linens and Things

If you’re a regular on the charity gala circuit, or attend a lot of fancy-pants weddings and dinners, you’ve probably seen and admired the work of BBJ Linen, a Chicago-based high-end table-linen rental and event planning company. Founded by college pals Judy Goldberg and Bonnie Dannen in 1983, the company has expanded to 16 national showrooms with more than 70 sales and service reps, and creates magical party environments for all kinds of award ceremonies, celebrity nuptials, and private events. BBJ (the second B stands for partner and designer Bill Pry) recently opened a home store at their Skokie location, and is retailing new and gently used table linens, napkins, runners, chair ties and fabrics, as well as a selection of dishes, custom orders, and other home items. Just in time for the holidays, the store is located at 7855 Gross Point Road and is open Monday through Friday, 10–6 p.m. (7 p.m. on Thursdays), and Saturdays from 8 a.m. until noon.

Paint Party

I had the pleasure of running into Michelle Quaranta, owner of Bucktown’s Colori Eco Paint Boutique, at a party last weekend, and she told me about a new line of super-smart, premium latex paint she’s introducing to the Chicago market at a launch party Thursday, Oct. 22 from 6–9 p.m. It’s called Mythic Paint, and she praises its durability and coverage (sans those nasty off-gassing VOCs, toxins, and odors of less eco-friendly options). Brush up on the 1,232 colors it comes in and meet Michelle and her team at the event, by RSVPing here.

Urning Potential

I ran over to Gethsemane Garden Center to pick up a few pots the other day, to try and winter over some bushy herbs that I’ve been nurturing all summer. (Hopefully they’ll make it until Thanksgiving at least, but that sage is looking a little iffy already.) The planter and statuary sale is still going on, and there are some terrific deals on all sizes and materials, including a big heap of deeply discounted “cash-for-clunkers” pots in the parking lot, some with tiny chips, most in virtually perfect condition. Among new (not on sale) inventory I spotted this line of fantastic Indonesian stacked-stone vessels from Homestone Imports, some with highly polished river rocks, some with more angular, broken slate pieces. The bases are heavy concrete, so larger urns can weigh more than 1,000 pounds, (they deliver, don’t worry) and prices start at $110.

Ethnographic Opportunities

Culture vultures will be swooping down to Bridgeport in the next four days for another one of Primitive’s huge warehouse sales. Owner Glen Joffe opens up the 30,000-square-foot space at 1200 West 35th Street only a couple of times a year, and this time, find discounts on regular Jefferson Street showroom merchandise when you drop some coin at the warehouse sale. Spend up to $500 and they will knock 15 percent off retail anything at the store; spend more than $1,000 and the discount jumps to 25 percent. Primitive associates have been globehopping to collect jewelry, furniture, sculptures, and artifacts from more than 100 cultures, and will be offering thousands of items at the sale for up to 90 percent savings. The last warehouse sale I attended had a terrific variety of everything, including dozens of Chinese beds and doghouses. Sale runs today through Saturday, Oct. 24, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. each day.

Albany Ateliers

Garfield Park’s Albany Carroll Arts Building is having its tenth annual open studio event this Sunday, Oct. 25, noon til 7 p.m. and I’ll tell you why I’m excited about that. There are more than 25 furniture makers, artists, and designers participating, and the opportunity to stroll around studios of this caliber that are usually not available to the public doesn’t come along in Chicago all that often, especially since Lincoln Park’s Contemporary Art Workshop shut down this spring after more than 55 years. The lofty garretts at Albany Carroll are occupied by such skilled artisans as Ted Harris, (you may have seen his assemblage lamps and furniture at Scout) Bill Groot, (that’s his mirrored vanity pictured here) and Lucy Slivinski, who shows her sculpted light fixtures at Michael Del Piero’s Bucktown showroom. The theme of the day is Collaboration, so expect to see some interesting multimedia events going on in and around the studios. Admission is free, wine and snacks abound, and secured parking is available.

Bedding Blowout

We’re getting into heavy houseguest season, so if you want to stock up on bed linens this would be a great weekend to head over to Unison’s warehouse sale at 2000 West Fulton Street (enter on Carroll Street). Unison’s  colorful, graphic designs are currently being fiercely featured in the men’s apartment on this season’s cycle of Project Runway, and often remind me of Marimekko, at a fraction of the cost (duvet covers and pillows will be available starting at $36). The sale is Oct. 23–25, noon to 6 p.m., and they’ll be selling some table linens, accessories, and seasonal items as well as overstocks and B-quality merch, up to 80 percent off.