A decorated store window at Isle of Man
Studly Storefront

With the current butch buzz of mancaves and bromances (No one really makes a fuss of metrosexuals anymore, do they? Those poor, well-manicured and well-mannered gentlemen must be so . . . relieved.), it’s only to be expected that masculine multipurpose haberdasheries have been sprouting up like so many five-o’clock shadows after a long holiday weekend. The latest, and pretty great-ish, venture, Isle of Man roared into Chicago’s North Center neighborhood late last month with a soft opening at 3856 N. Lincoln Avenue; is currently up and running; and will be throwing a grand-opening celebration on Saturday, Oct. 16 from 11–5 p.m, complete with burlesque dancers, hot-shave demos at an antique barber station, and wild meats to nosh. Owners Brice Cooper, a stylist and former host of HGTV’s Design on a Dime, and Arthur Holstein, a hotelier and man-about-town, became buddies through a mutual passion for motorcycle racing and a general gusto-grabbing approach to life. They’ve stocked the warm, modest 1,200-square-foot establishment with mantiques such as vintage trunks, luggage, and trophies, antique and repro signage, moto- and boat-gear and actual motorcycles and boat models, barware, and custom-made lines of clothing, fragrances, and candles, all for “men of character,” as their mission statement states. It’s full of the sort of things George Clooney and Steve McQueen would pick up on their way to an all-nighter at Ralph Lauren’s place, and I like it. I like it a lot.

The interior of Kenzy

Kenzy Kickoff

When Yasmin Mekki and her husband were building their Lake Forest home about six years ago, they came to a standstill at the furnishings. “We built a Moroccan-style home, but I couldn’t find any furniture that would go with the theme of the house,” she says. “So I ended up designing a sink, a coffee table, some end tables, mirrors, etc., and had them made overseas, in North Africa.” Thus necessity bred invention, and the resulting residence received so many flattering comments and “where-can-I-get-that?”s that Yasmin decided to open Kenzy, a retail storefront at 1849 Green Bay Road, in Highland Park, to showcase her visions. The shop’s opening was last Friday, complete with a ribbon-cutting ceremony by the town’s mayor, and now the North Shore has a new source for hand-hammered silver tabletop items and furniture, as well as gift items such as picture frames, trays, and bath accessories. Kenzy also offers custom carved-wood and plaster crown moldings, and (in case you’re wondering) kenzy means “my treasure” in Moroccan. “I feel like these items are my treasures,” Yasmin says. “So what better name than that?”

Patrons at the Art Book Swap, hosted by the Chicago Art Institute

I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours

Is that stack of coffee-table books feeling a little stale? Have your tastes shifted from Monet to Manet, or your fling with Picasso’s blue period faded to greige? This Saturday, October 9, you can trade in all the underappreciated art books in your library like so many Scrabble tiles at the Chicago Art Institute’s Art Book Swap, organized by Regency Arts Press and the New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA), in cahoots with the AIC’s Ryerson & Burnham Libraries. Schlepp your tomes over to the Franke Reading Room (accessible via the Michigan Avenue entrance of the ‘Tute) between noon and 5 p.m. and trade them one-for-one with hundreds of other donated art books. Only art books are eligible, and that doesn’t include instructional craft, travel, auction catalogues, or kids’ volumes—but it does include exhibition books, zines, and artist editions. Leftovers will be donated to Illinois prison libraries. The pic here is from the last swap NADA threw, at NYC’s MoMA in February.

A black and white photo by Steve Becker

Clark Street Shuffle

If you’re a regular Domestica reader (for those of you who are, a sincere tip-of-my-hat to you, and I hope the move to Thursdays didn’t harsh your buzz or anything), your eyes may start to glaze a bit when you see that I’m using the A-word again (that would be Andersonville), but seriously, there are so many good home stores perched up around Clark and Foster that I would be amiss to call them out from time to time. Tomorrow night’s kick-off to the Andersonville Arts Weekend provides a good opportunity (and a cheap date night) to see what’s new and different on the Swedish-scented streets, with receptions, demos, and discounts, officially till 10 p.m. but dollars-to-donuts the fun will go even later. It’s the eighth incarnation of this event, and dozens of local restaurants, shops, and businesses will be showing the work of visual artists in addition to their usual offerings. Special activities will be going on all weekend, so check the site if you’re interested in anything in particular. This is one of Steve Becker’s photos; he’ll be showing his work at Brimfield.