Oriental Rug from Ten Thousand Villages
Rug Rage

The Evanston location of fair-trade retailer Ten Thousand Villages is hosting an Oriental Rug Event from September 11-19, bringing in a selection of more than 300 heirloom quality hand-knotted Pakistani pieces in all sizes. The event kicks off with an educational seminar and reception on Friday at 7 p.m., where you’ll learn rudimental rug rules such as how the wools are dyed and methods of tying fringe, to help you pick out cream-of-the-crop carpets. Reserve a spot at 847-733-8258 (the seminar will be repeated on Wednesday, Sept. 16).

Getable Gethsemane

It’s time for the highly anticipated Gethsemane Garden Center’s annual sidewalk sale this weekend, taking place in and around the Andersonville mega-market Saturday and Sunday, 9-4. I was running in to pick up an orchid for my friend’s birthday last weekend, and they have already begun pruning prices to prep for the event. All garden furniture is reduced by 50 percent (they added a new outdoor furniture gallery this year—I swear, if this place gets any bigger, we’ll need to commute from the parking lot) and there is a terrific selection of discounted outdoor planters, gift items, and holiday decorations, as well as the trees, plants and flowers upon which the store built its kingdom.

Swapping at Sweet Peas

The Libertyville interior design company Sweet Peas is having an early-bird, upscale swap meet this Saturday, September 12, 8:30 a.m. till noon, and inviting everyone to change out a home accessory that’s no longer making your heart sing for a replacement item that will. Here’s the scoop: Bring a lamp, mirror, piece of artwork, or other item that is in good condition (no upholstered furniture, please) to the designing women through Friday, and you’ll receive a ticket that is good for a similar piece of your choice on Saturday morning. Sounds like fun, and sounds like you should get there early for the best of the pickings, as it’s first come, first served. Sweet Peas is also having a fire sale that same day, where they’re granting the public access to the design showroom for marked-down deals on floor samples of furniture and other selected merchandise.

Roost Boost

I stopped by my favorite coffee shop, The Coffee Studio, for an afternoon caffeine fix, and noticed a lot of activity across the street at Daniel Malone’s funky vintage home store, Roost, at 5634 North Clark Street. I walked over with my iced Americano to see what was going on, and it turns out that the shop is in the process of expanding south into the adjacent corner storefront, virtually tripling its square footage. Roost has an eclectic mix of rustic wooden furniture, charming tableware, and repurposed industrial items, and I’m happy to see that he’s doing well. The brown paper is still up on the new windows, but you’re welcome to go in and preview the new space and increased offerings.

Cut the Cords

While waiting for my refreshing beverage at the above-mentioned Coffee Studio, I read up on the art exhibit lining the north wall. The whimsical silkscreen prints on display were produced by Threadless, a Chicago-based collective started by Jake Nickell and Jacob DeHart in 2000 as an online T-shirt company with a novel approach. Every week the site posts international graphic art submissions and invites viewers to vote and comment on their favorites. The top ten (or so) designs are produced on T-shirts and sold via the Internet and at the retail store located at 3011 North Broadway. In May 2008, Threadless also started producing limited edition prints of winning designs, such as those at this hip coffeehouse. The intricate, commanding images are printed on heavy archival paper and surprisingly affordable—most run about $35. Pictured is Timberland by artist Attila Szamosi, of the Berlin design group Peachbeach.

Estate Scanning

The sixth annual Chicago Luxury Home Tour continues this weekend, Friday-Sunday, 11-6 p.m., and the remaining September weekends as well. For $20 ($15 in advance) you’ll get access to a self-guided tour of 17 newly built million-dollar-plus babies in such North Shore suburbs as Lake Forest, Highland Park, Winnetka, and Northfield, and western burbs including St. Charles, Downers Grove, and Geneva. The passbook is good for all remaining dates, so you don’t have to manage all the manors in one day or even weekend, and individual tickets are available at each location for $5.00 (proceeds benefit American Public Media). Participating homes are breaking out the wine and cheese on Tour Fridays from 3-7 p.m. Wear cute socks or be prepared to put on those ugly plastic booties—no shoes allowed.