Elephant in the Room
I was getting a little shaggy, so I stopped by my favorite neighborhood hair salon, Shine, for a trim last week. Owners Shay and Charlotte are sweethearts and friends, and always good for Andersonville gossip and breaking news. They clued me in to a funky and fun new shop, Woolly Mammoth Antiques, Oddities & Resale, located a few doors down from Shine at 1513 West Foster Avenue, just west of Clark Street. The husband-and-wife owners, Adam and Skye Rust, are both artists (he’s a cartoonist, illustrator, and French instructor at Truman College; she’s a photographer and jeweler; they met cute in grad school at Chicago’s Columbia College), and plan to feature their own and other artists’ works as well as vintage furniture, clothing, and home accessories they cull from world travels. Curious about the name? I was too. As Skye told me, “We chose it because we are both animal lovers, and given that the woolly mammoth is extinct, we liked the reference of resurrecting an amazing animal, just like resurrecting treasures for the home. And southwest Wisconsin, where Adam is from and where we got married, is the last place in North America that mastodons were found.” As a result, expect lots of dinosaur and animal themed merch (the shop currently has a lot of vintage taxidermy, in addition to some items the newlyweds picked up on their honeymoon in Turkey and Romania). In related mammalian news, The Monkey Gallery, previously located in a cluttered storefront next to the Cheetah Gym, has migrated north to the 5400 block of Clark. It’s not quite open for business yet, but looks like it will soon be selling an eclectic mix of imported antique and new furniture and jewelry, gift items, and yes, quite a selection of primates.
Or any other bright, in-your-face color when it comes to spicing up your home design, according to the September/October color issue of Chicago Home + Garden magazine, now on stands. Once again, I’m proud to have had a part in putting out our title, and think this fresh issue is particularly strong and chock-full of clever ideas, inspirational living spaces, and practical advice. Among the features are a chef’s to-dry-for formal herb garden in Barrington Hills, a grandly elegant old manse in Glencoe that’s been freshened up with a peppering of modernist design, and an industrial Bucktown abode with an astonishingly angular footprint. Do yourself a solid and pick up a copy today, or subscribe online.
Demystifying the Mart
There is no need to hire a designer or wait for its periodic sample sales to browse the hallowed halls of the Merchandise Mart anymore, as the formerly to-the-trade-only resource has gone all-access (with some caveats, natch). John and Jane Doe can now stop by the DreamHome concierge, pick up a pass, and head up on their own to poke around more than 150 furniture, fabric, and accessories showrooms with 2,500 product lines, open Monday through Friday from 10–5. They are also offering a free one-hour design consult with a pro through a Designer-On-Call program, and can help you make purchases on the spot. This unprecedented opportunity is major, people. You can even pre-register, make an appointment, and preview products online. What more do you want—a cupcake? Oh and if you were contemplating buying the Mart after hearing news last week that it’s for sale, sorry, reports of its availability have been greatly exaggerated, according to Mart SVP Craig Dooley. “Allusions and rumors regarding MMPI being offered for sale are erroneous and therefore unhelpful to those involved with our business,” he writes in the comment section after the Crain’s story. You’ll have to think of something else to spend the reported $1 billion-plus asking price on, but with the new consumer buying program you can still walk around like you own the place.
Listen up: Summer is so last week, and it’s time to get over it and start enjoying the perks of fall in Chicago. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with favorite sweaters, lighting fireplace fires, and never having to hear Katy Perry sing that “California Girls” song ever again. There are also some once-a-year, don’t-miss events and sales taking place that have been on my calendar for months. If you’re into fine art and design, tomorrow night is like the Academy Awards for local galleries, who’ve packed away summer group shows and will be devoting gallery space to heavy-hitting solo shows and the work of new discoveries that they’re particularly excited about. There will be free trolley service shuttling art enthusiasts between the four main gallery districts from 6–9 p.m.; plan your evening starting here. River North’s Perimeter Gallery will be featuring the found-object assemblages of San Francisco artist Robert Hudson, pictured above. This weekend also brings Gethsemene Garden Center’s huge sidewalk sale, Saturday and Sunday from 9–6 (great for picking up deals on end-of-season pots, furniture, and accessories, as well as plants to fill in for scorched summer casualties—now’s the perfect time to plant perennials in our zone, so they have time to build up root mass before settling in for a long winter’s nap). And I’m also planning on taking in one of the last big outdoor art fairs of the year, the Renegade Craft Fair along Division Street in Wicker Park, back for its eighth year. The handicraft movement has really taken off, thanks to sites such as Etsy and people such as Sue Daly, director and co-founder of Renegade, who has seen her DIY concept expand from Chicago to cities across the country. Hundreds of indie dealers will be selling stuff on Saturday and Sunday from 11–7, there are foodstuffs and live music, it’s free, and always a good time.