A piece of furniture at Randolph Street Market
Stocked Market

There is always a lot of creative bang-for-the-buck action going on at the Randolph Street Market, with its subdivisions of an antique market, a modern vintage clique, and an indie designer market nesting like Russian dolls. This weekend is no exception, and I’m honored to be participating in an Editors’ Choice for Charity event, where a group of us will be tagging our favorite items available for sale. A portion of the proceeds from earmarked goods will go to pet charities (mine is the local chapter of NAMI, the National Alliance for Mental Illness). Interior decorators such as Michael Del Piero and Ramsey Jay Prince will also be blessing “best booths” in competition for a Designers’ Choice for Charity event, and Chicago Home + Garden magazine’s editor, Jan Parr, will be signing copies of the handsome and hefty new Chicago Spaces: Inspiring Interiors tome on Sunday at noon. The market takes place Saturday and Sunday at 1340 West Washington Boulevard, and admission is $10 (or purchase discounted tickets here).

Rugs from Sawbridge Studios on display

Milwauking the Walk

It wasn’t all that long ago that I felt the need to explain myself when I extolled the virtues of Milwaukee (“It’s not so bad, really…”), but in the past few years I do believe people are ditching elitist big-city attitudes and coming around to the charms of the Wisconsin metropolis. A crisply modern Calatrava museum on Lake Michigan, a revitalized Third Ward warehouse shopping district, and some first-rate new hotels and restaurants have helped attract attention, and I’ve got a heads-up on a design show next weekend that might be inspiration for a little road trip, if you’d like to see for yourselves. The sixth annual Fine Furnishings & Fine Craft Show opens Friday at the Harley-Davidson Museum, and vroom-vroom to that, I say. Seventy-five exhibitors from across North America (almost half are cheeseheads) will be showing handcrafted work that is available for purchase, special order, or commission, and there will also be ASID designers available for consultations, door prizes, and a student show from MIAD’s first furniture-making program. Winnetka’s Sawbridge Studios will be packing up plenty of Arts and Crafts rugs and wooden W.A. Mitchell furniture and hitting the road for their fifth year at the show—here’s a picture from last year’s booth. Book a room at the Iron Horse Hotel if you’re staying overnight; it’s right across the road from the expo, and has a great industrial-boutique vibe.

A photo of Tipper Gore

Tipper, Bunny; Bunny, Tipper

I went to a festive opening celebration for the new Chicago Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams flagship Lincoln Park store last week (at 1555 North Halsted Street, right across from the new Apple store), and was impressed by the sleek bi-level showroom; the smart, classic furniture and lighting offerings; the tasty bites and bevs; and the starry guest list (it’s hard to imagine Lady Bunny breaking bread with Tipper Gore, but Mitch and Bob made it happen). Through October 10, take advantage of a 20-percent-off sale on all special-order upholstered items, tables, chairs, storage pieces, rugs, accessories, and artwork, including Tipper’s travel photographs, which are presented either framed in wood or floated behind glossy frameless acrylic sheets, and are surprisingly powerful. Here’s one of her shots from a Tennessee county fair. Diane Arbus-y, huh?

Inside Province Restaurant

Appetizing Design

The difference between a dining experience that leaves you with an aftertaste of meh and one that makes you want to swipe a menu to hot-glue into your scrapbook has arguably as much to do with the restaurant’s design as it does with the skills of the chef. It’s theater, and successful hash slingers get that. So does the Chicago Architecture Foundation, which started the Appetite for Design program to fold together interior designers and chefs to discover how they’ve collaboratively whisked up their creations. The program offers decor-minded diners a seat at the table to sample signature dishes and hear how the environment was envisioned, and it’s already opened up dialogues at such buzz-worthy boîtes as Girl & the Goat, Nightwood, and Terzo Piano. Snag a $100 reservation for the next course, at LEED-certified Province on September 27 (I’d love to hear the thinking behind this screaming-Mimi pink wall); upcoming venues include Sepia and Inspiration Kitchen.

A poster for the antique and flea market at the ReBuilding Exchange

ReBuilding Your Future

Last Sunday’s drizzling weather didn’t dampen spirits at the Vintage Bazaar one bit—it provided stellar hunting grounds for me and my posse, who staggered off with armfuls of furniture and knickknacks, including a framed Interview magazine cover trumpeting Fran Lebowitz (trust me, I have a spot) and a 1950s first aid kit (not so sure where that’s going to go, but working on it). I also walked away with some under-the-radar info about an upcoming antique market to be held at the ReBuilding Exchange at 2160 North Ashland Avenue this Sunday from 8–3:00. The nonprofit building-material reuse facility will be hosting a whole bunch of vendors of vintage home goods, furniture, artwork, and clothing, so if you missed VB’s shopping opps, or it whetted your appetite for more flea marketing, this one seems like a good rain-or-shine market to check out.


Photograph: (Randolph Street Market) courtesy of shane inman