320 S. California Ave., 773-392-1613.
We stumbled on Swirgon’s off-the-beaten-path store after buying a table from him on eBay. Swirgon, who has a master’s degree in fine art, specializes in mid-century modern American and European pieces, African-American art, and well-made vintage pieces that he cannot necessarily attribute. "Period is more important than designer," he says. "But the pieces must be of high quality and design." He opened his store—a diamond in a pretty rough neighborhood—in the fall of 2007; he’s been dealing on eBay for about four years.
Based in Mt. Prospect, Korsakowski sells quirky smaller accessories (glove forms, globes, chalkboards, porcelain figurines, old signs, educational posters) through her online Etsy store and through regular e-mails to private clients with photos of her latest offerings. "The maker is not important to me—I buy it if it looks nice to my eye," she says. Several local interior designers share their wish lists with Korsakowski; she is a favorite of stylists who work on Anthropologie catalogs and Banana Republic ad campaigns. She opens her warehouse only to select clients, but if you place enough orders online, you could become one of them.
3. Don Schmaltz
2100 S. Marshall Blvd., 773-656-7759.
Schmaltz has an extensive collection of pedigreed Scandinavian and Italian pieces from masters such as Hans Wegner, Kaare Klint, and Gio Ponti, along with furniture made by their lesser-known protégés and by contemporary designers such as Philippe Starck and Antonio Citterio. Under the name Archifresh, Schmaltz consigns through Treadway/Toomey Galleries and Wright auctions (wright20.com). You can check out his selection at archifresh.com, and buy directly from him by appointment at his South Side warehouse space. "Everything I sell has a name and a story attached to it," he says.