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The True Story of the Deadly Encounter at Fort Dearborn

For nearly two centuries, the events that transpired in Chicago on August 15, 1812, had been known as the Fort Dearborn Massacre. With the dedication of a new park, the bloody encounter between 95 soldiers and settlers and some 500 Potawatomi has been recast as the Battle of Fort Dearborn. What really happened on that hot August morning in Chicago 197 years ago?

Lake Bluff Mansion and One-time Church

List Price: $10.9 million
The Property: With an enormous indoor pool and recreation area, an indoor sports court, and a basement that contains a movie theatre, a full bar, and a barber shop, there might be no reason to even exit this 15,000-square-foot house—except that it overlooks Lake Michigan and…

Design Resolutions for 2010

Somewhere along the line, “New Year’s resolution” became a code-phrase for “setting self up to fail, but will absolve from memory by February anyway.” Well, where’s the fun in that? We asked three designers—Steve Bruss, president of Hudson Home; Summer Thornton; and Annika Christensen, interior designer and owner of Midnight Sun Antiques—to share their New Year’s resolutions for… your home! These goals are totally achievable, but if they do fall by the wayside, just blame the room’s chi.

Try a black kitchen. “Lacquered glossy black cabinets, antiqued mirror, and brass hardware melded together make a really sexy space,” says Thornton.

Don’t be afraid to shine. Bruss gives spaces a more luxe look by introducing shimmery, icy colors. He also likes to backlight walls clad in translucent stone, like white onyx. “It gives it a very sophisticated and glamorous look.”

Rethink your walls. “I’m excited about the use of more and more fabrics as wallcoverings,” says Bruss, who has upholstered a family room’s walls in linen and a study in worn leather. “These natural materials give the home the warmth it needs.”

Don’t be fake (with your finishes). “A home with real, natural, authentic items feels so much fresher,” Thornton says. She’s been gravitating toward natural-grained stones, such as onyx, tiger’s eye, and geodes.

Chill out. Bruss is saying no to vibrant walls in 2010. “I like wall colors to be quieter, more of a backdrop. Subtle colors make you feel warm and comfortable; loud colors are jarring.”

Be yourself. Christensen had a customer who fell in love with a Swedish landscape oil painting, only to call a month later to say that the painting didn’t go with her rug. “I was flabbergasted,” says Christensen, who discovered that “someone, somewhere had told her that the painting didn’t go well with the rug. Art is art!” If you connect with a piece, she says, don’t worry what other people think.

Don’t procrastinate on quick fixes. “In my own house, I hate how I knick the paint all the time. Woodwork starts to show, and it looks shabby,” says Christensen, who encourages people to do touch-ups as soon as an area begins to look ragged. “These little things bother visual people,” she says. “I fixed the paint in a couple rooms and, oh, how refreshing!”

Comparison Shopping: Surveying the masses for last-minute New Year's Eve parties in Chicago

A few weeks ago, while listlessly discussing options for seeing off 2009, my sister, Claire, proclaimed the following: “Other than marriage, New Year’s Eve is the biggest scam ever perpetrated on the American public.” I posted her observation as my status update on Facebook and received no fewer than 15 comments echoing…

Happy New Year

Dish is taking the week off, and would like to wish everyone a happy new year. Penny and her new Dish partner, Graham Meyer will be back next week with all the foodie news.

Buyin' from the Ritz, Verde Sale, Scientific Decor

Like many high-end hotels, every few years the Ritz-Carlton likes to shake things up and renovate its lobbies and promenade, changing out the furniture and accessories. Chicago’s own Ritz is in the process of doing just that, and it has shipped a shipload of elegant, quality goods over to Fort Pitt Furniture Liquidators to sell next weekend at its cavernous Bridgeport location, 1400 W. 37th Street. There are sure to be some great deals…

Easier Loans for Veterans, First-time Buyers

It’s been a quandary most of the year: real-estate prices are tantalizing now, but getting a mortgage is rough. The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) has a little-known program that makes borrowing easier for state residents; it offers interest rates lower than the prevailing norm for conventional loans, accepts borrowers with credit scores lower than most big lenders now require…

New Ukrainian Village Boutique

Lopez and Lopez
The brothers Brian Lopez and Marco Hafid Lopez share a long list of creative accomplishments. Working for big names like Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Shorty Capone Fashion, the Humboldt Park-raised duo has collectively designed everything from fine art and toys to shoes and clothing for the past decade.