May 14, 2009 -- A Decade of Dignity: The 10th Anniversary Spirit Awards was held Thursday, May 14th at the Chicago History Museum. More than 400 attendees enjoyed a fabulous auction, cocktails by Grey Goose Vodka and honored The Kohler Company, Aimee Nemeckay and InterfaceFLOR for their commitment to Designs for Dignity. Over $100,000 was raised for Designs for Dignity which provides pro bono design services to area nonprofits in Chicago and Southwest Michigan. Read more
Sofia So Good
After years of working in Los Angeles, Chicago native Ashley Zisook returned home to discover that she was unsatisfied with the city’s vintage shops. So, the veteran vintage sample sale organizer rented out an office space and, within three weeks, opened Sofia Vintage Boutique (1165 N. Clark St., Ste. 400; 312-640-0878). The new Gold Coast shop is named after the Academy Award-winning Italian actress Sophia Loren, who Zisook believes is the “true meaning of class and grace.” The shop carries men and women’s clothing and accessories from the 1920s through 1980s. Co-owning the shop with her sister, Allison Zisook Goldstein, Zisook personally selects every item from resale shops all over the country and will sometimes alter items; for example, she cut at least six inches off the sleeves on 1970s boho brown, pink, and... Read more

Full disclosure: The following paragraph contains shameless self-promotion. Please proceed with cautious optimism! In my “spare” time away from mommydom and scouting scoop and styling for Chicago Home + Garden, I am a partner in crime at M&B Vintage, a jewelry company that was started with long-time BFF and styling cohort, Marie Moss. We were recently asked by interior designer and all-around-generous-pal and client Nate Berkus (he recently gave our charmers to Marc Jacobs and chef Jamie Oliver’s new daughter, Petal) to be guests on his Oprah and Friends radio show. You see,  a few years back, when the search for one-of-a-kind baby gear turned up cookie-cutter finds for our own daughters, Marie and I headed to the flea market. We shared the ideas and inspiration in our book, Flea Market Baby (Stewart, Tabori & Chang). It’s a little you-can-do-it-too guide for decorating and gift-giving with a hint of history. Nate helps share our scoop on nurseries, memory making and our own M&B style with his listeners May 30 at 10AM EST on XM 156 and Sirius 195. We hope you’ll tune in to hear us dish about our digs. Thanks Nate!

Flea Market Baby photography, courtesy Aimee Herring

M&B Vintage necklace, courtesy Tyllie Barbosa

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I hadn't planned on spending my Tuesday night staring at boobs. But I had planned to spend it drinking beer, and after a failed trip to Bronzeville's newly opened, and seemingly newly closed, Swagger Lounge (5048 S. Prairie Ave.)—the door was boarded up; the lights were off; phone seems to have been disconnected; does anyone know what’s going on here?—I still wanted a pint. And in true Chaser style, I wanted it some place... Read more
List Price: $1.45 million
The Property: When two doctors, Chuck Sisung and Fred Hoff, bought this Lake View graystone in 1992, its Richardsonian Romanesque façade, which dated to 1882, was in good shape. The home’s interior, however, was in poor condition, so Sisung and Hoff launched a two-year renovation that included adding a two-story glass conservatory to the back of the house. That addition contains a... Read more

Vintage and Modern—is my new 1st dibs. Well, a price-friendlier, more accessible resource in my stash–with a similar vibe. (I still Jones for a dib now and again!) If you’ve not visited, V&M is a well-curated, dealer-direct site of online storefronts selling antiques, modern furnishings, collectibles, art, and jewelry. Its new, 2.0 version just launched and now offers global services in 40 different languages—it translates, and even converts pricing to the users’ native currency (easy for even a non-techy novice like me to buy from abroad!). Also new is a “Facebook-like” function where you can meet and greet and connect with dealers and buyers—including viewing their pics and stats. Listings include shops, decorators, and stylists in your area, too. You’ll recognize a few locals, (UberModern, Scout, Hudson Home, Scentimental Gardens, Zig Zag, and more). It can be a great way to preview the merch before taking a trek to a store, or doing a pre-shop for gift or decorating needs. Photos are stellar, many color-corrected in Photoshop so there are no surprises. I heart the E collection for my daughter Emma. New inventory gets posted Tuesday mornings, so wake with the birds to nudge in-the-know-designers outta the way for fresh finds.

Photographs courtesy of Vintage & Modern

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The Five
Don’t-miss events for 05.27.09 through 06.02.09

1. Win or Lose @ Highland Park Movie Theater
2. Unwigged & Unplugged @ Chicago Theatre
3. Do-Division @ Division and Damen … Read more
Hightail it up to Harbor Country this Saturday for Susan Fredman’s third annual Revive Your Green Retreat, a day’s worth of talks, demos, and activities focused on practical applications of eco-strategies in residential design. Learn how to save some green by going green Read more

If you have not been to the Mart’s south lobby lately, do yourself a favor and check it out. There you’ll find an incredible installation of Buckminster Fuller’s “Fly’s Eye Dome,” which was built for the Mart’s recent Artropolis exhibit (and to promote the Buckminster Fuller exhibit at the MCA. Made of 50 fiberglass sections, it’s 24 feet high, and weighs 3,500 pounds. Fuller, an architect and all-around visionary had originally conceived of this design as pre-fab affordable housing (the holes were for windows). So it’s appropriate that the Mart incarnation is filled with—and surrounded by—futuristic-looking furniture from the Vitra showroom, including the cool Vegetal chairs (whose design is inspired by the shape of a mature tree) and the funky high-backed Alcove sofas, both by French brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, shown above. The amazing green mass that hangs around the chandelier inside the dome is also from Vitra—called Algues, it’s actually a puzzle-like plastic room divider comprised of branches that can be assembled and molded into any shape or size. The dome and furniture will be on display through mid-June, coming down after the Mart’s major commercial furnishings show, NeoCon.

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