Chicago Secrets: Pegboard Modern


This post may contain tangents that may be unsuitable for most readers.  Reader intoxication is advised.

Some are saying “Chicago Secrets” is bogus, that my use of the word “Secret” is misleading.  They say that just as trashy tattler rags (sorry mom, but they are) use salacious headlines to attract pop culture junkies, I use “Secrets of Chicago . . .” rather than something less enticing like “Not Very Well Known . . . ” in order to “sell more papers.”*  If I were innocent I’d be outraged, but that’s exactly what I’m doing.

Pegboard Modern’s about as much of a secret as my rendezvous with . . . let’s just say owner David Carter is well-known among designers and dealers for his knowledge, friendliness and most of all, the high quality of his inventory.  The business has been online since Mark Zuckerberg was annoyingly Friending every kid in detention, but it was only when their home runneth over did the Carter’s decide they needed an entire warehouse to store everything.  Located along the only attractive stretch of Western Avenue, I’d say head over you can’t miss it, but you can’t head over unless you make an appointment and you very well might miss it, because there are no big flashy signs to alert passers by about the awesomeness so near (yet so far).

Continued . . .


It’s becoming a cliche to say that buying antique furniture is more “green.”  While it’s true, there are better reasons to buy vintage generally and mid-century modern in particular.  These pieces have stories.  Buy a couch that’s lived a little.  The pieces at Pegboard Modern have been there for weddings, funerals, showers and countless holidays.  Picture it!  It’s a warm sunny day in 1959.  Mr. Johnson enjoys a Marlboro as he drives his cherry red 57 Chevy home from “the office”.  He can’t wait to kiss his beauiful wife Betty and enjoy a gin martini by the pool.  But no drink awaits Mr. Johnson.  And he knows why the instant he looks out the back window onto the pool . . . only the furniture knows what happened.  See?  These objects have absorbed all this amazing energy.

Aren’t I a good B.S.’re?  I almost started believing myself until I remembered I was deliberately trying to sound new age-y in order to make the post more diffic . . . entertaining for you.  But I do kind of believe the part about the energy.

In all seriousness, there are more pragmatic reasons to buy vintage.  The classics are classics because they’ve been in and out and in again until they transcend the cycles and become timeless.  So the pieces you buy probably won’t look dated.   There are financial reasons too; when you sell mid-century classics, you’ll probably break even or make money.  It’s an investment.  You can’t say the same about most contemporary furniture (or stocks).  Finally, this stuff is just cool.

Click here to visit Pegboard Modern.  Appointments are available upon request.  Keep checking out Strange Closets, because very soon I’ll be featuring the Carter’s sweeeeeeeettttt home designed by John McPherson; it’s the perfect backdrop for their amazing collection of furniture.










* The definition of which will one day be unknown all but linguists.

** You can go to Design Within Reach if you want, to buy everything new.  It’s perfectly legal.  OK even.  But I think it’s important that you think of all CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere so that you can buy an Eames chair that doesn’t have a scratch.  Oh wait, it’s not OK.  The ice sheet is melting and we’re all screwed (says the guy who loves air conditioning more than food).  Buy vinage.

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4 Responses to “Chicago Secrets: Pegboard Modern”

  1. I am salivating over this.. omg!!

  2. Great article! I just finished giving a lecture in conjunction with the exhibit Birth of the Cool (Califorina art and design at mid-century) and vintage objects having soul was a large part of the discussion.

    At our store,, we don’t sell repros or knock offs at all. We consider them a little souless and a little like bottle blondes, trying too hard to fit in and follow a trend.
    Though we have moved from straight 50s modern and are trending more towards, 60s and 70s designers like Baughman and later Fornasetti as well as including American Industrial(Mix it, Baby!), we still have a soft spot for early mid mod.

    Great article and thanks for pointing out the need for Soul in your vintage!
    Best, Elle – Austinmodern

  3. The other “Great Secret” about David Carters emporium is who he rents the space from- and the WEALTH of knowledge that that man has about Custom Furniture, Chicago Architects , Designers and Furniture Makers as well as the best places for Tacos on Archer Avenue……

    Will we ever know who that Mystery Man is?

    Stay Tuned…….

  4. I cant wait to get in there.

    But, I do feel compelled to point out that, regarding the Eames chair, Herman Miller is one of the few manufacturers not pumping a lot of co2 into the atmosphere.

    – Daniel (with a vintage Eames chair)