Andersonville / Edgewater – Strange Closets people, homes, travel and stuff Mon, 29 Apr 2013 17:29:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Museum of Science and Industry Smart Home 3.0 Wed, 03 Aug 2011 16:10:15 +0000

Few things are more eco-friendly than recycling, which is something that vintage enthusiasts have been exclaiming since the first “green” products began hitting the market several years ago. This year, the Museum of Science and Industry acknowledged this fact by selecting Scout owner Larry Vodak to curate version 3.0. of their Smart Home, which I toured last week. While the inspired exhibit has always impressed, Vodak’s vision has imbued the space with the same kind of soul that pervades Scout and my other favorite haunts. One of my favorite elements are the upper kitchen cabinets, which are vintage steel cabinets from the University of Chicago science lab. If you haven’t visited yet, check it out. Smart Home 3.0 is well-worth the trip. Click here for more information about the Smart Home. Click here for more information about Scout.

After the exhibit closes on January 8th, 2012, Larry will be selling many of the furnishings at his Andersonville shop, Scout, so ask if you see something you can’t live without.

This is one of my (many) favorite Ted Harris pieces.

Another Ted Harris piece, this chandelier was made from old fluorescent light bulbs.

The open upstairs landing makes an ideal place for an office.

This Italian bed is one of the few new pieces. I love it. What do you think?

In the garage, a cool way to grow plants.

Larry Vodak

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Green Element Resale (Plus: time travel invention?) Tue, 15 Mar 2011 05:28:12 +0000

Welcome to the future. Video phones are real. Sort of. Cars drive themselves. At least the Google ones do. And with my new invention, the Time Viewer, viewing the past is as easy as adjusting the dial to the desired date. As evidence, I’ve included a photo of the amazing (if I do say so myself) invention, which I simply set to 1968 and pointed at  my living room fireplace wall. Not really, but that would be almost as amazing as the iPad. Actually, the slide belonged to a Swedish family who once lived on Ashland Avenue in Andersonville, although they traveled to San Diego to visit Lou and Barb in 1968 (stay tuned for Barb’s Open House). It was part of a DVR-sized cardboard box full of slides (the perfect gift for a friend who collects), which I bought at Green Element Resale, a new second hand showroom of the old-school variety. There’s a lot of everything in the massive warehouse, and I saw quite a few incredible finds at great prices. If you’re into that kind of thing, I suggest checking it out.

Green Element Resale. 6241 N. Broadway Ave., Chicago. 773.544-0505

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Broadway Antique Market (BAM!) Wed, 27 Oct 2010 07:16:03 +0000

Living just a few blocks from Broadway Antique Market (BAM) can be dangerous. Here’s what caught my eye when I stopped by last Friday.

Broadway Antique Market. 6130 N. Broadway Ave., Chicago, IL. 773.743.5444

I regret disclosing that the sofa I love so much has a twin, because I have a feeling it’s going to get scooped up soon.

Amazing. One of a pair.

I’m so drawn to mustard, especially the good tangy stuff. I love this chair too.

Doesn’t this photo look a little like a 50’s advertisement?

Nice lines.

I actually think this table and chairs is kind of hideous, but context is everything, and I don’t like the rug any better. But I’d like to be proven wrong, and as evidenced by the fact that I took several photos, the set is visually interesting on some level. What do you think?

I’m so into trophies now. I’m sure I’m compensating for the fact I wasn’t a sports guy in high school. I do have a yearbook staff pin.

I think this is Scout owner Larry Vodak’s booth, and I’m not surprised, because this amazing coffee table is the type of unusual, masculine piece he specializes in.

I don’t even know how I feel about upholstered arms, but I have a feeling that as a trend at least, they’ll be everywhere any day now.

A classic piece.

Should I even be trying to resist this? Why do I like this kind of thing so much? It’s perplexing.

I love this piece. It would be perfect to replace the small crystal chandelier in my entry hall. This is more my speed (although I’d prefer chrome or nickel).

But of course.

Wouldn’t it be funny to have an average apartment with a waiting room? Guests could sit there and read Prevention Magazine while I shower and change.

Handsome, very handsome.

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This Week: Julian Marc Sat, 03 Apr 2010 16:14:20 +0000

The friendly rivalry between parallel corridors Clark Street and Broadway recently became an all-out war with the addition of vintage shop / upholsterer Julian Marc on Broadway. Game on! We vintage freaks are better for their competition. Clark Street’s currently in the lead with a greater number of home stores, but both streets score high on walkability, and there’s plenty to do on Broadway alone. Julian Marc joins the Broadway Antique Market and the Edgewater Antique Mall, both of which are located due north and within easy walking distance. Cap it off with lunch at the delicious Uncommon Ground.

Julian Marc.  6054 N. Broadway, Chicago.  773.359.1613

This Week: Brimfield U.S. Tue, 02 Mar 2010 07:29:59 +0000

Julie Fernstrom’s Brimfield continues to win press accolades, but did you know Fernstrom also owns a shop located a few blocks north on a stretch of Clark Street near home retailers Room Service and Roost? Brimfield U.S. offers a similar line of products as the Brimfield mother shop due south, so be sure to pay a visit if you like tartan upholstery, vintage goods and mid-century style. I suggest setting aside an entire day in Andersonville, starting off with brunch at M. Henry or Taste of Heaven (the Katie’s Cakes are happiness on a plate and the Breakfast Burrito is reliably good eats) before shopping the day away. But be forewarned that Andersonville gets in your head. It starts innocently enough, but it’s really quite insidious (the Swedish influence no doubt). You might take Clark even though it’s not convenient – just to drive by the pretty windows. Next thing you know you’re living on Summerdale. Or one of the other Dale’s. It’s true. I know a guy who knows a guy whose cousin found himself in that exact situation. OK, it was me.

Brimfield U.S. 5644 N. Clark St. 773-944-5100

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Architectural Anarchy at Andersonville Galleria Wed, 20 Jan 2010 05:34:49 +0000

Gosia I. Korsakowski’s regularly sends out e-mails with images of items she’s to her vintage Etsy shop.  More than once, the e-mails have prompted me to visit Gosia’s space at the Andersonville Galleria where I inevitably find five more things I want.  She’s smart huh?  Things must be going well, because Gosia recently partnered with another vendor to expand the Galleria space.  Dubbed Architectural Anarchy, the space rocks.  Stop in and check it out.

Andersonville Galleria.  5247 North Clark St. Chicago. 773.878.8570

Why is that giant red phone receiver still available?  It’s big, strange, quirky and red; what more do you want?

Gosia also carries Albert Tanquero and Jim York’s line of The Found cards.


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This Week: Scout kicks it up a notch Tue, 03 Nov 2009 09:19:41 +0000 3948916429_7c95fd5e86

In order to see Scout’s new window displays, I often divert my car needlessly from Ashland Avenue to the much busier Clark Street.  Sometimes I see owner Larry Vodak or interior designer Nicholas Moriarty working on a display or chatting with a customer at the front door, and for some reason, I tend to duck down and hit the gas as if I’ve been caught doing something bad.  And why?  It’s not like there’s a court order.  But my Ashland/Clark shame fiasco’s always worth it, because Scout’s windows invariably dazzle, showcasing the store’s new additions in such a way that they somehow cease to exist as separate things, the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

But life being as busy as it is, I don’t frequent Scout or my other favorites nearly as often as I would like, a fact I’ll have to change, because during my recent visit, I was blown away by the shop’s interesting mix of furniture and accessories, especially Ted Harris’ lamps and pendants, Michael McGuire’s art and Vodak’s occasional quixotic pick (a canoe hangs from the shop’s gorgeous tin ceiling).

Continued . . .


Vodak and the people whom he represents and collaborates with, Moriarty, Harris, McGuire and others, have a kind of retail chemistry.  Of course, chemistry’s naturally happening all around us in nature, but we also use the term to describe the magic that happens between friends and lovers in life and between actors on the stage and screen, the magic that happens when people come together to create something special.  Insert appropriate sports analogy here.

Sure chemistry can be explosive once in awhile, but did you notice how happy you felt when the sun finally came out this week after what feels like months of gloom?  People love the sun so much they travel to Florida of all places.  That fiery ball in the sky is chemistry at work.  So is the reason it makes you feel so damn happy after a long separation.  It’s one chemical reaction triggering another and on and on.  It’s all chemistry.  And that’s what I contend is now happening at Scout.  Which explains the cool windows.

Scout 5221 N. Clark Street. Chicago, IL. 773-275-5700

From Friday 11/6 – Sunday 11/8, Scout will be exhibiting at this year’s Winnetka Modernism show at the Winnetka Field House.  Please stop by to support your favorite modernist dealers and to celebrate the show’s 20th anniversary.

Larry Vodak was featured in the Fall 2009 issue of Luxe Magazine, and it’s a terrific piece.  Check it out on newsstands now.











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This Week: Blue Bell Bazaar (online and at Andersonville Galleria) Wed, 21 Oct 2009 05:20:23 +0000 il_430xN.97354893

I actually look forward to receiving owner Gosia I. Korsakowski’s Blue Bell Bazaar e-mails, which she sends out regularly to showcase new products at her Andersonville Galleria booth.  Gosia has a great eye, and her prices are very reasonable.  Here are some of my current favorites.

Click here to visit her Etsy shop.  And to sign up for her e-mail list, e-mail her at: bluebellgk [!at]

Above: vintage desk chalkboard. $59 (Write yourself a love note and keep it at your cube).






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Friday Roundup: If you like Open House tours, you’ll love this Roundup Fri, 16 Oct 2009 05:15:36 +0000 30717420

OK folks, we’ve got a lot to cover today so let’s just skip the chit-chat and get to it.  First up, I continue to be impressed with the New York Times home section, which features interesting interiors, fascinating stories and stunning photography.  I can’t stop looking at these spectacular images of Tony Cenicola’s recent photo essay Farmhouse Palette; they have a stillness about them that brings Hopper to mind and practically demands contemplation about life’s “big questions.”  Like, why do I love anatomy charts and models so much?  Displaying heart models and hanging anatomy charts has trend written all over it and will no doubt be part of any future web program set during the zero’s (or whatever we’re going to call this really horrible decade – think about it).  I’d like to make the claim that I’ve always been a fan, but the evidence (my stuff) says otherwise, and frankly, I can’t recall thinking about anatomy much one way or another (with regards to decor) prior to sometime around 2007.  That didn’t stop me from stealing an idea (below).

Click here to see more than a dozen more photos from Farmhouse Palette.


I have been looking for this globe FOREVER. I've found a couple, but they're always $1200.


This is the idea I stole, the framed anatomy piece. I just bought one on Etsy, and I think it'll look darn good in the bathroom.

Excuse me, I have a question: are the French ones just a passing fad too?  They seem kind of timeless.


Yes, even the French ones.  Especially the French ones.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t bid on this beauty, which was on Ebay last night.

Speaking of Anatomy

I’m really enjoying my daily email from the blog Street Anatomy.  Don’t worry, it’s not wordy like this; it’s just a quick look at all things anatomy.




I have a Twitter account but I don’t use it much

Have you ever wondered where Twitter’s co-founder Evan Williams lived?  No?  Evan Who?  I know, I didn’t either, but it’s sort of interesting to see how non-fab it is.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s real nice and all, but it’s just . . . missing something.  What do you think?  I wonder if the listing had fewer than 140 characters?

Photos by Dan Friedman for Huffington Post.




Did I mention I love the NY Times?

Audrey Temelsman’s New York Times article The Industrious Tenant about a designer who rehabs his apartment in exchange for a good deal on rent reminded me of Chicago’s very own Decorator Dave.  Except Dave didn’t get a break on his rent when he rehabbed the unit’s kitchen, even replacing the kitchen cabinets.  Second City indeed.

Photography by Peter DaSilva for New York Times.



I must say that I love this room.

I would have said such nice things about your house

Jayson Home + Garden’s Caroline Scheeler’s home was featured in the November 2009 issue of Country Living, and of course, it’s remarkably chic, sophisticated but homey.  Country Living did a fantastic job with the story and photos, and while I admit it stung when I realized I didn’t get the exclusive (learning about it on Facebook no less), the photos were like a medicated salve.  Be sure to check out Country Living for many more photos.  And congrats to Caroline!



So cute.

Don’t forget to frequent your favorite locally owned Jayson Home & Garden

And also please visit Jayson Home + Garden, which recently unveiled its excellent new collection, which includes things like:





Here's what it looks like if you're peering at it while seated or standing in a very awkward, ucomfortable position (if you must know).

Apartment Therapy says the next big trend will be arrows. Bullseye.  Good call AT.  I didn’t see it coming, but I like it.  Canes too.  I bought one cane for a potential walking stick collection, but then I started seeing them literally everywhere.  Just my luck!  Why me?  If I ever turn myself in, I’m sure the prison booking room will have a bucket o’canes in the corner.


I contend that love is our most scarce commodity. Doesn't have quite the same ring to it, does it?

Another Apartment Therapy Story?

Another Apartment Therapy story? Damn AT, you’re on fire. Thanks for your coverage of Charlotte Mann’s illustrated decor.  The technique of drawing intricate room details on plain white walls has also been used by Nest Magazine founder Joseph Holtzmann and Chicago set designer Brian Sidney Bembridge.   Stay tuned folks, we might be witnessing a trend cross the chasm from a quirky idea embraced by a few early adapters to mass adoption.  I feel so fortunate to live during this time of changing trends, to see for myself pivotal design moments that will no doubt be studied and debated one day.

As an aside, have you noticed that carnivals are the new clowns, something meant for kids, but which they instinctively (and as it turns out, appropriately) fear.




Left: NY Magazine

Right: Brian Sidney Bembridge

But if you prefer your walls white . . .

I love this craftsman, which was designed by Aaron Hom and featured in the October 2009 issue of House Beautiful.  So adore it I do that I actually scanned the pages because I couldn’t find the images online, and I wanted to share the story with you.  Did you just read what I just typed?  There’s no length I won’t go to get the story. No length.  In terms of horrible things to experience, scanning ranks somewhere between feeling extremely bored and drip drip water torture. You can’t read other things because it’s just fast enough so that you don’t really have time, but it’s also just slow enough to be really annoying.  If you’ve never done it, I highly recommend you don’t. It’s pure drudgery.  But this white craftsman is a revelation. Local writer Lisa Cregan interviewed Hom, and I enjoyed her thoughtful questions and witticisms.

What do you think about transforming a heavy Chicago craftsman into an thoroughly ethereal, modern home?  Are you in favor of sensible change?  Or do you prefer stagnation?  That’s how political parties structure questions to skew the results of public surveys.  Enjoy these photos:

Please note the skill in which I used scotch tape to combine a gorgeous double page layout of maybe my favorite bedroom ever.  You read it right, plain old Scotch tape. Believe it folks.

Photography by Julian Wass

HB 1

HB 2



Of course, I just found the whole story plus photos on House Beautiful’s website.  Grrrr.


Some friends will do anything for a blog mention

Finally, thanks to my friend Marla for sending me this Etsy listing for a coffin sofa.




Here are some events you should check out if you can.



The Holiday Market

Remember former Open House star Samantha?  Check out her band’s new show.



Are you jealous that my hair looks like flames?

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This Week: Patina’s new Andersonville location Wed, 09 Sep 2009 01:58:20 +0000 3894848887_07a80e9fb1

I predict that as technology continues to improve, our future selves will increasingly retreat into virtual worlds more to our liking than the one most of us actually inhabit.  Of course, some theorize (Matrix fans anyway) that humans already inhabit a giant virtual reality, which, if true, means we’d simply be creating an escape hatch of sorts from one set of algorithms to another set of algorithms more to our liking.  It’s all zeros and ones folks.

But I digress.  In my world, all my favorite shops would exist on one long commercial strip; think Greenwich Village with your favorite stores replacing the ones you don’t like so much.  Or Chicago’s Andersonville, which is rapidly becoming so good that most people will prefer the reality to “what if” scenarios (although the Swedes may beg to differ).

Continued . . .


Patina owner Alan Shull recently relocated his urban antiques store from its near hidden Damen Avenue location to a prime Clark Street location just south of Foster (just say no to calling it SoFo), joining a ridiculously amazing selection of shops like Roost, Room Service, White Attic, Urbanest, Scout, George Lowell and Brimfield.*  Shull’s a cool guy, and the shop shares his former location’s chill vibe.  Sure it’s cool, but it’s just stuff, right? The prices are good too.

I’m as obsessed with Patina’s vintage metal furniture, baskets and bins as anybody, but Shull’s signature inner quirk reveals itself with pieces like a large wire dolphin, which would make a very strange, fun and potentially beautiful chandelier if covered with rice paper and illuminated from within.  Incidentally, this suggestion may answer the surprisingly common question about whether or not I’m an interior designer (I’m not).

So be sure to visit Patina next time you visit Andersonville.

Patina.  5137 N. Clark Street.  773-334-0400.














* It’s always problematic to start throwing out names, as I’m sure I forgot an amazing store or two.  Oh!  FourSided.  Don’t forget to visit FourSided.

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