Store Guide – 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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Amazing Space designer furniture sale -Saturday, June 11th (sponsored) Thu, 09 Jun 2011 00:29:13 +0000

This Saturday, June 11th from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Diana Ostreko is holding a one day only sale at 191 N. Marion Street, #3 in Oak Park to sell the remaining inventory of her now-closed mid-century furnishings store Amazing Space. She will be offering 25-50% discounts on all her website items (other discounts vary). Details and photos below. Additional information is also available at Diana’s websiteThanks for sponsoring this post Diana!

191 N. Marion St. #3 Oak Park 60301
3rd Floor Walk-Up (No Strollers, No children under 5 during peak hours)
CASH ONLY, PERSONAL CHECKS for over $300, pick up items after check clears.
Not responsible for accidents.
Mid-Century Reupholstered Hollywood Sofa
Chrome Pedestal Dining Table
Iron Pedestal Breakfast Table
1960’s Butterfly Chairs-3 With new black slings
Mid-Century Stiffel Lamps
Reupholstered French Chocolate Velvet Chairs/pair
Middle-East Rugs
Modern Shags
Mid-Century Danish Ceramics, English Stoneware
George Jensen Stainless Flatware
Chinese Ceremonial Necklaces on stands
Painted Furniture
Side Tables
Holmegaard Stemware
Contemporary Original Art
Framed Posters
Handmade Designer Pillows
Terence Conran Lounge Chair/Coffee Table

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The new Lake Forest Resale Shop Mon, 30 May 2011 23:34:19 +0000

While it might feel like spring flicked us the bird this year, the opening day of the new Lake Forest Resale Shop in late April was absitively lovely. Owner Diana Durkes, who rescues and rehabs discarded furnishings and writes about the results in her Tossed and Found column for Time Out Chicago and on her blogs Fine Diving in Chicago and Garage Sale Warrior, must feel like she hit the jackpot to have found such a charming little storefront in downtown Lake Forest. Check it out. Click here for the Lake Forest Resale Shop Facebook page.

Lake Forest Resale Shop. 653 N. Bank Lane, Lake Forest, IL. 847.234.0539. (Donations accepted).

Opening day well wishes.

Hoo to you too birdy. (While popular, owls should not be used in decor).

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Benson Corners Antique Mall Wed, 30 Mar 2011 05:18:44 +0000

I drove to Lake Geneva to see a fantastic house yesterday. On the way home, I killed a little time (approximately an hour and a half) browsing the interesting booths at the Benson Corners Antique Mall in Bristol, Wisconsin. BCAM (as the Bristol local youth might call it) is the kind of place with tags that say $5 Firm! for something that might cost fifty bucks in Chicago. Check it out the next time you’re in Bristol or plan a special visit and check out Lake Geneva while you’re up that way. Have a nice day.

Benson Corners Antique Mall. 19942 75th St., Bristol, WI. 262-857-9456

I already regret not buying this 1970’s Spiderman album ($12).

This is a pretty amazing piece in very good condition.

Has this been tested extensively?

My one purchase at home.

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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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Profile: Morlen Sinoway Atelier Fri, 11 Mar 2011 07:17:47 +0000

Morlen Sinoway Atelier is highly charged and saturated in all the right places. The Fulton Market Street showroom is a creative outlet for Sinoway, who has a background in fine arts. For him, the atelier is his shop, a kind of salon where the objects have a conversation, and all are welcome to drop in and join for a bit. The guests at this salon? 1.) Lighting designed by Serge Mouille, whose wall-mounted swivel lamps and chandeliers are sexy, elegant and extremely functional. 2.) Heirloom-likely furnishings by contemporary designers (naught-century modern?). 3.) An eclectic collection that includes handmade jewelry, artwork by Joe Hindley, (one of my favorite artists, click here for his Strange Closets studio tour) and an assortment of rare and interesting vintage goods, such as a Porcelain lab ware from Berlin(!) and an antique pipe case collection (!!). It’s quite a party. “The element of surprise is important to us,” Sinoway says. Every spring, the conversation spills outside for the Guerrilla Truck show, which Sinoway started as a platform for young artists and designers to introduce their work. For those looking for an interesting, surprising and altogether delightful experience, check out Morlen Sinoway Atelier. And for those who want to filter their own home environment through a more unique, artistic lens, Morlen Sinoway Atelier also offers design services, so stop by or give them a jingle.

Morlen Sinoway Atelier. 1052 W. Fulton Market St., Chicago, IL. 312.432.0100

I kind of love this chair. It’s a young love, a tentative one. But in my experience, those are the ones that endure.

What is the significance of the peacock? Or are they just beautiful?

A Serge Mouille in its natural habitat. It’s a beautiful sight, and I was fortunate to capture it.

The red and white is groovy.

Very cool.

Morlon Sinoway and right hand woman Lori Oelhafen at the atelier.

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Rejuvenation Classic American Lighting & House Parts Thu, 24 Feb 2011 00:25:07 +0000

It’s been a long time since I ordered anything from Rejuvenation, but the Portland-based “classic American lighting & house parts” company was a lifesaver when I replaced the painted-over hinges throughout my apartment several years ago. The spring catalog arrived the other day, and the ‘Hood’ chandelier pictured on the cover made my pulse quicken, which is confusing, because I’ve been in mod mode for awhile, and the Hood chandelier is definitely a throwback to times gone by – especially as shown on the cover in oil-rubbed bronze. The thing is, the fixture also looks amazing in polished nickel (screen shot from’s helpful visualization tool below). I’ve been looking for something interesting to replace the old crystal chandelier in the front hallway, and I think this might be it. What do you think? Do you read Rejuvenation?

The Hood in polished nickel. Price as shown $353 (which isn’t so bad for such a statement piece).

Here’s where I see the Hood chandelier, although truth be told, the oil-bronzed look is more appropriate for the space, which was built in 1913, than the polished nickel one would be. I think. Note the door hinges, which I bought at Rejuvenation and which really transformed the whole place. Small detail but definitely worth it. (I tried soaking the originals in laundry detergent, but they were too far gone).

I love these pendants too.

This page is gorgeous.

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Store Profile: Trilogy Antiques & Design Fri, 04 Feb 2011 04:40:12 +0000

Some people with synesthesia see letters and numbers as having distinct colors. Others hear music when they eat. Susan Boyle sounds just like buttered popcorn! Maybe I’m a synesthete. When I’m surrounded by the perfect arrangement of  patinated “notes” in one my favorite vintage shops, I “see” a kind of song and my heart races in the same way it does during a swelling chorus. Working 9 to 5. What a way to make a living! That’s how I always felt at Brandon Nelson’s first Three Oaks shop, Ipso Facto Antiques, and it’s how I felt the first time I experienced his new endeavor, Trilogy Antiques & Design, which is basically an improvisational jam session with a talented group that includes interior designer, Laura Soskin and artist / craftsman, Bruce Hawkins. Brandon’s also a member of Squirm Orchestra, an experimental jazz band, so it makes sense that his showrooms would have such a satisfyingly hypnotic, although slightly off, beat.* Visit soon.

Trilogy Antiques & Design. 19 S. Elm Street, Three Oaks, MI. 269-756-3300.

* Brandon Nelson is also an amazing artist who attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Click here for photos of his recent exhibition.

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Architectural Anarchy’s new showroom Thu, 11 Nov 2010 05:21:09 +0000

Architectural Anarchy’s massive showroom opens this Friday, November 12th, and I suspect many of you will want to add it to your bucket list (or at least your weekend one). I walked through the joint three times during my recent pre-opening visit, but I still left with the nagging feeling that I’d missed something special, most likely one-of-a-kind, hidden in plain sight among the sea of amazing antiques, vintage furniture and salvaged goods assembled by owners William and Gosia, who first teamed up to open Architectural Anarchy at the Andersonville Galleria. Also look for an ever-rotating lineup of work by local artists. Featured this month are Zulu, Jodie Richter and Lidia Wylangowski. Check it out for yourself starting this Friday at 11 a.m. Regular hours will be Thursday and Saturday, 11 am – 6 pm, Friday 11 am – 7 pm and Sunday, Noon – 5 pm.

Architectural Anarchy. 2229 S. Halsted St. Chicago. 224.522.4525

A striking painting by Lidia Wylangowski.

Another Lidia Wylangowski.

Zulu’s work will also be on display. Gosia especially loves this piece, which Zulu titled Botiquin.

Midnight Ocean by Zulu.

Jodie Richter

Unfortunately, the vault’s not for sale.

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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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