Sometimes people walk through my home and say, “OMG, where on earth do you find all this stuff?”, and I never really seem to have a good answer. My response is usually, “All over I guess, you just have to have patience to find unique items.”
Recently a friend of mine was explaining to me her way of designing a room. She goes to one store, grabs a clerk and orders the vignette in its entirety. Boom. One store, out the door. “Sweet Baby Jesus!” I gasped and exclaimed, “I can’t even comprehend the words coming out of your mouth right now!” Her answer, “Isn’t that what everyone does?” E-ghads girl! Absolutely not!!!! Do you really want to walk into your girlfriend’s home for the next
wine book club meeting and see YOUR living room in HER living room? Where the ONLY difference might be a different shade of beige on the walls?
I’ve finally broken down. I’m going to share with you my favorite stores…my secret stores…the exact places where I find all these unique items in my home (in no particular order). BTdubs, in most of these places you will have to brace yourself for the ironically bearded with the I’m too-cool attitude (usually not the employees…they are sweet little souls). But we are House of Hipsters…we embrace you my fellow bearded brethren. So curl up those mustaches and buckle down the chin strap. Here we go!
Jayson Home & Garden: I’m going to start off with JHG mainly because it’s one of my favorites. Everything item in this store is beautiful. Period. They are unique, edgy and elegant all wrapped up with a bow on top. A shopping mecca for the interior designer. I shop here for tabletop accessories, pillows and wall decor mainly because that is all I can afford. They always have a great selection of uniques trays and boxes. I usually walk away spending a zillion dollars, but it’s worth every penny. I rarely shop the flea items here because they are way out of my price range, but they sure are purdy to look at!
Brimfield Chicago: One of my favorite stores in the city for found objects. It’s also on Clark Street in Andersonville so you know it must be oozing with cool. It’s gloriously curated and the displays are incredibly clever. I feel like I’m in some chichi fishing lodge in the northwoods…very rustic. It is difficult to shop here if you are looking for something specific, but if you are “just browsing”, you’ll walk out with an arm load of unique goodies.
Scout: This is one of those places that if you see it and like it, buy it immediately or at least bring it up to the cash register. Do not walk away from it, not even for a second, or it’ll be gone in a flash. Everything has this very unique industrial flair. Cheap? Nope, but you have to understand that Scout is part gallery and part vintage finds. This is not your average thrift store. Here you’ll find tables, desks and shelving. Sometimes you’ll find a sofa and maybe some chairs. Very clean lines, very utilitarian. Larry Vodak takes the simple and unadorned and makes them feel interesting and sophisticated again. Scout may be a small retail space, but don’t let that fool you…it packs a power punch of awesome.
White Attic: CLOSED. Besides The Lamp Bar (which I’m sorry, but how cool is a build your own lamp?), White Attic specializes in bedroom furniture. Nightstands, highboys, credenzas and dressers…they list their inventory on Facebook so you can pre-shop (and purchase if you call). Everything is vintage mid century but refurbed and by refurbed I mean it’s usually painted. Now before all the haters come raining on my parade screaming, “don’t paint the wood”, I must tell you this furniture is beautious! They save pieces and make them look brand spankin’ new, not your slap some paint on it and flip it kinda store. No sir-e-bob. There is some serious love and effort put into each piece, and it’s worth every penny. They have a couple signature looks, one is teal insides on the drawers, another is a beautiful vibrant orange. They also deliver, and I can say it was hands down some of the best service I’d ever received. CLOSED.
Brownstone Antiques: A treasure trove of deals and steals to be found here folks! Unlike Brimfield, you’ll need to be in the mood to dig here. Be prepared to get dirty. I actually think I’d consider this more of a thrift store rather then an antique store; however, I must add that they do have items just as nice as White Attic and Scout, you just might have to put some muscle into shining them up yourself. You also might find other local shop owners picking by your side…ya, it’s that good.
Found. Vintage Living: I swear I will tell you about places outside of Andersonville, but this neighborhood is THE shit for mid century modern finds. Found is a small but fun shop. This is one place I’ve found where the employees will offer some styling and design advise. Do bring in pictures of your room. They also list their inventory on Facebook so you can pre-shop — a very helpful perk when you have small children like me. A good amount of furniture and lamps with affordable pricing.
Broadway Antique Market: And we’ve made it to the Edgewater neighborhood! See, I told you I’d get us out of Andersonville. The Broadway Antique Market is huge. It’s one of those places that is full of booths and nooks where individual sellers can set up vignettes. You’ll find vintage cameras, globes, vases, ashtrays, old photos, maybe a pinball machine or two…I also tend to giggle in the aisle of “old porn”. Don’t forget to go upstairs. They have a nice selection of MCM furniture. It’s chocked full of unique items top to bottom.
Modern Cooperative: Welcome to Pilsen! This is another one of my favorite haunts…this place makes my heart swoon. If you are a dude, you may think it’s a bit on the girly side and even I will admit, the vignettes are more feminine. But, I think that’s a refreshing way to see mid century…a softer edge of the clean line with a side of macrame. It’s a great place for furniture AND accessories and you’ll get a ton of design and styling ideas.
Chicago Antique Market Randolph Street Flea: Do not expect Kane County Flea when you walk through these gates. This is a small flea held in a parking lot (they do have a side building with potties and air conditioning), but it is A-MAZING! This flea is quality over quantity. No tube sock vendors will be found here (not that there is anything wrong with that…no hating on me.) You may find a food truck or two and a live band. This is a place I can usually bring my kids without having total and utter meltdowns within 5 mins. Randolf Street Flea is an outdoor (although you can find some relief indoors from the hot summer sun) urban antique market located in the West Loop where you’ll find furnishings, jewelry and other collectibles. This event takes place the last weekend of each month and you WILL find parking.
Vintage Garage: This is a flea that takes place in an empty 6 story covered parking garage April – October in the Uptown neighborhood. They theme each event so be sure to go when they focus in on your favorite treasures for the best selection. I learned that the hard way when I missed Mid Century and attended Rockabilly and Tiki. Although Rockabilly is adorable…it’s a bit too kitsch for my home. You can find street parking but it’s not easy. I suggest taking the Red Line or the bus. You are bound to find something here and for only a $5 entrance fee, you really can’t go wrong. Plus, the people watching is spectacular here.
Humboldt House: An eclectic vintage bohemian mid century modern dream come true! Vintage textiles (one of the best sources for vintage kilim pillows and rugs in the city), barware, ceramics, taxidermy and vintage modern furnishings all reasonably priced. The owner, Claire Tibbs, also showcases a few hand selected local artisans for her jewelry and ceramic displays. Check their Instagram and Facebook to stream the newest pieces that are added daily.
Yearbook: Venture out of the city a bit to Forest Park, and you’ll find this lovely academic bent gem of a store. Think rulers, globes, pennants and rugby…very collegiate and full of nostalgia. I feel like I’m in the movie The Dead Poet Society. Very Princeston prepster on a cold winter evening, but you’re all warmed up with hot cocoa (with a secret shot of Makers Mark) and a Pendelton wool blankie by your side. But, be prepared to fall in love with merch that is just not for sale. See, you have to understand that Yearbook is also a design studio…walk in knowing it’s somewhat of a gallery as well as a storefront. The owners are creating an ambiance for their guest. Be sure to check out their front window. Last winter they teamed up with my buddy Anthony to create a 1930s trailer in the snow. One of the best window installations I’ve ever seen!
District Chicago: When I first started shopping District, Chris did not have a retail space. Instead, he ran his storefront behind a blog. And if you didn’t watch his feed like a hawk, you’d miss out on serious vintage goodness. He sees such potential in run down mid century modern furniture…I honestly don’t know how he takes these thrift store, garage sale, sad pieces of furniture sitting in an alley and gives them new life. He truly has a gift. A good portion of the furniture is painted, but again for those who hate on painted vintage treasures please note: these are pieces that may not get another chance at life. Chris turns them into masterpieces. District is only open on Saturdays and weekdays by appointment only. They also deliver for a nominal fee (even to the suburbs if you ask pretty please with a cherry on top).
Salvage One: I’ve been shopping here for years. There’s really no signage for this place, so know where you’re going, or you’ll miss the small door on the industrial cement building. Once you walk in, you will notice stained glass windows lining the walls, ornate chandeliers hung from the ceiling and mismatched pews. Yep, this place is not only a great spot for vintage finds, but it’s also one of the hippest places in Chicago to get hitched. What you’ll find here are salvaged pieces from historic buildings slated to be torn down, many from Chicago. They have an entire section dedicated to just doors and another dedicated to door knobs. I found my vintage high school doors for my basement here amongst many other treasures. Remember as a kid you really wanted beaded curtains instead of a door? They have it, but it’s made from old film strips. 3 floors in all make up this warehouse of awesome. I’ve been dying to attend a wedding there…PLEASE SOMEONE I KNOW GET MARRIED AT SALAVE ONE AND INVITE ME!
Inside Home: This little storefront in the Ukranian Village is stunning. Look here first and you probably won’t have to look elsewhere. An added plus, the owners are also interior designers so you know the vignettes are going to be nothing but on trend…plus they carry fabric and wallpaper. It’s a great mix of new and vintage pieces that are tastefully curated and surprisingly affordable. They specialize in Mid Century and Hollywood Regency and just plain awesomeness.
The Shade Store: A custom window treatment retail store located in the Merchandise Mart available to the public. Blinds, shades and drapes…AWESOME! These guys are fabby to work with. Completely professional and no pushy sales people walking the floor. They are literally there to help you. After we bought our home, I requested their catalog…it was helpful, but I still had a lot of questions. It was hard to narrow down exactly what I wanted. The boy and I wound up walking into the Merch one night after work (because he had to pee, Bavettes had another few minutes to open and it was FREEZING outside) and I was like, “OMG! They have a Shade Store!!!!!!!!” jumping up and down, clapping my hands wildly. Meanwhile, he was all like, “Woah, hey there buckshot. Let’s put the crazy aside.” All silliness aside, if you’re looking for window treatments go to The Shade Store. They have everything: ripple fold, tailor pleat, pinch pleat, inverted pleat, roller blinds, wooden blinds…well, you get the picture.
Now you know it all. Well, I might have held a few back because a girl’s gotta have a few secrets. But, I highly doubt they will ever run out of vintage, am I right? So why not share! And when it comes to being a small mom and pop shop, getting the word out can be hard. These stores are part of a community and we all need to support them. So share this page with your friends!