Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Girls' Weekend Mission: SHOP CHICAGO

Once or twice a year, Joe and I have a free weekend, and it has become tradition for me to spend one of those precious time periods with my excellent friend, Lynda Boyd. And what could be more fun than exploring the great shopping landscape of my favorite city, Chicago!

Our first stop was Scout in Andersonville on the city's northwest side. We surprised owner Larry Vodak -- Larry has been a long-time rhubarb reign customer, but this was our first-ever on-site visit. What a treat. The shop has a relaxed but wonderfully edited feel, full of vintage treasures, artwork and repurposing, all with a clean, contemporary feel. I was so excited to actually get a look at it.

Larry was kind enough to show us all around the store, then drew a map of other must-see spots in the neighborhood.

Next we popped in to say hi to Larry's neighbor Julie Fernstrom, owner of Brimfield. While many of our Chicago customers would remember Julie from Kane and Grayslake, she now has a gorgeous permanent outpost, full to the brim with fabulous textiles and vintage finds. Think lodge, lake, English country house. Julie also does custom upholstery, which has been featured many times in national publications. In fact, the shop's name comes from her signature plaid, not the east coast show.

Julie was excited for us to see her newly opened lounge right above the shop, which is available for private parties. Her next project is a boutique hotel opening soon on the building's third floor. Wow.

Next we cut across the street to hit one of Larry's recommendations, Brownstone, an antique clearing house chock-a-block full of treasures. If I lived in Chicago, I'd definitely be a regular. Check out this great metal cabinet with original wood top that I bought right off their sidewalk:

It will be making its rhubarb reign debut very soon! Just down the street was an outpost of the popular local thrift store chain, the Brown Elephant. The racks were packed with all sorts of vintage treasures, but I had a hard time keeping my eyes off the surroundings. Once upon a time, the building must have been a theater. What a fabulous setting -- crusty, crumbly and oh-so-romantic. Again, if I lived closer, I'd be a regular.

Next, we surprised ourselves by agreeing to be interviewed for HGTV. It took a little longer than expected, because I kept forgetting to insert "HGTV" in to every sentence. Seriously!

Before heading north along Chicago's lakeshore to Evanston for lunch and a peek into Secret Treasures, we stopped in to see another rhubarb reign customer, paper store extraordinaire, Foursided, full of terrific, creative project projects and the raw materials for making them.

After lunch, we headed over to the Grand Street design district. I was dying to see Painted Lady, one of two locations owned by another long-term client, Beth Harlow. It is always super helpful to actually see the store environment. Sometimes what we picture for a particular customer is not exactly on target in terms of look or feel. I made some mental notes before we took a look at the other stores on Beth's block, which had also been written up in a recent Chicago Home and Garden article.

The sun was starting to set as we made our final stop, Greer, a wonderful new (to me) discovery that I read about in a Lucky magazine article on Chicago shops. Another lovely paper store, full of letterpress stationery, ribbon and wrapping. A little Starbucks rounded out our day. To check out Sunday's adventures, take a look at our Facebook page. Monday, we set up for the Holiday Open House at Mishawaka Antiques. More on that and Kane County coming up later this week!! xo


Glenda said...

Wait a minute, Scott and I only heard about the tires being low on your trip, never HGTV....... Please do tell the whole story next time I see you.

Gracie's Cottage said...

Oh Sandy, gonna print this out for future reference; sounds like fun!


(When will we see you on HGTV?)

katie said...

what? HGTV? you've gone big time now girl!

Georgia Gibbons said...

great post...where is Mishawauka?

Anita said...

sounds like a fun day of it! I am gonna be in South Bend on Monday- rats! That's the day Mishawaka is closed :( My checkbook is probably happier....

Ivy and Elephants said...

Sounds like a fun trip, and the stores with all the yummy treasure!
Thanks for taking me along, loved it!