Cold Lang Syne
I don’t think it’s going out on much of a limb to say that there will be more champagne sold in the next few days than during any other week of the year. Whether it’s purchased to bring to parties, toast friends and fam, christen ships received as holiday gifts, or guzzle out of the bottle alone in little beds of shame and sorrow, watching Ryan Seacrest and that flashy ball-drop. I popped in to UnCork It, one of my favorite comprehensive liquor stores (this was the only place I could find pumpkin schnapps for a Thanksgiving signature martini one year, and ever since then I’m a big fan) on a booze run, and saw this clever packaging design from Veuve Clicquot. “Le Fridge” ($55) is modeled like a tiny 1950s refrigerator, and it will protect and keep your bubbles cold for at least two hours. I can’t think of a better hostess gift; it’s reusable; and when it’s not in use, it would be perfect chilling in Architect Barbie’s new Poliform kitchen.
Room & Board is making some room on the boards next week with its annual clearance sale, offering up to half off its floor-sample stock of classic furniture and home décor, including this natty Cole chair, marked down to $579 from $749. The sale starts Monday, December 26 at 10 a.m. at R&B’s three Chicago-area locations—downtown, Oak Brook, and Skokie (get there early and snack on some gratis pastries and sippers from Starbucks before doors open).
Inside Chicago Spaces
If you haven’t yet settled on your New Year’s resolutions, how about this one: Get out and explore more of the area’s architecture and interior design. The Chicago Architecture Foundation has a wide-ranging roster of insider tours and talks lined up for 2012, and I’m especially excited about a little Ukie Village happening on Thursday, January 26 at 6 p.m. in the home (pictured) of Karen and Bob Coscarelli. The three-story abode graced the pages of our Jan/Feb issue and was also featured in Chicago Spaces: Inspiring Interiors. Bob is a commercial photographer and frequent CH+G contributor, and Aussie Karen runs the spirited travel/design/food blog Roam & Home; they’ll be chatting with Jan Parr and the architects and developers who helped them execute their vision. The $60 admission includes wine, cheese, and a hardcover copy of Chicago Spaces. Secure a spot by registering here.
Oh My Darling
This time of year, crates of clementines show up like mushrooms after a spring rain, everywhere from corner bodegas to Fox & Obel, and I’m annually reminded of a simple craft project Apartment Therapy has been espousing for years: clementine candles. (I have a history with citrus projects; when I was a kid my mother gave me a box of cloves to poke into an orange to make a stinky studded ornament and keep me occupied during weekend trips to Door County. It didn’t work out very well, and ended up with me puking my guts out on the shoulder of Hwy. 42—young Mr. Domestica had a delicate constitution and proclivity for getting carsick.) I tried my hand at making these lamps last night, and it was a shining success—the website predicts about a half hour of burn time, but my cute little Cutie stayed lit for an entire episode of Homeland and well into a Chelsea Lately. Basically, you cut through the fruit’s skin at its equator, carefully (don’t rip the pip) remove both peels, pour olive oil in one half and cut a diamond (or star, moon, or Chicago Home + Garden logo, depending on your skill set), and light that little white “wick” that’s left attached to the peel, after the oil’s had a nice soak. There’s an instructional video here. If you’re in the mood to skip a few steps, a votive candle would work in place of the oil, and smell just as nice.
Sale of Your Dreams
You’ve shopped, you’ve dropped, and it’s time to treat yourself to a good night’s sleep on some fine-feathered bedding from Chicago Luxury Beds. Tuck into savings while the River North retailer has its annual clearance sale on Vi-Spring and Hästens items, with up to 40 percent off floor samples, pillows, and discontinued products and models. The accessory sale is going on now, and the floor-sample savings start Monday, December 26.
Fun Down Under
Got a broken-down basement or a wrecked rec room that you wish could morph into a stellar cellar? If you live within 50 miles of Chicago, snap a few pics and enter Arlington Heights–based Matrix Basement Systems’ Ugliest Basement Contest, and you’ll be in the running for a $25,000 makeover of your subpar stratum. Matrix will start the work on January 15 and finish within six weeks (in plenty of time for a Tony Awards to-do). Put down that pumpkin spiced latte and get going, my friends, because the contest ends at midnight tonight (sorry for the short notice, but everyone who submits also gets a $1,000 Matrix gift certificate and a chance to win a Samsung plasma TV).