The Haymaker Shop, an ambitious new furniture and home accessories store devoted to Chicago- and Midwestern-made goods, opened yesterday in Andersonville at 5507 North Clark Street, and from what I’ve seen so far, it looks like a knockout. Owner Arrin Williams has stocked this 1,500-square-foot storefront with one-of-a-kind creations from independent designers and small studios, such as these cheery ceramic Vegetabowls cast from fruit and vegetables by Carbondale’s Melanie Mckenney (especially apropos, as Haymaker’s neighbor to the north is my go-to greengrocer, the Edgewater Produce Market). Expect to also find handsomely honed furniture with that on-trend industrial edge, outside-of-the-box-store lighting, and all sorts of other sustainably-sourced merchandise in a wide range of prices and design sensibilities. Williams is having an official grand-opening fiesta on Saturday, June 4, from 5–8 p.m., with food and libations from local lovelies like Piatto Pronto, Hamburger Mary’s, and Andersonville Wine and Spirits, and a DJ from Transistor will be getting folks dancing on the streets (or the roof of Haymaker’s garage).
Aosta La Vista, Baby
There are those of us who are casually attracted to the furniture encounters and potential savings on Craigslist’s FOR SALE or even FREE categories, but overwhelmed by the sheer volume of posts, not up for choreographing home visits, and skeptical of the veracity of not-so-serious vendors. It’s a wild frontier out there in terms of quality (as well as basic spelling and grammar) which is why I have admiration for people with the persistence to work the system and find some real online gems and consistently good Craigslist sources. My contractor buddy, Dave Albin, has peppered two of his houses with fantastic art and furniture that he’s gotten through the site, and he recently told me about a serious young Logan Square dealer who promotes himself there almost exclusively (with a private studio space by appointment only). Logan Koons is a graphic designer with designs on mid-century mod furniture who got into dealing when his personal collection got out of hand. He started Aosta (“That’s Gaelic for vintage,” he tells me) more than two years ago, and gets a new inventory of 30–40 pieces every month. “Our pieces come from estate sales and barns,” Koons says, “sprawling all over the country. We do our own refinishing, stripping, woodwork, and upholstery to restore pieces to their original beauty, and sell for a very moderate profit.”
There’s big, black-tie doings at the Ritz-Carlton next Thursday, as Chicago’s Fashion Group International gets together to celebrate the accomplishments of this year’s notable “game changers” in the world of home design, communications, fashion, costume, accessories, beauty, and retail at the 25th annual Night of Stars awards. This year’s honorees are the Chicago History Museum’s Tim Long, Bloomingdale’s, Alexis Bittar, Ulta, Chicago magazine (holla!), and Lalique. I love me some Lalique and I’m honored to be personally presenting the plaudits to them, so if you want to see if I stumble over their CEO’s name (Maz Zouhairi, Maz Zouhairi, Maz Zouhairi…), join us Thursday at 6:30 for the festivities. Tickets are $300.
Red Arrow Tips
Head up to Harbor Country this weekend if you’ve a hankering to have some cosmetic work done on your home this spring and need some inspiration. The Union Pier flagship location of Susan Fredman at Home, anchored in a charming cottage perched at 15998 Red Arrow Highway, is hosting its fifth annual Revive Your Retreat event this Saturday, June 4 (but you don’t look a day over four, RYR, honestly). This year the focus is on kitchens—entertaining, updating appliances, keeping it green, etc.—and there will be free cooking demos, trunk shows, and talks from 11–5 p.m., Michigan time. Learn how to make appetizing table settings like this one, for example, at a 12:30 session run by one of Susan’s designers and a rep from the Kohler Store. Stop by for an event or two, or stay all day. Happy hour hits at five, with “revive-a-ritas” flowing.
Ain’t no party like a DIFFA party, ’cause the Design Industry Foundation Fighting AIDS has been utilizing stylish volunteers from the interior design, architecture, and fashion industries to tirelessly raise money for Chicago area HIV/AIDS service groups since 1984. They’re rocking out with a lavish sit-down dinner gala at the Marriott Chicago next Saturday, June 11, with individual tickets priced at $500. If that’s a little steep but you’d still like to join the fun, $75 tickets are available for the second tier of the evening, featuring live music from Evan Dando and the Lemonheads, DJ Jesse de la Pena, and an open bar and desserts, from 9:30 till 2 a.m. It’s beautiful, in every single way, and you can get your after-party on by snagging a spot before June 7.