Flea markets uncover one-of-a-kind pieces
Not everyone relishes the thought of prowling around flea markets in hopes of unearthing one-of-a-kind pieces with just that right vibe. That's where charming, clean, well-edited antique shops like Patina (4907 N. Damen Ave., 773-334-0400), in Ravenswood, come in handy. Owner Alan Shull, who grew up in Oregon, Illinois, attending auctions with his antique-dealer parents, offers a well-thought-out selection of classic American country furnishings with an emphasis on industrial pieces (a red metal drafting table for $575 would make an amazing kitchen island) and interesting wood pieces (a 32-drawer card-catalog cabinet for $725 is perfect for storing jewelry, recipe cards, or jars of spices). In fact, Shull buys most things with the idea that they might (and should) be used for something other than their originally intended purpose. Feel free to borrow his excellently imaginative ideas—or come up with your own.
Clockwise: was: leather-drying rack now: wine bar; was: medical stand now: nightstand; was: plant stand now: beverage center; were:vintage belts now: blanket cinches
Photography: Eric Hausman