Online Furniture Shopping, With a Local Twist

Would you buy a big-ticket item online that you’d never actually seen in the flesh? A couch you’d never sat on? A lounge chair you’ve never, well, lounged in? I’m terribly indecisive as it is (and perhaps lack imagination… and/or general geometry skills), so the answer for me would almost certainly be no, but there must be a market for it if sites like 1st Dibs and One Kings Lane thrive. And now it appears some locals are getting in on the game.

Waveland & Clark (why it’s called that I have no idea—for you non-Chicago readers, those two streets intersect right by Wrigley Field) is selling sofas, tables, chairs, etc. direct from the factory to your doorstep. It sounds risky, but from what I can tell from their website, it’s contemporary furniture at fairly affordable prices.

Take this sofa, for instance:

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Halsted Sectional, $1,299

The two Chicago guys behind Waveland & Clark (who have worked for furniture importers and are hopefully not at all like this) personally “test-drive” each item before it ships. How do I get one of those jobs?

Webster End Table, $129

Webster End Table, $129

Anyway, the real selling point in my mind: There’s a free return policy within 10 days of delivery. The company picks up any rejected item and refunds the purchase price and taxes. With standard ground delivery included in the price, there’s really not much risk involved. (Plus, I love that each furniture item is named after a Chicago street!)

Stetson Chair, $1,299

Stetson Chair and Ottoman, $1,299

So would you order, let’s say, a couch online? Or have you already? Did it go well or were you disappointed?

Craigslist Crush: Danish Teak Vanity

As a child, I spent hours playing at my grandma’s vanity. It was part of the bathroom in what seemed to me at the time to be her and my grandpa’s grand mansion. (A sitting room no one was allowed in except for on Christmas? Does Santa live in there?) There was a white-leather-and-gold stool that boosted me up so I could look into the magnifying mirror (just like princesses and movie stars) and proceed to try on each and every one of her lipsticks and nail polishes. With a daughter in the cosmetic industry, and a fashionista in her own regard, my grandma certainly didn’t lack options of either.

I would kill to have the space for mirrored trays of perfume bottles and blush brushes galore. But such is city life. Or rather a renter’s life on a budget.

Plus, to be honest, I just don’t have all that much makeup, and a “girlie” vanity doesn’t really fit my mid-century aesthetic. Or does it?

Enter this danish teak beauty by Vinde Mobelfabrik:

01616_28ytRKkqURU_600x450Now, I still don’t have a place for it, but it would surely fit in if I did. I love the beautiful teak, the simple lines and the utilitarian design. According to the Craigslist post, Vinde Mobelfabrik was a mid-century manufacturer of Danish Modern furniture, identifiable by the interlocking V and M logo on the back of most pieces. If you do a quick Google Images search, you can see all the cool things attributed to VM (looks like mostly bedroom furniture and desks, so perhaps this piece is a rarity).

I can’t say whether this vanity is worthy of a $400 investment, but it is a beautiful piece. Click here to see the Craigslist ad for more info.

(Images: Craigslist)

Weekend Rewind: There’s a Snake in my Boots

Is there an age when you’re just too old for Halloween? Trick-or-treating is one thing (and one thing I probably did do too long…), but what about dressing up in costume? Well, if there is an age limit, hopefully I’m not over that hill. I went to a Halloween party this weekend, and honestly, it was a blast! It was at a crappy little bowling alley down the street from my apartment—and by crappy, I mean exactly the way bowling alleys should be. $3 beers? Hello, new hangout!

But I digress. My friend Rebecca and I went as Buzz and Woody from Toy Story.

photoI only knew a couple people at the party, but there were a lot of familiar faces, if you will: all four of The Golden Girls; Jules, Vincent and Mia from Pulp Fiction; Mario and Luigi; an elaborate—and sweaty—Burt and Ernie. I was especially fond of the Brawny man. I tend to be drawn to the creative costumes that cost next to nothing to make. Mine was $12: $10 for the hat, $2 for a thrift store vest. (I had planned on gluing felt “spots” to it to make it look more cow-like, but the craft store was all out of white.)

Age appropriate or not, I am happy to be out of the slutty-fill-in-the-blank costume phase…

Foodie Friday: Sausage and Tortellini Skillet

Between settling in at the new job and having some pretty epic fails (see lentil soup) in the kitchen as of late, I haven’t put up any Foodie Fridays the past few weeks. I’m back, but with a disclaimer: This isn’t so much a recipe as common sense.

Sometimes I look around at Pinterest and find a million awesome dinner ideas, but then I look at the ingredient list and think about how I’ll be eating dinner at 10 pm (which I do a lot of the time anyway) by the time I get home from work, go to the grocery, get the million and one ingredients, prep, chop, dice, saute, boil, sear and whatever else it takes to get the dish on the table.

So if you’re in the same boat as me, then this one is for you. One pan. Six ingredients. Zero measuring. Thirty minutes tops. No prep time and very little clean-up. You’re welcome.

IMG_4238_e What you’ll need:

Olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of your skillet)

Smoked sausage (just a hint: turkey sausage tastes very similar to the real deal)

Diced garlic (again, the amount is up to you)

Pasta sauce (I’m a big fan of Trader Joe’s garlic pasta sauce)

Pre-made tortellinis (try mushroom or spinach to reduce cheese overload)

Cheese (your choice, I used some mozz and some parm)

Optional ingredients: onions, red pepper, red pepper flakes, spinach, etc.

Make it happen:

1. Slice your sausage into bite-size pieces.

2. Heat the olive oil in your skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and continue to stir until all pieces are well browned, about 5-7 minutes. (It’ll smell freaking awesome. Resist the urge to steal some out of the pan.) This is where you’d also be cooking your onions or red pepper if you chose to add them.

3. Add garlic and stir. (Careful not to burn the garlic, only takes about 30 seconds to brown.)

4. Add the pasta sauce and tortellinis (and red pepper flakes and/or spinach, if you want), and stir until combined.

5. Once the sauce is bubbling, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until tortellini are tender.

6. Lift lid and stir. Then add cheese to the top, and replace the lid. Continue to simmer for about 3-5 minutes until the cheese is melted.

7. Dig in!

Adapted from Kevin & Amanda

IMG_4239_E(Images: These are terrible. My apologies. It’d been a rough day, and I was too lazy to get out the real camera. It tastes good though, I swear!)

Complete This Space: Entryway Vignette

Last week I posted the Before and After entryway bookcase reveal, but the thing I didn’t really mention is that the space is still a work in progress. The bookcase looks amazing, and I’m actually liking it more and more every day. But since it’s a shorter piece, the wall above it is barren… and that’s just sad. I thought about getting some kind of cool lamp to put on top, but there’s no outlet along that part of the wall, and runaway cords are just messy. I also thought about painting the wall in chalkboard paint, but then the chalk residue will get all over the bookcase, another messy option (not to mention, I’d need to run it by the management company). Wallpaper would be cool but expensive. There’s already a ton of artwork in that room.

IMG_1501_edit_?So that leaves… what? I want to go with something gold to match my awesome dining room pendant light (I forget to show you that Before and After?! My bad, I’ll take a pic this weekend), and I’m totally digging the gray/gold trend right now, so here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

starburstmirrorStarburst mirror. It’s iconic. It’d add a little touch of Hollywood Regency to the mid-century furnishings (though apparently the starburst mirror has been around since the 17th century? Who knew.) They come in all sizes and prices, and there’s even some DIY templates out there that I could try to tackle. It’s always good to have a mirror by the door, too, for last-minute primping.

wallurchins2Wall sea urchins. While it’s kind of in the same “family” as the starburst mirror (though less utilitarian), I love the idea of putting something 3-D in that space, and it’s always fun to throw in nautical elements without it being actual sailboats. (This is Chicago, not Nantucket. I take “nautical” where I can get it). They look amazing grouped (see Elle Decor’s 2012 Modern Life Concept House).

fauxtaxidermyFaux taxidermy. An ode to my upbringing? OK, I’ve never actually shot a gun in my life, but I did grow up in a wooded area with tons of deer (though I kind of like the elephant ones, too—an ode to my trip to Malaysia?). I like the lodge chic vibe to it, and again, it plays into my 3-D yearning. Faux taxidermy is hot now, but is it on it’s way out?

heyyallposterWelcome sign. This is going to be the first thing people see when they walk in the front door, so why not use the space in a Welcome-to-my-humble-abode sense? I’m drawn more to the gold foil typography than the Southern saying in this one (though I do say “y’all” a lot these days, more so in writing than in person). But then again, it’s just another framed piece hanging on the wall in a room with a ton of art already. Overkill?

DIYwallartDIY wall art. This is so hipster, but I kind of like it. Granted, it doesn’t really fit my “no art” rule, but is it better if it’s not framed like everything? And if it costs me about $5 to make?! That’d be a real score. I’d have to switch out the pink, but that shouldn’t be a problem. Or the accent color could change for the seasons! Cheesy? Maybe.

Now’s your time to chime in! Any of these strike your fancy?

(Images: Lonny, Number Four Eleven, White Faux Taxidermy, Etsy, Apartment Therapy)

I Want That Wednesday

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 10.48.07 AMGuys, I’ve found my dream home. Well, in a not-completely-out-of-touch-with-reality kind of way (obviously the dream dream home would have a darkroom and pool and all that ridiculousness). Chicago magazine put it this way: If you’re a fan of mid-century modern homes and looking for a project—but not too much of a project—then this 55-year-old Olympia Fields three-bedroom may be calling your name.”

46c612275328022c723c41c36506bc75That’s me! OK, so I might not be ready to pack it up and move to the ‘burbs any time soon, but this place is amazing. Take a closer look:

It’s only $240,000! Ha, I say only like I have that amount of money, but it’s amazing what you pay in the city versus anywhere else. This is a 3 bed/2 bath on almost an acre of land. I’ve been casually looking online at condos in my neighborhood, and you’d be lucky to get a 2 bed/1 bath for that, let alone one built by a notable architect. (Jack Swing was head of the University of Illinois architecture program in the late 60’s.)

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 10.48.27 AMAnyway, you can read more about it and what renovations have already been made in the Chicago magazine article. I’ll be here… drooling over the pictures…

(Images: Baird & Warner)

Weekend Rewind: Cityscapes

A friend and I bought Groupons for an architectural boat tour in March… and then proceeded to let all those great summer days pass us by. Dummies. It got to the point where we had no choice but to forfeit the tickets or go this weekend when it was about 45 degrees. So we begrudgingly bundled up and headed downtown, and it actually turned out to be not as bad as we thought—and we learned a bit, too. Here, a tribute to the city I love:IMG_4184

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(Disclaimer: We did not go on the tour led by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, which is probably the legitimate choice and one that I’d like to do some time, but the Shoreline Sightseeing one sufficed, even if the tour guide was a bit loopy… Either way, I’d recommend this to visitors and locals alike!)