Tag Archives: Chicago

Upstairs Progress With A Little Art History

G.O. has been a busy guy upstairs,

painting the walls white + the woodwork a neutral gray/beige (a.k.a. “greige”).

So far, the hallway has been transformed from drab . . . .



. . . to FAB!

woodwork of gray

We chose Pittsburgh Paint’s Delicate White for the walls

Ghost Writer for the woodwork + wainscoting.

pittsburgh paint ghost writer

Yes, all this talk of gray + white

means it’s time for us to go down memory lane again,

with me, with my perm, + my gray kitchen cabs, circa 1985!

kay with gray kitchen cabs

I loved it then, I love it now!


Please.  How stunning is our beautiful, original door hardware with the greige?



Very stunning, especially so, considering its amazing before + after!

The beautiful pattern of that hardware is called Art Nouveau,

which was an art + architectural style in fashion between 1890 + 1910.

That makes sense because we think our house was built in that era!

Look closely!  There are ferns!



New England Today

Art Nouveau was inspired by natural forms,

particularly the curves lines of plants + flowers.

Well-known examples of Art Nouveau include the Metro Stations in Paris:

art nouveau paris metro stop

Yet more Art Nouveau awesomeness, closer to home,

is the former Carson Pirie Scott store in Chicago,

designed by architect Louis Sullivan,

who was Frank Lloyd Wright’s mentor:

carson pirie scott store

Sullivan also designed my personal favorite,

The fabulous Wainwright Building in downtown St. Louis:

wainwright building

This concludes today’s Art history lecture.

Did you know that I used to be an Art teacher, in grades 7 – 12?

Meanwhile, back at the Dutch colonial,

G.O. continues to restore the beautiful original woodwork,

literally one piece at a time!


I’ll share more photos, soon — so stay tuned!

Farmhouse-Style Vacation Home

My May-June 2014 issue of Midwest Living arrived this week — yay!

 Imagine my excitement

when I spied this farmhouse-style vacation home

in SW Michigan:



I immediately recognized it as one I’d seen before,

 when it appeared on the cover

of the late, great Chicago Home + Garden magazine:

chicago home + garden summer 2012

Summer 2012

That issue was so divine, I just had to save it!

Are you a magazine saver, too?

In my world, there are some that are just so wonderful

that you just can’t bear to part with them!

* * * *

Anyway, there’s that same front porch, now:

midwest living front door + porch

I love the classic white siding!

The grays of the industrial-style sconces+ galvanized pots

 complement the black door + sidelights very nicely, too.

Those handsome homeowners on the porch are Tom + James,

who are partners in their Chicago interior design firm.


Obviously, the guys live + work in Chicago

+ spend weekends + vacations at their farmhouse,

about an hour + a half drive away in SW Michigan.


saugatuck map -- from chicago, etc.

All the cool kids in Chicago own vacation properties

 in the super charming beach communities

along Lake Michigan’s shoreline.

My cool friend, Alan, vacations here + assures me that I would love it, too!

Stay tuned for this summer, fingers crossed!

* * * *

But back to the house.

Here are Tom and James again, sharing a moment in their cottage-y kitchen:

midwest living kitchen

I’m a fan of the ceiling planks,

the cute schoolhouse light over the farmhouse sink,

+ the pale wood tone of the floors.

I’m seeing lots of non-kitchen-y rugs in kitchens lately, + I approve!

* * *

Speaking of approval, here’s my favorite space in the house, a screened porch:

midwest living enclosed porch

I love its rustic, cottage charm, + that red Vermont Castings stove is wonderful!

* * *

In contrast, the living room is a tad more formal:

midwest living 2-story living room

While it’s furnished in too formal a style for my vacation home taste,

there’s no denying it’s a gorgeous space.

That tall ceiling + those clerestory windows + all the white!  Love!

* * *

Meanwhile, here’s one of the guest bedrooms:

midwest living bedroom northern air by benjamin moore

I’m a fan of the twiggy side table, the iron bed

+ that cool, vintage photograph.  (I’ve always wanted one of those!)

The pale blue paint, which rules, is Benjamin Moore’s Northern Air.

* * *

So.  What do you think of hanging plates in a bedroom?

midwest living guest bedroom plates on wall

I’ve always liked it, but I know some people don’t.

It’s so sweet!

* * *

And now, speaking of sweet, look at the kids’ room — it’s so cute!

midwest living kids room

The layout is genius, + I love all the red!

I have a similar lamp, repurposed from an old gas can,

that I bought decades ago (yikes!)

* * *

The bathroom’s very nice + on the plain Jane side:

midwest living bathroom

* * *

But c’mon, Tom + James!  This is a vacation house!  Let’s have some fun!

Okay.  Here’s fun:

midwest living topiary on column, shelves

Who doesn’t love an old, wooden sign?

I’ve been making old-looking signs, too.  (I’ll share later.)

I really like that vintage column + that topiary housepant, too!

I like them so much that every spring, I’ll ‘spring’ for one . . .

. . . knowing full well that the poor thing won’t survive the winter at our house.

The humanity!

Fingers crossed for this year — hope ‘springs’ eternal!

* * *

So.  I’ve saved the most fun feature of Tom + James’ farmhouse . . .

. . . a gallery wall of paint-by-number paintings, at the stairway!

midwest living staircase paint by number

Way to go, Tom + James!

And how cool is it that their houseguests

often bring them a new paint-by-number painting

as a “thank you” host gift!

Isn’t that the most adorable idea, ever?


Maker Marketplace At West Elm


Do we all love West Elm?

I do, because of my insane love of home stores + catalogs.

In addition to its being totally modern-rific,

West Elm hosts etsy sellers pop-up shops on occasion.

maker marketplace west elm

I’ve been chosen, out of all the Chicagoland etsy sellers, to participate!

I know!!  It’s kind of a big deal!

Anyway, I am not ready yet, so I shan’t type long.

Here’s the scoop:

Maker Marketplace

Saturday, March 22, 1-6 p.m.

Chicago (Lincoln Park) West Elm store

1000 W. North Avenue

west elm facade lincoln park

Live jazz + refreshments!  BE there!

My gal pal, Stacey, will BE there;

she’s bringing her awesome vintage jewelry!

Like her on FB, please!  https://www.facebook.com/KismetJunk

kismet junk #2

Industrial Style BBQ Restaurant in Chicago

Is it wrong to dine at a restaurant because of its awesome industrial interior?

Maybe not.

Here’s Lillie’s Q BBQ restaurant in Chicago:

lilliesQ interior front

Subway tile wall, rustic mirror, Tolix chairs + bar stools
industrial light fixtures — check!

 I pretty much want to move in at this point.

lillies Q sinks

  If only I could have taken this vintage sink home with me!


These very cool industrial lights were fabricated from
old pulleys + meat hooks (get it? BBQ restaurant?)
+ plenty of Edison bulbs.

lillies Q sauces + mason jar

Their signature BBQ sauces are in cool tins at every table.
You can buy jars at the restaurant or on amazon.com!
All drinks are served in cute Mason jars, too.

So.  Don’t tell me.

You’ve got your car keys in your hand,

+ you’re ready to drive to Chicago + dine at Lillie’s Q,

just because the decor’s so awesome.

It would be worth the trip . . .

. . . but WAIT!

The food is beyond FAN-tastic, too!  Just feast your eyes on this:

lillies Q pork sandwich

lillies Q cornbread

Everything’s served on cool metal trays.
The cornbread comes in its own little cast iron skillet,
served with a savory, peppery butter in a cute jar.

lillies Q salad with pulled pork

Lillie’s Q salad with pulled pork.

lillies pulled pork + fries

More of that de-lish pulled pork,
this time served with sweet potato fries.

lillies more meat

Calling all carnivores!

lillies food to use

Show of hands — who needs a bib now?


Here’s what we ordered when we dined at Lillie’s Q just this week:


G.O. had some Memphis tacos + 2 sides,
while I ordered mac ‘n cheese
with pulled pork tips in it!

BTW, that serving was heap-ing; I took about 1/2 of it home!

* * *

If you’re thirsty, Lillie’s Q has a cool bar

with an awesome drinks menu:

So.  When can you get to Chicago?

lillies signage

Call me, + I’ll meet you at Lillie’s Q!

lillies Q front facade

It’s located in the Bucktown neighborhood,

1856 W. North Avenue in Chicago,

just west of the Kennedy Expressway

* * *

There’s a Destin, Florida location, too!

lilliesQ destin fl

I’ve heard really good things about the hipness of Destin.

Have you been?  Share with the class!

I could use a Florida get-a-way!

Mid-Century Modern Christmas

I’m ashamed to admit that we have NO Christmas decorations

up + at ’em here at our house.

How’s that possible?

Meanwhile, my more ambitious friend, Alan, just completed his.

Here we are in front of his late, great Chicago antique store, PATINA.

alan + kay in front of patina

Let’s take a look-see at Alan’s + his partner, Keith’s, wonderful mid-Century modern house,

all decked out for the yuletide!

alan's christmas tree

Like many mid-Century modern house plans,

Alan + Keith’s house is designed with privacy in the front,

 + with the main living spaces + lots of glass facing the backyard.

alan's dining room

Alan’s said he’s never met a hide rug he didn’t love;

I think this zebra might be new.

Loving the Eero Saarinen tulip table, the George Nelson light fixture,

that tabletop easel + the ginormous fig tree.

alan's living room wide shot

Here’s another shot of that living room with its diagonal fireplace.

Note, please, the awesome wood ceilings + beams.

Hey!  There’s more hide happiness — a rug + a pair of chairs!

alan's roaring fireplace

At one time, Alan wanted to tile over the brick of the fireplace,

but I did everything I could to dissuade him.

I love the mid-Century modern-ness of that original brick!

It’s also on the exterior of Alan + Keith’s home.

alan's living room with papillions

Interesting original artwork, no?  That’s a charcoal drawing, I think.

Please notice Alan’s recycled wood Swiss cross artwork,

displayed on a wall with an antique, wooden clamp!


I also love a metal medical cabinet, but not as much

as I love those adorable Papillons — Sophie + Frankie.

alan's tv room

Here’s the warm + cozy TV room.

I’m a fan of wreaths in windows, aren’t you?

That signage is uber cool, as is the dark wall color,

striped rug + all those pillows!

* * * *

Wasn’t that fun?

I might be visiting Alan + that groovy house before Christmas.

We want to go see the movie, American Hustle, together!

Stay tuned!

Vintage Post Card Shower Curtain Happiness

Since I’m so prone to multi-tasking,

it was a natural for me to engage in just that, earlier this a.m.,

by shopping online while enjoying the Thanksgiving Day parade on TV.

Wheeee!  Look at this adorable Dachshund balloon

from the 1950 Macy’s parade!




Here’s a peek at my beloved Dachshund, Chloe:

chloe in bike basket

Awwww!  Isn’t she cute?

And don’t you think her vintage bike basket is terrific, too?

It reads ‘KELLEY CO. SINCE 1953’,

+ I found it at our antiques mall, right here in town!

* * * *

But I digress.

Let’s get back to my shopping happiness.

Since I’ve been thinking + blogging about our bathrooms,

I decided to look for a new shower curtain or two.

Here’s a close up snapshot of the one that is in our current bath:

Restoration Hardware.

HOT + COLD Roller Rings
from Restoration Hardware.

It came from the Mart of Wal + probably cost me less than $20.

I loved it for its woven blue stripes + general Ralph Lauren-ish-ness.

Methinks we  need a change, though.

I’d like to step it up a bit, style-wise,

+ spring for something a tad bit more unusual.

For example, I totally dig the vintage post card style of this one:

curtain of shower -- st. louis riverfront

DENY Designs

I do love my St. Louis + that arch!

Since I also love the Cardinals + their ballpark,

this one had me swooning!

curtain of shower -- ballpark + arch

DENY Designs

How’s that possible?

Last year I bought this very same image in a print

from this etsy seller:


st. louis print from etsy

My print came in red, as does the shower curtain,

which is what you might think I’d have ordered, stat.

I almost did.

However, I thought that, since I already own the print,

I’d opt to keep shopping.

Here’s the shower curtain I think I’ll buy:

curtain of shower -- close up of Chicago

DENY Designs

Once again with the vintage post cards,

+ what makes it even better is that it includes

lots of my favorite U.S. destinations!

Wouldn’t it be fun to be infused with a bit of wanderlust

every time we shower?

I think so.

If you think so, too, chances are they offer favorite your city.

curtain of shower -- Portland

DENY Designs

Wayfair.com DENY Designs

DENY Designs

Wayfair.com DENY Designs

DENY Designs

Or your favorite road trip:

curtain of shower -- california

Yay!  The Pacific Coast Highway!

Would viewing this render me car sick, though,

like what tragically happened to me

during my initial journey on said-same?

Lesson learned: always take some Dramamine

when you find yourself in a car somewhere outside of (flat) Illinois!

Chicago + Celebs, Mid-Century Modern Happiness

This past Friday I drove to Chicago for another fun outing

with  my friend, Alan.

For years, wherever we are,

our favorite thing to do is to ride around + look at houses.

Here I am, doing said-same with the guys from Steely Dan:

dan and kay in car

My favorite musical geniusi:
Donald Fagen + Walter Becker

Friday, we (Alan + I) drove past this famous guy’s house in Chicago:

rahm emanuel

Chicago’s mayor
Rahm Emanuel

Over the years, my Al-meister friendship has provided me

with glimpses of the (now former) residences

of a few other Chicago celebs, including these favorites:

nate berkusjoan cusackgene siskel

Nate Berkus, Joan Cusack, the late-great Gene Siskel

Just imagine if the two of us lived near L.A. or NYC.

It might look a something like this:


I used to be in love with this guy
until he ditched me
for that much younger gal.

* * * *

But back to Friday’s outing.

We enjoyed a bit of shopping, as we always do.

I bought a couple of cool vintage treasures here:

Foursided  on Clark Street in Andersonville

on Clark Street in Andersonville

four sided chicago -- windowfour sided chicago -- funny door signs

This cool shop carries a lot of Chicago merch,

+ my plans include sending them one of my Chicago pillows:


Fingers crossed they’ll approve of + want to sell said-same.

* * * * * *

But I’m digressing quite a bit again.  Back to Friday’s outing.

We shared some small plates at a Wicker Park restaurant/bar,

the name of which I don’t recall.

The food + vino were de-lish, but my highlight was our waiter.

(I don’t remember his name, either!)

Oopsie! Another bad photo!

Another bad photo!

But how could I forget that he’s a St. Louis Cardinals fan?

Look!  He even retrieved his Cardinals cap to share with the class!

Go Cardinals!

* * * * * *

Now let’s have a look-see at Alan’s (+ his partner, Keith’s) mid-Century modern house:

I helped select the dark gray paint for the exterior.

I helped Alan select the dark gray paint for their exterior.

As typical of many mid-Century  modern house plans,

the street side/front of Alan + Keith’s house is quite private . . .

. . . . while inside, the living + dining rooms are oriented to the back yard.

Look at all the glass:


And now, let’s have a look-see at some of the boys’ groovy stuff:

Vintage medical cabinet

Vintage medical cabinet


Alan’s Swiss cross artworks, displayed with a pair of vintage wooden clamps.


I’ve given G.O. the heads up that I love this + that I’d like at least one for myself.

He’s already forgotten, but oh, well.

More grooviness:



People. This art gallery
is devoted to all things canine.


I’m seriously needing something similar
with something of the Dachshund persuasion.


There’s the ADOR-able Sophie the Papillion
in the boys’ TV room

Meanwhile, that signage is pretty radical, no?

But what say ye about the pennant pillows?


Yes, I  made those from vintage pennants.

How could I not give them to Keith + Alan

as a “just-because” gift?

My Stab At Spring


2 of my faves: blue murscari (grape hyacinths) + ranunculus. http://www.shopterrain.com

So, maybe you’ve noticed that every single blogger has posted something festive about Spring . . . + yet, I have not.

You ask me why not?  Well, one reason is that it was 24 degrees here overnight!  (March = cruel!)

I really don’t DO Spring decor, or so I thought.   Why not give it a stab, if only for the morale boost? I asked myself . . .

. . . and SO, I brought home these beautiful + fragrant hyacinths from the grocery store.


Yes, I bought my hyacinths at the grocery store.

jasmine topiary BHG

Jasmine topiary.

I also make  at least 2 cool + inexpensive topiaries of my own — using my 2 favorite Guy Wolff pots, a wire hanger + some ivy.

Last year’s versions, with variegated ivy, looked fantastic.  You’ll have to to take my word on that, because they, too, did not survive our Winter.

**Guy Wolff pot from the late, great Smith + Hawken store.

**http://www.guywolff.com/ — from the late, great Smith + Hawken store.

 This pretty blue glass ball + the vintage floral bowl upon which it is resting, both came from http://www.rubybegoniastrinkets.blogspot.com/, right here in our town!

**Another Guy Wolff pot from an awesome shop in the Berkshires of western Mass.

**Another Guy Wolff pot from an awesome shop in the Berkshires of western Mass.

And now, for more morale boosting, let’s view a few closeups of my Spring happiness in the kitchen.  Stay tuned!  More photos will be taken after my trip to Chicago.

Small greenhouse from the late, great Smith+ Hawken.  The sponged pitcher was my Grandma's, + the faux bois cutie was purchased in L.A.

Small greenhouse from the late, great Smith+ Hawken. The sponged pitcher was my Grandma’s, + the faux bois cutie was purchased in L.A.

Sweet floral plate, also purchased in our town from http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Feathered-Nest/413933821964336

Sweet floral plate, also purchased in our town from http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Feathered-Nest/413933821964336

Vintage bird prints in faux bamboo frames, from -- where else? -- the Morris Antiques Emporium.

Vintage bird prints in faux bamboo frames, from — where else? — the Morris Antiques Emporium (my hometown.)

All my old garden magazines + a NY Times gardening book from my stepdaughter, Marnie.  Good giftage!

All my old garden magazines + a NY Times gardening book from my stepdaughter, Marnie. Good giftage!

Little Goat Diner In Chicago

Top Chef's Stephanie Izard's newest Chicago restaurant.

Top Chef’s Stephanie Izard’s newest Chicago restaurant.

It’s fun to be me, especially when I visit my friend, Alan, in Chicago.

This past weekend we watched the Oscars at his house, + Monday a.m. he took me to the awesome Little Goat Diner.

This cool place (2012) is owned by Stephanie Izard, winner of the 4th season of Bravo’s Top Chef.

Her other, very popular restaurant, The Girl + The Goat (2010), is just across the street. Alan says there’s a 2-month wait for reservations!

Stephanie Izard’s goal for this restaurant was to create a true, East coast-style diner. The space is a feast for the eyes, design-wise — it’s a mix of retro, industrial + modern.

All the above photos are from www.yelp.com. I took these next 3. Am I the only person who snaps pictures of restaurant bathrooms?

I suppose I should MENTION the food, no?  It was delicious!  Alan + I shared a reuben.  YUM!

Reuben + groovy plate

Reuben + groovy plate

And now, here’s how to find the Little Goat Diner!
The diner is in the West Loop neighborhood

The diner is in the West Loop neighborhood

MADE — My Gallery In Jackson Hole, WY

MADE 2-2013

MADE — My Gallery In Jackson Hole, WY

I have an online etsy shop called RedBird Vintage Home (same as this blog), and this  gallery has sold my pillows for several years.  My Jackson Hole/U.S. Map pillows sell like hotcakes! Here’s one inside the gallery! Jackson Hole was profiled in the January issue of Chicago magazine, + several of my pillows made the cut. Check it out!





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