An occasionally updated chronicle of estate sales in the city and suburbs of Chicago.

"It's such a guilty pleasure..." Lynne Stiefel, Pioneer Press

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Grandpa's Skokie Ranch

I liked this place. Not only because it was my kind of place (mid-century, multi-level, and a couple other hyphenated descriptors I'm too lazy to come up with) but also because the sale was presided over by a giant of an old man, who sat in a recliner, pontificating to the two women at the cashier's table on business matters and why the whole world is going to hell.

He was just to the right of this dining area, which made getting photos of that area difficult.

I went downstairs first, because that's where the records usually are. There were none, but I did discover this fantastic built-in sofa. Can't you imagine a family curled up here, watching TV throughout the sixties, seventies and eighties? And, five dollars will get you ten, there's storage beneath those cushions.

I also found this, curled up in a magazine rack, which raises the question of whether it came before or after the Streisand album Color Me Barbra.

And yes, I should have taken some pictures of the inside -- or even bought it. Sometimes I don't know what I'm thinking.

This bathroom had a distinctly Moroccan feel, thanks to the wallpaper. Watch out before you sit down in here, though. That's the only paper in the room.

Back upstairs in the kitchen I found this impressive collection of yarmulkes. That blue one in the lower-left corner appears to be smiling.

All the bedrooms were upstairs. This one held a selection of linens.

An impressive selection of men's vintage clothing covered the bed in the second bedroom. I found two shirts -- both brand new, with tags still attached -- that I snatched up for J. One was a fairly recent Joseph Abboud, and the other a Hathaway from the sixties still in the plastic bag.

I also found this book, which I should have snatched up. Because I myself am an eating man. Also, because it apparently retails now on for $15.

There were a few more items of note in the third bedroom.

A wig without a head is like a glove without a hand. Lifeless.

Somebody obviously held on to this for about... 40 years, I'd say.

I don't know why someone would wallpaper the inside of a closet, but it certainly does give it a finished look, don't you think?

I snapped this picture of the upstairs bath, then returned to the living room to pay for the shirts. They were unmarked, and I was expecting to pay $5 for each of them. So imagine my surprise when the cashier (I think it was his granddaughter) held them up for an assessment and the old man said, "One dollar!"

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Purchased: two vintage men's dress shirts, $1 each.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Lincolnwood Modernist Cabin

This was one of the stranger houses I've been to lately, because while it had some obvious modernist touches -- cathedral ceilings, glass-block windows -- it also had some decidedly pioneer-era ones as well. See if you don't agree.

The livingroom. That soaring ceiling said post-war, the wood paneling, westward-ho.

This photo kind of sums up the friction I felt in every room.

Plus, this place was crowded. If I wanted to fight people left and right to get a look at something or take a photo, I'd go to the mall or a tourist attraction.

It feels like I say this all the time, but only because it's so often true: There was stuff everywhere. A treasure trove and bonanza for the right person, a confusing mess of junque for the wrong one.

Upstairs there was a huge master bedroom with wraparound windows and this extensive album collection. Ordinarily this sort of thing would make me salivate, but they were all classical and opera, which doesn't spin my turntable, so to speak.

Excuse me, ma'am, but...

... you're in my shot. Readers often write to ask how I manage to take so many photos at these things. The answer is easy: people are, for the most part, oblivious to everyone and everything around them, except for the next big find.

That's better. Too bad there wasn't much interesting to say about this.

Terrific 1940s medicine cabinet with fluorescent lights. I don't know what caused the striping in this photo.

Downstairs was an incredible selection of stuff.

The woman who used to live here apparently had an antiques business of her own. A lot of the items still had the tags on them. (Do you recognize that little Santa in the pot at the bottom?)

More glass block. More stuff.

There were rooms in the back of the basement, too, each one filled with shelves, each shelf filled with things.

This 1970s cookie jar would be a great place to hide your pot brownies.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Estate Sale Stories...

... is enjoying the holiday, and hopes you are, too.

Merry Christmas, and many thanks for all your visits, comments and support.

We'll be back on Monday.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Odds and Ends from Here and There: Christmas Edition

Thanks for stopping by. All year long I've been collecting these items from estate sales, and now it's time to pass them out. I hope they help make your holiday merry and bright.

It's Christmas time! This clock plays a favorite Christmas carol every hour, on the hour, hour after hour, and is guaranteed to produce Christmas overload in just 12-24 hours.

Let's all spread some holiday cheer!

Who's ready for a bowl of my special Christmas stew?

It's true -- a red bow really does make anything more festive.

You know what's funny about this photo? It was taken in September.

What's that you smokin', Santa?

Evil Snowman #1.

This is what happens when Christmas has too much to drink and throws up.

Bring me the head... of Santa Claus!

Evil Snowman #2.

In other news, it looks like the global recession has forced Santa to cut back on transportation costs.

Aaaagh! It's Christmas and I'm nuts for nuts! Give me nuts! Nuts, nuts, nuts!

Rough night?

I'm not sure if Santa is headed for the links, getting ready to smash out someone's headlights, or hoping to lure in a few fame-seeking trollops.

When you do things that make the Baby Jesus cry, this is how Mary shuts him up.

Best wishes for a happy holiday. Remember, it doesn't matter what you celebrate, as long as you celebrate something.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Skokie Time Machine

Thank goodness some people never throw anything away. If not for them, traveling back in time to view these strange, quirky and downright odd items would be impossible.

Hard to believe, but this had never been taken out of the package. All this refreshing scene needs to make it complete is the Hamm's beer logo.

These are just eight of the quickie collar styles to be found inside this plastic bag. That one in the lower-left corner is especially special.

One copy from a stack of dozens, dated November, 1951.

The magazine was filled with helpful articles like this one, written by the somewhat unfortunately named Paul H. Fluck, M.D.

That's a sofa in front, wallpaper in back, and an image you won't soon forget.

Down in the basement there were two hand mixers...

... and three stand mixers, all of them older than me.

I don't know why people save things like this. Maybe it was a memento of a particularly good vacation, or an especially enjoyable day at the beach. Whatever the reason, I'm glad they do.

If you can get this past security, I'm sure everyone on the plane will be glad you brought it when the dance records start to spin.

I was so tempted. It was only $5.

This is obviously a hair extension, but it looks like something that was pulled out of the drain.
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