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

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

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ravenswood Victorian

Sometimes you get a clue early on that you're in for something special.

This somber amputee welcomed us at the front porch of a lovingly restored Victorian. Inside was the kind of place that would make my friend Laura weep with envy and frustration.

Here's the livingroom. I can imagine that big tree sparkling with a thousand lights and decorations during the holidays, while someone plays carols on that baby grand in the back.

That front-porch carving should have been an indication that someone had odd taste in artwork, and that we were in for some startling juxtapositions of decor and decoration.

Scary clown painting #1.

Scary clown painting #2. He seems to be using those black curtains to blow his big red nose.

Scary clown painting #3. Scary clown statuettes would have been a natural match for the paintings, but I didn't see any. Odd.

The kitchen/great room combo in the back was really well done, with a stone fireplace off to the left and sliding glass doors leading to a sun room and a big back yard. There were also some records here, a mix of Broadway soundtracks, diva vocalists and disco. Hm. Not exactly what I was expecting.

The stairway leading to the second floor was dominated by this stained-glass peacock.

More strange artwork at the top of the stairs. Ma'am, please get off that table, put some clothes on and do something about your hair.

Like so much else in the house, this contemporary shelving unit in one of the upstiars bedrooms just didn't fit, which made it seem to fit any way. And is that a rainbow flag? It is. That would explain a lot.

Suddenly, I got the image of a well-off gay couple living here, and everything made sense. The impeccable restoration, the kitschy art choices, the music collection. It all fit.

Then, just as I was about to leave, I saw a huge collection of costume jewelery, and once again nothing fit.

Or did it?

Purchased: Shirley Bassey, Does Anybody Miss Me? and The Lettermen, Hurt So Bad LPs, $1.50.


  1. Startling juxtapositions, indeed. Good deal on the Lettermen album! BTW - an eBay search for "clown art" reveals 483 results...many of which seem to fetch a pretty penny.

  2. Wow -- you're right. Those clown paintings do command a pretty penny. But that doesn't make it right! :)


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