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

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

Friday, April 30, 2010

Mayfair Broken Home

Not every estate sale is the result of someone's demise. (Or as we like to call it here at Estate Sale Stories World HQ, "Moving to Florida.") When the occasion permits I'll ask what happened to a house's owners, and have been told everything from "bankruptcy" to "they are moving back to Iraq."

This estate sale was due to a divorce. I know because I overheard the staff talking about it in hushed, scandalous tones. The house itself was terrific -- three floors, brand new or close to it, tons of bedrooms. Plenty of space to put between you and the person you no longer want to spend the rest of your life with.

When these things happen, it's always the sectionals that get left behind.

One night he said to her, "If you bring one more tissue box cover into this house, that's it. I'm through." And he wasn't kidding.

So she turned her attention to picture frames.

This looks like the hand of a drowning man.

Upstairs was a bedroom filled with designer clothes.

This dress was by Bob Mackie, and I have to hope it looked better on than it does on the hanger.

This still had the tag on it, and had never been given a chance to sparkle.

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, it felt like this one had stopped beating a long time ago.

Then I found these. Thank goodness they didn't split up this couple.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Park Ridge Power House

All I could think of, going through this Park Ridge McMansion that seemed to have been emptied out due to a foreclosure, is that this was the home of people who went for what they wanted -- no holds barred.

And if that meant owning an ugly, overpriced dish in the shape of a crab, so be it.

What did they care? These were people who believed in the beauty of their dreams! The power of their vision! The intoxicating scent of their own overripe ambitions!

People who probably paid top dollar for a surround-sound system, without actually knowing that it's called "surround sound."

A steady schedule of grueling workouts only added to their mastery of themselves and the people around them.

After all, they had studied the ways of personal power. They understood it. They controlled it. The world was theirs, and the universe existed solely to respond positively to their intentions!

At least until the bottom fell out. Now, the universe wants nothing to do with them.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Chicago Circus

There wasn't too much interesting upstairs in this Northwest-side ranch.

I mean, I was taking photos of oatmeal and jarred gravy, sitting forlornly on the kitchen shelves, wondering what kind of a line I could write for something like this.

I found these in one of the bedrooms. I'll be darned if I know what they are, but there were three bags of them, so they must be the kind of things that you don't want to be caught without.

Po-po-po-poker rack, po-po-poker rack.

I didn't exactly have high hopes for the basement.

That is, until I saw this bar.

A finer example of late-fifties circus-inspired rec room design you're not likely to find. They literally don't make them like this any more. And that's probably a good thing.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Short and Sweet Week: 5

Having seen, moves on.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Short and Sweet Week: 4

The only problem with this statuette is that you constantly have to clean up after it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Short and Sweet Week: 3

When mom called these her special "get up and go" breakfast drinks, nobody got the joke.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Short and Sweet Week: 2

If you think you can build a home for less than $3500, I'd say you're definitely dreaming.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Short and Sweet Week: 1

I'm away on business this week and unable to devote the time to writing three full-length posts before getting on that big white bird and flying north, to Minnesota.

So instead, Monday-Friday I'll post a photo with commentary. This is the first. There will be four more.

Translated, "Kuklachev" means "scary clown with lipstick."

And yes, it's a real thing.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Northbrook or Not?

My records say this estate sale was in Northbrook. But nothing about this estate sale says Northbrook to me.

The place was a lot older and more run-down than what I usually see in Northbrook.

Also, a lot more green.

I'm not kidding about that.

It was also packed -- packed -- with vintage women's clothes. Every decade from the fifties through the eighties was represented.

It almost made me wish I was a woman who was really into vintage clothes.

Or a size 10 drag queen.

Or a special nurse.

These were the only men's clothes I found, and they still had the creases from the packaging in them.

I also found this. Something tells me Don's other life didn't have much to do with a wife and three kids. Also, it looks to me like those two boys in the middle take after their dad.

Purchased: Men's vintage pajamas, $2.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Correct Pronunciation

This little guide to today's manners was found in Des Plaines.

I'm sure Luella had to tell everyone she met, "It's pronounced 'cyoo-ming'."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Deerfield House of Awkward Photos

Earlier this year taking photos at estate sales suddenly became more difficult. I'm not sure why. Maybe there was more sales staff around. Maybe those staffers were more suspicious than usual of someone not tearing through the place like a tween through Justin Bieber's underwear drawer. Maybe I was just paranoid.

At any rate, for a number of weeks I skulked and snuck my way through the suburbs, trying to capture pictures without getting captured myself. Which was too bad, because this was a lovely home with many lovely vistas worth capturing.

This sunroom was big and warm, with glass on three sides. And a salesperson following closely behind me on the fourth.

The livingroom was a French provincial fantasia in pink and green, presided over by an eagle-eyed cashier who wasn't about to let me out of her sight.

This upstairs guest room was decorated in a desert palette guaranteed to encourage a night of tossing and turning, just you and your lonely guitar.

Just passing by, don't mind me!

Tell me about it.

It wasn't until I got down to the basement that I was able to find any peace and quiet. And thank goodness, because that's where I found this.

It wasn't in perfect condition, but it was a complete set and obviously authentic, with leather-covered cushions.

They wanted something like a $1000 for the whole thing, and I'm sure they could have been talked down to about half of that.

I know this, because while I was snapping these photos one of those helpful sales people came downstairs. She caught me, phone in hand, lining up a shot. "You must be interested in that," she said.

"Yes," I replied. Oh, yes. You have no idea.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Estate Sale Stories #FAIL

If we're privileged enough to have you as a regular reader, you've probably been wondering just where the hell we've been the past week.

Here's what happened: On Monday I was called out of town for work, which always makes me crabby, because there's really no such thing as a convenient way to travel. On Tuesday I got sick, but flew out of O'Hare at 6:00 AM just the same, because I'm a trooper that way. On Wednesday, still crabby and sick, my flight(s) were canceled, delayed, delayed again and then canceled, leaving me to spend an unplanned night at the Armonk, NY La Quinta Inn. On Thursday, now sicker and crabbier than ever, I finally made it back to Chicago. From O'Hare I went to directly to the office, and from there, directly to my sofa, where I spent the next 12 hours in a sweet, sweet NyQuil haze.

Friday-Sunday, rinse and repeat.

Apologies for leaving the store untended. I'm still recovering, but plan on returning Wednesday with a new post. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Winnetka Gems

This fine old house sat across the street from a golf course and was almost empty except for all the estate sale employees posted in practically every room, which made snapping photos more difficult than I like.

But the master bedroom, for some reason, was deserted. That was lucky for me, because it contained a couple of gems, presented here without further commentary. Because they just don't need it.

Exhibit A.

And Exhibit B.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Odds and Ends from Here and There: Easter Edition

The original plan was to post a retro Easter picture along with a message that Estate Sale Stories was taking Good Friday off, and would "rise again" on Monday. Get it?

But you, our dozens of faithful readers worldwide, deserve better than that. And so, we present this collection of Easter goodies to brighten your springtime holiday.

This photo reminds me of Easter my freshman year of college: blurry and a little nauseating. That year, my celebration the night before was to blame. This year, I blame the Edison Park Holiday House.

What's sadder than a bunch of Christmas decorations in August? A smaller bunch of Easter decorations nearby. From the River Grove Bordello.

Scariest. Easter bunny. Ever. From the Chicago Tiki Lounge and Upstairs at the Chicago Tiki Lounge.

It's a stuffed animal orgy! And the Easter Bunny is Lucky Pierre. From the Skokie Toy Chest.

Easter finery, yours for the taking. From the Almost Empty Prospect Heights House.

And the Easter bonnets to go with them! From the Mount Prospect Doll House.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a happy Easter!
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