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I stumbled into Velvet Goldmine, at the corner of Division and Damen, after failing, for the second time, to outlast the breakfast line at Kasama, a few blocks south. (That’s another, less happy, story.) It was August and witheringly hot outside, but inside this vintage building with its Moorish fantasy keyhole windows, the vibe was as cool as the welcome was warm—more Mad Men than Ziggy Stardust to my eye. Owner Jon Gorske is happy to chat or to let an obvious “just-looker” like me browse his ever-changing stock of actual and relatively affordable midcentury modern furniture and accessories at her own pace. As is Ella, the waggy part-pit bull greeter in the lamb suit. 

During the week, Gorske scours the countryside, rounding up well-used Scandinavian imports and American MCM pieces, and works at restoring those that need it to their original (mostly) woody splendor. The Wicker Park store, which has been there since 2015, is open weekends (check their Facebook or Instagram page for news and updates). And now, one weekend each month (usually the second), shoppers can also browse their Pilsen warehouse space at 329 W. 18th Street, along with spaces housing a cluster of other vintage dealers in the same building. The Velvet Goldmine mother lode on display at the warehouse last month included a Danish architect’s drafting desk and a set of Norwegian nesting tables, both in glowing teak, and something I would have purchased if only I had the Playboy Mansion parlor for it: a major statement coffee table of curving glass with a formidable driftwood base.

Velvet Goldmine
Open Sat 11 AM-7 PM, Sun 11 AM-6 PM, and by appointment; 2001 W. Division, 312-493-1660,

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