In 1961, 30 artists banded together to form the Naperville Art League in the hopes of nurturing community appreciation of arts and culture. The optimistic, determined bunch gathered in the basement of the First National Bank of Naperville and held art classes in their own homes, not annexing an official space until 1978. Today, a group of painters, photographers, and sculptors carries on the tradition of interartist camaraderie and education in better-equipped digs. A spacious gallery hosts art shows, as well as a monthly exhibit of members' work created around a theme, such as Fabulous Fakes or Changing Lanes. Artists also infect the community with a passion for the arts by teaching classes for adults and children. In addition to traditional styles such as oil painting and pen drawing, artists acquaint groups with esoteric art forms such as mosaics, needle felting, or collaging shredded bank statements.
The Tile Shop—as the name coyly suggests—specializes in tile for every imaginable surface and aesthetic style, making it easy for DIY handypeople to tackle small home projects, such as modernizing an avocado-green and penicillin-pink bathroom floor or re-grouting a small garden grotto. Underscore a kitchen with the appetizing orange of pirita siena ceramic tiles ($2.19 per square foot), then trim the counters in lizett beige ($3.99 each) for a complementary finish. Pick up a honeycomb pattern of hex matte black ($5.29 per square foot)—the quintessential backsplash for a gothy bumblebee—or add a touch of character to a small surface with a deep green verde butterfly mosaic ($11.99 per square foot). With its enormous selection of floor tiles, wall tiles, mosaics, and natural stone, the possibilities are as endless as a drive across Nebraska. The Tile Shop also has a plentiful selection of grout and tools for grouting it all together while grinning groutishly.
A family-owned-and-operated outfit, Crest has been furnishing homes from Indiana to Wisconsin for more than 20 years. Its aisles brim with elegant, name-brand pieces for living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, and boiler rooms. At any given time, more than 120 lines rotate throughout its show room, from manufacturers such as Century, Parker House, Eagle, Robin Bruce, and DR Kincaid.
Rainbow Play Systems’s expansive showrooms introduce kids aged 2 to 10 to a wonderland of gym equipment, all of which is available for purchase. A multitude of swing sets with spiral slides, trapeze rings, and tire swings exercise tykes while preparing them for the physics portion of the SAT.
Cribs to College Bedrooms showcases furniture for kids of all ages in its 50,000-square-foot showroom that features order-ready items ranging from beanbags to chairs to futons. Pleasingly organized into bedroom displays, the two-story showroom features sailboat beds, bunk beds, and several types of mattresses. Placed in more than 100 nursery displays on the store's upper level, cribs ($219+) lull little ones to slumber and provide a lair for evil baby geniuses. Once progeny graduate from barred beds, they can sleep sound in a toddler bed ($129+) with a cozy twin mattress ($99+). Send the studious off to college with a traditional futon ($249+) or a lounger beanbag chair ($199+), ideal for squeezing into dorm rooms and supporting late nights pondering the meaning of life and foosball.