Walter E. Smithe's huge showrooms contain more than 500 collections of high-quality designer furniture and home accessories, stocking brands including Drexel Heritage, Nourison, Hancock and Moore, and Bradington-Young. Fill a brass-trimmed vase ($119) with flowers, pencils, or wishes, or keep winter moisture stylishly contained in a hand-painted umbrella stand ($99). Walter E. Smithe's selection of four-legged pieces includes an Ontario end table ($299) and a Louise chair ($599). Most products come with impressive warranties, including a 10-year guarantee for every cushion on the comfy Kayla sofa ($1,749).
In 1908, Madison and State became the numerical zero-markers of Chicago’s new street system, making the corner where they intersected the new epicenter of city commerce. On nearby Wabash Avenue, the company jumped into the furniture game the same year, selling home furnishings built by skilled local craftsmen. More than 100 years later, the shop still buzzes with that original energy, connecting customers with the finest home furnishings from more than 50 manufacturers. The fourth-generation family business has migrated from the city center to five suburban locales, where showrooms display gleaming hardwood tables, towering entertainment centers, and elegant leather couches. Along with accent pieces and kid-centric design items, each Toms-Price location also offers special services such as furniture refinishing, reupholstering, and moving help. On-staff interior designers can also lend their eye to design projects, artfully arranging rooms and selecting the color schemes, fabrics, and wax doll heads that best bring out the inner you.
Cassona's owner, Alma Gutierrez, developed her eclectic furnishing sensibilities during cross-continental treks through Mexico, Peru, and Vietnam. The designs Alma encountered in remote artisan shops and markets dazzled her, re-forging her aesthetic sense into that of a bohemian tastemaker. Opening a carefully curated store allowed the consummate collector to satisfy her desire for discovering singular furnishings without drowning her own living space. Cassona, which takes its name from the Spanish word for mansion, boasts a sumptuous Andersonville location, where rustic, centuries-old furniture and home accessories sit alongside sleek, contemporary designs, each vying for customers’ attention with stories of their exotic origins, sought-after creators, and dreams of furnishing model-UN competitions.
Hanger 18 co-owners Tina and Mike Dixon stock shelves with brightly colored and quirky gifts, jewelry, and housewares. Punish a blazer with stinging pricks from hand-pressed buttons ($1.50 each), or hide shy nickels and agoraphobic dollar bills inside colorful handbags and wallets ($15–$26). Novelty items such as an inflatable moose head ($24) can add authenticity to a hunting-lodge-themed bouncy castle, and new moms and dads can gift their just-hatched offspring with bug-eyed plush Basheeshee Uglydolls ($20) and Rockabye Baby!’s lullaby renditions of U2 and Pink Floyd hits ($17).