written by:
photos by:
September 13, 2011
Originally published in Made in the USA

Thanks to the Vintage Bazaar, a pop-up market started by locals Katherine Raz and Libby Alexander, the Windy City is brimming with prime design finds.

Katherine Raz (left) and Libby Alexander, founders of Vintage Bazaar, a pop-up flea market in Chicago.
Katherine Raz (left) and Libby Alexander, founders of Vintage Bazaar, a pop-up flea market in Chicago.
Photo by 
1 / 8
The Vintage Bazaar captures the ephemeral appeal — and inherent thrill — of traditional flea markets. Danish modern items are still predictably popular, but vendors don't discriminate.
The Vintage Bazaar captures the ephemeral appeal — and inherent thrill — of traditional flea markets. Danish modern items are still predictably popular, but vendors don't discriminate.
Photo by 
2 / 8
A series of classic cameras.
A series of classic cameras.
Photo by 
3 / 8
Vintage yellowing newspapers.
Vintage yellowing newspapers.
Photo by 
4 / 8
Still-pristine tableware.
Still-pristine tableware.
Photo by 
5 / 8
A colorful array of sunglasses.
A colorful array of sunglasses.
Photo by 
6 / 8
Table accessories.
Table accessories.
Photo by 
7 / 8
A painting of Richard Nixon.<br /><br />Click <a href="http://www.dwell.com/articles/more-finds-from-the-vintage-bazaar.html">here</a> for an extended look at the Vintage Bazaar: Katherine and Libby's favorite designs from their most recent event.<br /><b
A painting of Richard Nixon.Click here for an extended look at the Vintage Bazaar: Katherine and Libby's favorite designs from their most recent event.

Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

Photo by 
8 / 8
Katherine Raz (left) and Libby Alexander, founders of Vintage Bazaar, a pop-up flea market in Chicago.
Katherine Raz (left) and Libby Alexander, founders of Vintage Bazaar, a pop-up flea market in Chicago.

In an age when finding the George Nelson Pretzel chair you’ve been pining after requires little more than a few directed clicks online, the art of antiquing-pawing through estate sales, garage sales, and thrift stores for that perfect diamond in the rough-has lost some of its luster. Chicagoans Katherine Raz and Libby Alexander established the Vintage Bazaar (TVB) in late 2009, and the pop-up flea market is a place where like-minded design aficionados can go to find chic and affordable decor in the flesh. The pair, who share a passion for 
well-preserved classics, have hosted TVB events in theaters, ballrooms, and storefronts around Chicago. They recently set up shop in a warehouse in the Pilsen neighborhood, where over 50 vendors came together to delight in the social thrill of the chase.

The Vintage Bazaar captures the ephemeral appeal — and inherent thrill — of traditional flea markets. Danish modern items are still predictably popular, but vendors don't discriminate.
The Vintage Bazaar captures the ephemeral appeal — and inherent thrill — of traditional flea markets. Danish modern items are still predictably popular, but vendors don't discriminate.

How did you meet?
Katherine Raz: I put a call out on my blog [backgarage.com] asking people to pony up their places for online home tours that highlighted decorating on the cheap. Libby got in touch with me, so I went over to her apartment and we immediately hit it off.
Why curate a live event?
KR: We had both just been to the [nationwide DIY marketplace] Renegade Craft Fair and thought there should be a flea market in Chicago with that same young, hip spirit but with vintage goods.
Libby Alexander: The live events are a way to create camaraderie and build community, because they’re not just for shopping — we have a DJ, great food, and beer. People get together, buy things, and make friends.

Still-pristine tableware.
Still-pristine tableware.
What makes TVB unique?
KR: We’re trying to redefine the antique market for a new audience, and because of that we like to keep prices affordable, though generally there’s a mix of high- and low-end items. People don’t come to examine items with a monocle and buy rare pieces. It’s not untouchable design.
Who is your ideal vendor?
KR: We’re looking for people who have a strong eye and their own aesthetic. When vendors do a good job at curating, their personality really comes across in what they show.
What kinds of products are offered at TVB?
KR: We’ve got everything from mid-century pieces to retro clothing with a modern vibe to kitschy oil paintings.
LA: Our more old-school vendors all have their own collectibles, and typically they’re small and a little more niche: Pyrex pieces, glass items, books.
You both have experience buying and selling. Is it ever tough to part with a great find?
LA: I went to an estate sale in my neighborhood once and found four Eames shell chairs that I bought for a dollar a piece. I loved them for about a year, then sold them on Craigslist for $85 each. And I’ve had that moment a million different times, but eventually you get over it.
A painting of Richard Nixon.<br /><br />Click <a href="http://www.dwell.com/articles/more-finds-from-the-vintage-bazaar.html">here</a> for an extended look at the Vintage Bazaar: Katherine and Libby's favorite designs from their most recent event.<br /><b
A painting of Richard Nixon.Click here for an extended look at the Vintage Bazaar: Katherine and Libby's favorite designs from their most recent event.

Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

As a dealer, have you ever pursued any misguided trends?

KR: For a while, I was trying to bring back that whole curved corners, mauve, dusty rose, and teal motif. People are wearing clothes from the 1980s and ’90s now and I thought I was going to jump in front of that decor wave. In the end, I had to sell everything at a garage sale.
What’s your own home like?
KR: My place, like a lot of dealers’, is in constant chaos. There’s always an influx and outflux of great furniture. Everyone thinks you live in a dream house but it basically looks like you live in someone’s garage.
What’s next for TVB?
LA: Our plan is to do four shows a year in Chicago, and expand the TVB website to be more of a resource with vendor home pages, a Luxe on a Budget section, shopper profiles, home and office tours, and video tutorials teaching the basics about different products, from Cathrineholm to Knoll Tulip tables.
KR: Right now, we like creating opportunities for vendors to make money, for people to furnish their homes without spending a lot, and for different areas of the city to have an economic burst where maybe there wasn’t one before. We don’t really have a plot for world domination.

Go Find It!

The Vintage Bazaar
thevintagebazaar.com

Next event: Storefront pop-ups planned for the holidays (check website for latest event news)
Specialty: Vintage oddments, wearables, decor, and furniture
Top Sellers: Danish modern serving trays; statement jewelry; chairs
Best Deals: Vintage bar cart for $40; sheepskin throws for $55
Coolest Find: Albini ottoman; windup “tweeting” taxidermy bird in a cage; vintage belt massager

 

Read up on more Vintage Bazaar picks from Libby and Katherine in our extended article.

Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

french evolution paris daniel rozensztroch living area eames la chaise butterfly chair moroccan berber rug
A tastemaker brings his distinct vision to an industrial loft with a centuries-old pedigree.
February 07, 2016
senses touch products
The haptic impact can’t be underplayed. The tactility of a material—its temperature, its texture­—can make the difference between pleasure and discontent.
February 07, 2016
senses smell products
The nose knows: Though fleeting and immaterial, scent is the lifeblood of Proustian memories, both evoking and imprinting visceral associations.
February 06, 2016
design icon josef frank villa beer vienna
Josef Frank: Against Design, which runs through April 2016 at Vienna’s Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art, is a comprehensive study of the prolific architect, designer, and author.
February 06, 2016
senses sound products
From an alarm to a symphony, audio frequencies hold the power to elicit an emotional call-and-response.
February 06, 2016
Italian Apline home with double-height walls on one facade.
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
February 05, 2016
A built-in sofa with Design Tex upholstery marks the boundary between the two-level addition and the bungalow. Leading up to the master bedroom, a perforated metal staircase, lit from above, casts a Sigmar Polke–like shadow grid on the concrete floor.
From a minimalist Walter Gropius design to a curving sculptural stair, these six stairways run the gamut.
February 05, 2016
distant structure lakeside prefab norway facade stones green roof
Dwell has traveled all over the world, from Tasmania to Indonesia, to report on modern houses.
February 05, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment master bedroom atrium
Get ready for a weekend of rest with these sleepy, little cocoons.
February 05, 2016
lamp show 99 cent plus gallery 0
At Brooklyn's 99¢ Plus gallery, 30 artists and designers re-imagine the lamp in an illuminating light show.
February 04, 2016
Hidden storage stairwell with raw brass hardware
Having ample space to stow items is a daily struggle—peep these modern homes for some ideas on maximizing your square footage.
February 04, 2016
modern fairhaven beach house blackbutt eucalyptus living room Patricia Urquiola sofa
Whether it's along a coast in Australia or the French Alps, wood provides a natural touch in these interiors.
February 04, 2016
Glass and steel sculpture in Printemps store of Paris.
In the Paris' venerable Printemps department store, two Toronto-based firms were tasked with enlivening a new atrium and creating a unique experience for visitors. YabuPushelberg, partnering with UUfie, designed this stunning steel "sail" embedded with vibrant dichroic glass.
February 04, 2016
Monochromatic Master Bedroom in Copenhagen Townhouse
Whether it's to maximize limited light or create a soothing interior, these five projects go white in a big way.
February 04, 2016
EQ3 Assembly quilt by Kenneth LaVallee
The new Assembly collection from EQ3 celebrates up-and-coming figures in Canadian design. Discover this newly appointed class, which debuted at Toronto's Interior Design Show, here.
February 03, 2016
The Greenhouses of Half Moon Bay
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most viral design and architecture shots of the week.
February 03, 2016
Deck of Australian addition to Edwardian home.
A 1,500-square-foot home in Melbourne welcomes a modern black and white kitchen, dining, and living area.
February 03, 2016
open plan concrete home in japan
Embracing the organic, imperfect material, these raw concrete surfaces are a step up from exposed brick.
February 03, 2016
Renovated DC Row House loft space with Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair.
The classic designer's signature and comfortable forms continue to be popular in homes today.
February 03, 2016
Zinc-roofed cabin France.
An architect builds an energy-efficient home near one of France’s most popular pilgrimage sites.
February 03, 2016
1973 Palm Springs home
Made for casual design enthusiasts and Palm Springs connoisseurs alike, Unseen Midcentury Desert Modern offers a peek into 51 buildings—some not open to the public—in that Southern California mecca of modernism. Begun in 2008 by photographer Dan Chavkin, the book is set for release this February 9th and will be available on Amazon and at multiple venues of Modernism Week in Palm Springs, February 11 - 21. Here we preview some of its images.
February 03, 2016
Millennial concept home with an outdoor living area
A concept home aims to reflect the requests of the Millennial market.
February 03, 2016
The two twelve-by-sixteen-foot bedrooms, directly above a comparable pair on the first floor, feature a glass transom that follows the pitch of the roof. “The stair and railings were very simple,” Depardon observes. “We added a bit of design, with panels
Skylights needn't be simple overhead daylighting; sometimes they can truly define a room.
February 03, 2016
Modern small space Rhode Island cottage with landscaping and cedar cladding
Surrounded by nature, these cottages are tranquil retreats from the city.
February 03, 2016
The couple kept original touches, including the arch.
Historic archways belie these contemporary homes with physical reminders of each structure's storied past.
February 03, 2016
modern guesthouse in norway with angular facade and cutaway patio with spruce cladding and ikea chair
These houses make room for nature, not the other way around.
February 02, 2016
Modern kitchen with yellow sectioned walls and monochrome appliances
Whether it's a splash of color or bold strokes, this collection of interiors brightens up these homes.
February 02, 2016
Rust-washed concrete wall in Moscow apartment renovation.
This 590-square-foot apartment was stripped down to admit sunlight and dramatically reveal forgotten surfaces.
February 02, 2016
Nendo's collection of objects inspired by Star Wars
In a galaxy not so far away, Japanese studio Nendo has released a versatile collection of objects inspired by classic Star Wars characters.
February 02, 2016