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WEST TOWN — A vintage furniture store with a focus on postmodern and unconventional design is opening a brick-and-mortar location in West Town after years of operating online.
Carefully Picked opens Saturday at 1341 W. Grand Ave. It’s run by husband-and-wife team David Barsoum and Niky Sampedro, who launched the brand in 2018 as they collected furniture for their apartment.
What began as a hobby grew into a business as the couple began to collect and sell pieces from renowned designers and get involved in Chicago’s thriving vintage resale scene. That included selling some of their finds at Dial M For Modern’s Logan Square location before the well-known vintage store moved to West Town this year.
Carefully Picked hopes to fill a niche in Chicago with sleek, artful and sometimes odd pieces, many of them made during or inspired by 20th century European design movements, especially from Italy.
“I’m really drawn to a lot of things from across the whole century, but I think, in particular, what the store is going to mainly focus on is stuff from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, radical to postmodern design,” Barsoum said. “A lot of this like anti-establishment design or anti-design philosophy resonates with us.”
Among the couple’s favorite recent pieces is a Superonda sofa designed by Archizoom Associati that can be flipped over and moved around in different formations, thanks to its lack of a frame. Another is a recently sold poker table — featuring individual pull-out ash trays — from 1968 by Italian designer Joe Colombo.
“It’s a little bit of everything. You know, I’m searching the whole country for these things and sometimes overseas, as well,” Barsoum said.
As they retrofit their storefront to show off their picks, Barsoum and Sampedro are taking a “museum” approach to its layout. That means showcasing each piece on elevated platforms and keeping the wall decor to a minimum.
“We wanted to put these objects sort of out of context. Because so often, you’ll go to a vintage store, and they’ve curated their selection and staged it like a home,” Barsoum said. “It’s very effective, but I think that for us, we wanted to let the objects speak for themselves.”
Carefully Picked will also carry a small library of design books for customers to browse and buy as a way of educating them on design styles and movements.
“So not just ushering in a new aesthetic into Chicago, but also educating people and inspiring them through some of these design books that we’ve curated,” Sampedro said. “That is a way to kind of participate in this community, learn and foster your interest in a low barrier to entry way.”
During the pandemic, the vintage furniture resale business boomed on Instagram and other social media sites, leading numerous operators to open stores across Chicago and particularly in West Town.
Carefully Picked joins a growing crop of newer and more established sellers in the area, including Dial M For Modern, Circa Modern, River Otter and more.
Sampedro said she and Barsoum are thrilled to become part of that scene and share their enthusiasm for design and collecting with the neighborhood.
“We love talking about these pieces, and when people ask us about them and we see that it sparks some interest in them, it’s really exciting for us,” she said. “So to be able to add that human touch to our business through an in-person store is going to be really special.”
Carefully Picked will be open noon-5 p.m. Friday-Sunday and by appointment.
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