The Run Down

There's nothing quite like the decorating high, as interior designers like to say, you get when hunting for and securing vintage homeware. The hunt is the main part of the thrill, so today you'll head to three female-owned stores across Humboldt Park, Bucktown and Logan Square to chase that feeling and acquire new treasures for the home.

1. Shopping @ Humboldt House

2. More Shopping @ Eskell

3. Even more shopping @ Logan Mercantile

1. Humboldt House

Walk through the glass doors of Humboldt House, and you’ll immediately get a boost of endorphins. Situated on California Avenue on one of the most bustling blocks in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, you’ll be greeted by a cheerful indie playlist, rainbow-painted walls and a large selection of colorful knick-knacks.The rainbow aesthetic of the store is intentional. Humboldt House opened in 2013 with a clear mission to showcase vendors from underrepresented communities. Eleven years later, still at its original location, the shop continues to source much of its merchandise from queer and BIPOC vendors, and its interior styling showcases that.Everything is thoughtfully merchandised into different sections of the store based on themes such as kitchen and cooking, beauty and wellness, pet goods, gifts and stationery, and more. Pastel-painted ceramic vases and funky candle stick holders beg to become the next statement pieces of your home.

The concept behind the store is to help elevate self-care and daily rituals through the use of amazing products for everything from beauty and cooking to plant and pet care, according to the retail manager. Take, for example, a modern pink and green glass or some artisanal olive oil from Spain — both would make good replacements for your respective plastic watering can and grocery store cooking oil.Humboldt House emphasizes local vendors, displaying a table of home goods and accessories celebrating Chicago. One of its most unforgettable items is a $32 Chicago hot dog pin, complete with green sequin relish and yellow beaded mustard drizzle.

For those who can’t get enough of Humboldt House and want to shop for little ones, sister store Peach Fuzz lives a few doors south on California Avenue. Peach Fuzz carries a range of baby and children’s items and also offers baby registries for parents-to-be with great taste.

2. Eskell

You’ll continue your home decor hunt at Eskell, a 10-minute drive or 20-minute bus ride and walk north of Humboldt House. The large white brick building stands out as a beacon of style among the other restaurants and storefronts on the busy Western Avenue in Bucktown. Previously a car repair shop, owner Kelly Whitesell moved into the space seven years ago and rebuilt it from the ground up.Eskell is lofted, with retail space on the first floor and a studio upstairs. Sunlight streams through large paneled windows, and a rich wood bookcase, complete with a sliding ladder, spans the entire back wall to house trinkets and decorative items.

The shop originally opened in 2005 in Lincoln Park. It later moved to Wicker Park where it had success for eight years until it relocated to its current space in Bucktown. The store has its roots in women’s apparel and accessories as Whitesell comes from a fashion design background and even launched Eskell’s own private-label clothing collection in the business’s early years. Over time, the shop evolved with its owner’s interests, shifting into the home decor and gifting spaces.

The boutique’s staff joke that Eskell is like a department store because they sell a little bit of everything. As you wander through the space, you will come across gold-accented consoles and bar carts that house a variety of decorative picture frames, cocktail glasses, coffee table books and candles. Follow your nose to the perfume counter or be dazzled by the large selection of jewelry behind the register.

Despite the diverse range of products, Eskell’s furniture and home decor pieces seem to take center stage. In the middle of the store, two gray geometric-printed couches and a circular glass and wood coffee table sit atop a colorful oriental rug. The mixing of different textures and patterns gives a charmingly maximalist vibe that makes you want to hang out and soak up all of the interesting surroundings.For those selling their house or in need of a stylish refresh, Eskell also offers home staging services. Personal shopping services for those looking to elevate their wardrobe or living space are available, too.

Once you’ve been thoroughly inspired by the homewares and design of the store, make your purchases and get ready for the final stop on your shopping spree.

3. Logan Mercantile

You’ll end your excursion at Logan Mercantile, a quick 10-minute drive over to Fullerton Avenue in Logan Square. This female-owned shop is known for selling high-quality, sustainable homewares, including soap, cookware and gardening tools.As you step inside, you’ll notice a sharp contrast from the other two shops — the design of Logan Mercantile is clean and minimalist. A majority of the goods are made from natural materials, and coupled with the white-painted brick walls and small garden atrium in the center of the store, it feels like it’s been plucked out of Scandinavia and put in Chicago. According to owner Kitty Izzo, this is by design, as she felt that Chicago lacked the type of European artisanal shops that offer options for home supplies that are both beautiful and sustainably made.Logan Mercantile imports its goods from across the world, including from Japan, France, Scandinavia, Germany and the United Kingdom. Product tags and signage around the store enlighten shoppers about the background of goods, many with interesting stories. Funnily enough, the shop’s best-selling items are its natural handmade brushes and brooms. Ranging from $30-100, they’re made from natural materials including birchwood, rice straw and horsehair.The calming atmosphere and beautiful products will keep you wandering around the store without realizing how much time has passed. If you’ve worked up an appetite from all that shopping, head right next door to Park & Field, the restaurant also owned by shopowner Kitty and her husband Dave Nalezny. It serves upscale pub fare in a vintage sports club atmosphere with a sprawling patio.