HYDE PARK — A vintage furniture, art gallery and event space is now open in Hyde Park’s Harper Court as its owner aims to establish the shop as a center for creatives on the South Side.
Recycled Modern, 5231 S. Harper Court, sells refinished furniture, home décor, art and accessories selected by owner Shari Currie, a Kenwood resident.
Currie sells items she personally connects with, such as a white couch painted with a repeating Black Lives Matter pattern, handstitched pillows from Reformed School and works by creatives such as photographer Clifton Henri, artist Jamie Cooper and painter Anthony Olusina, she said.
“I want you to have that experience of walking into your home,” Currie said. “I want you to take these pieces into your home, look at it and say, ‘Hey, I got that from Recycled Modern.'”
The Hyde Park shop is open noon-6:30 p.m. Thursday-Friday and noon-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. It’s appointment-only Tuesdays.
A successful first year in Hyde Park would involve “everybody having a piece of art or furniture from this space,” Currie said.
Recycled Modern will also host frequent events, such as the store’s soft opening Nov. 5, during which visitors could commission “Ugly Portraits” by the artist EWRKS and music by DJ Zaza.
“I’m bringing this whole shopping experience where you feel at home and you don’t want to leave; you have a cocktail and mimosa and you’re vibing with community and the artists in a different type of way,” Currie said. “It’s huge for Recycled Modern and very essential.”
The store will host a holiday art sale 1:30-5 p.m. Saturday, which serves as an afterparty of sorts for the Hyde Park Holly-Day festival, Currie said. EWRKS will return for commissioned portraits at the event.
“It’s always artists in here, and it’s always a good vibe,” Currie said of Saturday’s event.
The Hyde Park shop is Recycled Modern’s second location. Currie opened her first store in 2018 at 1152 W. Diversey Parkway in Lakeview.
The company’s concept stems from Currie’s love of vintage shopping, which she discovered through a “process of grief” as she healed traumas from growing up on the South Side, she said.
“I actually did not like thrifting when I was younger, because it was a need — it wasn’t fun, it was more so out of necessity,” Currie said. “It was this transition of grieving how I grew up in Englewood and not really appreciating the neighborhood like I wanted to.”
Even as Currie grew to appreciate thrifting, Chicago lacked vintage stores where “I felt like I was at home,” she said. With the help of a mentor, she worked to fill that gap by selling at pop-ups across Chicago before opening the Lakeview brick-and-mortar.
One such stop was at the Hyde Park Flea market in Harper Court in 2018, where Currie sold from a booth directly in front of the store she’d move into several years later.
The Harper Court store “was available, so I saw it and I’m like, I can’t not take it,” Currie said. “It was kind of divine — I was outside the front of this space when I started.”
The South Side store takes over for the Lakeview location as the company’s flagship for home decor and furnishings, Currie said. She plans to continue a gradual process of turning the North Side shop into an art gallery with a small, dedicated space for furniture, she said.
The Lakeview store “will look a lot different than what this home base, flagship store [in Hyde Park] looks like — it’s definitely gallery-focused,” Currie said.
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