unexpected guests: libby alexander.
i first discovered Libby Alexander on twitter. i think it was her adorable profile pic. but then, i saw her fabulous flickr shots, and got totally sucked in. and then, i saw her incredible blogbloglog etsy shop, and i was a gonner. libby calls it “Granny Chic, Rustic, and Creepy Vintage”. i call it cool. libby has an extraordinary sense of style and very eclectic taste, so i was so excited when she agreed to allow us to visit on unexpected guests. you’re in for an imaginary, and creatively wild ride. for more from libby, follow her blogs, the vintage bazaar, a pop-up vintage flea market, tumblr and alexander salvage.
What city/neighborhood do you live in?
I live in Chicago, Illinois in the West Andersonville neighborhood.
What is your idea of a perfect day in chicago?
A to-go mug of strong coffee, a good mix tape, and a solo salvage adventure (I work alone) in the early morning. Home midday with fabulous spoils and then it’s time for lunch with my manfriend. We’d dine al fresco at the Publican – oysters, housemade pickles, cheese, charcuterie, and beer. Follow lunch with a visit to the dog beach with our rescue dog, Midge. Again, since this is perfection, she’d frolic and be free of her doggy agoraphobia; then a brisk walk home just chatting and enjoying each other without our regular everyday wonders and worries. End the day with a yard party with our great pals that we host, but don’t have to clean-up. A simple mix of salvage, love, LOLs, and snacks.
What don’t you leave home without?
What’s on your wish list?
Quitting one of my jobs (I have 4 counting my Etsy shop.) to have more time to do whatever it is that I do when I don’t have to work.
What’s your favorite bargain find or product?
Toss up between the Thonet chair I found in the alley and the funny upholstered chair that I found in another alley. My favorite kind of bargain is the free kind.
What is your biggest interior design nightmare?
Walls! I daydream about knocking out the walls in my apartment. City living can make you feel so cramped.
Who is your favorite artist(s)? And why?
Ted Harris, a local artist and lighting designer, is currently on my list because I just learned how to wire lamps and I respect his focus on functionality, salvage, and science. Gerhard Richter is on the list, too. I like his diverse range of styles: abstract, photo realistism, etc. And third is Ray Eames for her prolific work in graphic design, furniture, painting, film, architecture, so on and so forth. It seems that I like people that do and try many things; I identify with that.
Where do you find inspiration?
Great music, fizzy cocktails, and good conversation always fill me with superhero levels of enthusiasm for trying. Also, blogs and twitter pals always point me in inspiring directions.
Do you collect anything?
I don’t know anymore. I used to be drawn to things with owls and then I started amassing chairs and lamps at a rapid pace. Lately, I am editing more than collecting.
What’s your favorite feature in your home?
Visitors have commented that it feels good to be in our home. A “put your feet up because nothing’s precious” kind of feeling. That’s my favorite.
If you could photograph anyone in the world, who might that be?
It has to be human? Because I’d really like to go back in time and photograph this herd of cattle that lived on the land near my grandparents’ house in Eldon, Missouri. When I was young, the cows were about the most fascinating thing on Earth. When visiting my grandparents, I used to go check on the cattle with my sister in the early morning. We’d try to get them to trust us and be near us. I got close enough to touch one of their snouts one time and it was like I had won a millions dollars…So, that’s what I’d want to photograph.
Who would you like to sit down to drinks with?
During our courtship, my manfriend and I used to plan dinner parties with dead people: favorite authors, artists, and so on that we’d love to meet. So, choosing one person is hard, but I have to say I’d love to have drinks with Julia Child. I read “My Life in France” in 2006, during a particularly difficult time in my life, and the book/Julia taught me to get over myself and get it done – whatever “it” happens to be.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
YouTube-ing video clips from very sentimental times and singing along — like queuing up a bunch of Dusty Springfield or Ani DiFranco tunes and having a good cry/practicing for Karaoke.
What is your most treasured belonging?
Right now, it’s my camera because it’s helping me remember to document my life and it happens to be a vehicle that helped me change my life in the last year.
What souvenir did you bring back from your last trip?
A Pronghorn skull from Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
What’s your greatest indulgence?
Really good food.
What is your idea of living hell?
Working in a cubicle and commuting for hours a day to get to said cubicle.