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For months Pilsen residents (and lovers of mid-century design) Tiffany Paige and Mike Biersma had kept their eyes on a storefront a block from their house. When they spotted a “for rent” sign in the window one day, they sealed the deal on the spot.

The pair opened Modern Cooperative there earlier this summer, and their furniture-and-art boutique now helps anchor a vintage-shopping strip in Pilsen’s arts district that you could spend all afternoon exploring.

With backgrounds that crisscross graphic design, art direction, brand management and photography, Paige and Biersma have well-honed tastes. Their current inventory, sourced from estate sales and auctions far and wide, includes a nearly flawless Eames for Herman Miller lounge and ottoman for $3,500, plus plenty of finds--sideboards, chairs, lamps, bar carts, glassware and more--priced in the lower hundreds.

Modern Cooperative showcases two local artists each month; right now, look for freehand paintings on glassware and windows (about $225) by Emmy Star Brown, whose hip TV spots for Sharpie markers debuted this week on MTV and FUSE. 

To make a day of your Pilsen excursion, Paige recommends checking out neighbors Comet Vintage, Knee Deep and Pilsen Vintage and Thrift, followed by cocktails and dinner at the romantic gem that is Nightwood restaurant.

Turns out there are lots of reasons to head south.

Modern Cooperative, 818 W. 18th St.; 312-226-8525 or

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