Website of the week
Last year, my friends in Chicago were pretty damn excited about getting an H&M store on Michigan Avenue. "H&M?" I said. "We've had those since 2000." And that's the way it usually is: Cool stores open in New York and migrate westward. One notable exception, however, is CB2, which has been open in Lincoln Park for several years now but is finally launching a website (and, rumor has it, expanding to New York, Boston, and other cities). Of course, opening in Chicago makes sense because 1) parent company Crate & Barrel started in Chicago and 2) they probably wanted to see how their product would "play in Peoria" (or Chicago--whatever, they're both in Illinois--close enough). Their experiment must've been a success, judging by the incredibly cool--and, for the most part, affordable--stuff on the website.

Basically, it's a younger, hipper, slightly cheaper, more colorful version of Crate & Barrel, much like Pottery Barn's younger sibling West Elm. The website is organized into cheeky, slightly unconventional categories: live, eat, work, sleep, splash, party, and me (or, living room, kitchen, office, bedroom, bathroom, entertaining, and personal accessories). As you can see, they have pretty much every aspect of your home design covered, and the volume of products certainly backs this up. In general, the design of the furniture is modern, with clean, simple lines (yes, as you probably guessed, I'm drooling over much of it). The flip-flop convertible sofa is a futon for grownups; the odyssey coffee table evokes Saarinen; and the elevaton bed is, design-wise, a step up from anything West Elm makes. The accessories are incredibly fun: I like the colored rings clock; the kado rib vases; and the shallow bowl. The "eat" section also has some great finds, like the mod pop dinnerware, Tokyo snack dishes, and red flower zombie glass. There are many more cool products; the site is definitely worth exploring (I've been taking a break every few hours to click through another section). CB2 has taught me a humbling, valuable lesson: Not all good stores start in New York.

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