Michael Del Piero Good Design: Interior designer Michael Del Piero travels the world searching for unique items to stock her chic shop. Now, after undergoing a renovation that modernized the space — think black-and-white décor and reclaimed-wood walls — the store is back open for business, peddling Del Piero’s curated collection of antiques, modern art, ethnic artifacts and custom-designed pieces. 1914 N. Damen, Chicago; Michaeldelpiero.com
ReStore Chicago: The 29,000-square-foot retail warehouse celebrated its grand opening last week, welcoming shoppers to check out items priced at 50 percent off retail, plus gently used reclaimed building materials, windows, doors, furniture, appliances, plumbing fixtures, lighting and more. (The store also accepts donations of these items.) ReStore keeps reusable products out of landfills and raises funds for Habitat for Humanity’s homes and neighborhoods. 6040 N. Pulaski, Chicago; Windycityhabitat.org/restore.html
Anne Loucks Gallery: A new exhibit of figurative paintings and photographs by Kathleen Carbonara, Stephen Dinsmore and Teddy Verbockel opens Friday, Nov. 21 with an opening reception with the artists (5-7 p.m.), and runs through Jan. 8. 309 Park, Glencoe; Loucksgallery.com
Stone Porch by the Lake: A 1889 tudor revival mansion in the heart of historic Evanston was recently transformed into a luxe bed-and-breakfast. Once the home to Ralph and Marguerite Church, the boutique B&B now runs on geothermal energy and boasts fab guest accommodations, including spa bathrooms and heated floors. Call for pricing. 300 Church, Evanston, (847) 905-0133; Stoneporchbb.com
The Everygirl x Interior Define: The Chicago-based website and the chic furniture store teamed up to create two stylish sofas this season, including this traditional English roll-arm design with overstuffed seat cushions and low, tufted arms (left, $1,500). Price includes white glove delivery. 2027 W. North, Chicago; Interiordefine.com
Perry Farella senior loan officer, AmeriFirst Home Mortgage
TRENDING NOW: For those looking to invest in a property that needs rehab work, there’s an option to finance the improvements under a single loan. “Renovation lending is something buyers will do when they find a property in a location they like, but there are no new-construction options,” says Farella.
The loan amount includes both the purchase price of the home and the cost of improvements, with the plans for construction approved by the lender. “The main difference in renovation lending is that the lender is approving the loan based on the future completed value, once the designated rehab work is done,” says Farella. Beware, though, that a rehab loan requires time to approve the construction bids, which could add 45 days or more to the closing time. And while the interest rates for a renovation loan are a little higher (because they are slightly higher risk), the down payments are the same. The good news, says Farella, is that homeowners instantly build equity in their homes and can often refinance once the work is completed for lower rates, based on creating new equity from the renos.