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Chicago Vintage Shop Helps Revitalize Business District

Known as "the Goddess of WOW," designer Lynne McDaniel's An Orange Moon brings Mid-Century Modern style to Humboldt Park.

Alison Martin
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An Orange Moon
An Orange Mood caters to the Mid-Century Modern-loving crowd, but customers don’t have to come into the store to see what’s available. The store’s website stays updated with what’s on the floor and what’s been sold.

Rahm Emanuel may be mayor of Chicago for a few more months, but designer and shop owner Lynne McDaniel will always reign as a goddess. Her shop, An Orange Moon, specializes in vintage Mid-Century Modern design and other antiques, but she and her designer husband and co-owner, Ty, don’t limit themselves to one style — or one job for that matter. In addition to running a retail front, the McDaniels also do design work for clients, liquidate estates, design sets and reupholster furniture. 

And somewhere in between all of that, they do sleep.

An Orange Moon first opened in 2009 in the Gage Park neighborhood and moved to its current location in Humboldt Park in 2011. Back then, empty storefronts lined the stretch of North Avenue just past Western, but McDaniel started changing it by first christening it with a name: the WOW District, or West-of-Western, where she is “the Goddess of WOW.” She’s personally helped connect other businesses to their current locations along North Avenue, including Cup & Spoon, the coffee house across the street. Four years ago, McDaniel met the soon-to-be-owner when she came in with a friend and made an off-hand remark to McDaniel about wanting to open a coffee shop, and McDaniel pointed to a spot right across the street. McDaniel says the owner now plans to expand in the near future because she needs more space. 

As the city has started investing more in the neighborhood, McDaniel envisions the WOW District as the go-to destination in Chicago for vintage furniture and clothing. It may seem counterintuitive to have the competition right next door — to even bring it in yourself, as McDaniel has done with other vintage shops in the district — but it’s all part of a bigger picture.

”We’re all small businesses,” McDaniel relates. “We’re the glue that holds all this together, so I have to source from other small businesses because they need us. They don’t need me to go to Amazon.”

This way of doing business coincides with her design aesthetic. With a background in antiques — her interior designer mother graduated from Ray-Vogue College of Design in the city (now the Illinois Institute of Art - Chicago) — McDaniel believes in mixing old and new, vintage and designer, upscale and low-end, to create interiors her clients love. They appreciate the beauty and quality of vintage pieces, and they don’t want a design with just one style or period in mind. In that sense, An Orange Moon operates as a filter, attracting like-minded people who often become clients and even friends.

“You cannot have a home — and I might catch some flack for this — but you cannot have an entire house that is Mid-Century Modern. You will look like a crazy person. You must mix it up. It looks more interesting when it’s mixed up. Heidi Klum says there’s no more matchy-matchy. Now she might be referring to clothing, but in this instance, I’m referring to furniture. Long gone are the days of having a coffee table, two side tables and two matching lamps. That’s over. I mean, you can if you want to. And it will still look beautiful, but it’s okay to mix it up.”

For anyone doubting the staying power of Mid-Century Modern, McDaniel advises them to watch TV commercials and pay attention to the furniture in the homes. Much of it, she says, is Mid-Century. Even La-Z-Boy is slimming down.

“I”m here to say that it’s here to stay,” the Goddess proclaims. “You heard it here first, folks.”

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