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Gold Coast art collectors have amassed a museum's worth of Walgreens memorabilia

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"Everything is touchable," says art collector Paula Addington as she navigates the maze of sculptures and various art objects in her Gold Coast high-rise. She and her husband, Gordon, began buying art 25 years ago after the pair toured some home collections. They've since assembled a mix of contemporary and outsider art—plus enough Walgreens memorabilia to fill an entire room.

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Display of vintage pharmaceutical bottles, some dating as far back as 1919
  • Andrea Bauer
  • Display of vintage pharmaceutical bottles, some dating as far back as 1919

Gordon, a retired Walgreens divisional merchandise manager, has amassed nearly 3,000 artifacts from the Deerfield-based pharmacy chain. "It only takes three pieces to get a collection going, and after that, you're hooked," he says. Lit by the flicker of neon signs, the mini museum showcases items dating as far back as 1919. Rows of pill bottles are carefully shelved. A toy ice cream truck sits amid old soda fountain signs. A cosmetic tin from the 1920s displays art deco graphics.

"We have tours of the home, and people from Chicago, especially, go crazy talking about growing up with the soda fountains," he says. "It brings back lots of memories."

The Addingtons' living room, including a coffee table by ceramic artist Michael Gross
  • Andrea Bauer
  • The Addingtons living room, including a coffee table by ceramic artist Michael Gross

The Addingtons' living room boasts a hefty coffee table created by ceramic artist Michael Gross. Each tile is unique, and together the pieces compose a narrative. A wall sculpture from Gordon Chandler's kimonos series looks fragile, but it's actually made from a flattened 55-gallon steel drum. The hallway has a colorful display of objects made from toy feather dusters, sandstone, and bottle caps by renowned self-taught artist Gregory Warmack, aka Mr. Imagination. Warmack's intricately constructed bottle-cap vest once glittered on a stand near a window. It and selected works owned by the Addingtons are currently on exhibit through April 25 at Intuit's show "Welcome to the World of Mr. Imagination."

Bottle cap vest by Gregory Warmack, aka Mr. Imagination
  • Andrea Bauer
  • Bottle cap vest by Gregory Warmack, aka Mr. Imagination

Despite the couple's growing collections, their unit remains surprisingly organized and clutter free. "When we fall in love with a piece, we buy it and find a home for it," Paula says. "We did have to buy the condo next door to expand the collection," Gordon adds. "It's filled up a little bit, but there's lots of wall space."

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