I've never been good at making decisions, especially when there is a debate involved. Typically, I can see the valid point in what both parties have to say. I'm not even talking about major decisions here either, but random, not even slightly important, battles between two not that important schools of thought.
For instance, there are two groups of thought concerning fashion and cost. One school says that you should have high quality (also known as higher cost) pieces totaling in at a lower quantity of pieces; the other says to buy pieces that are less expensive and to bulk up on quantity. Personally, I find both sides to have legitimate points. I call it a draw and buy both expensive and not so expensive items.
Personal fashion isn't the only field with a cheap-versus-expensive, quality-versus-quantity line drawn. Home fashions--you know, furniture and the like--can also be similarly divided. I discovered this on a recent furniture shopping excursion. It started years ago when I began amassing quite a collection of books, CDs and DVDs; it finally came to fruition when I realized this year that I needed a new bookshelf, preferably one large enough to hold a collection of those items that continues to grow weekly. In addition, I now need a new desk because, well, just because. The large desk I currently occupy is just too much for its room.
Many stores later, I have discovered a great amount of knowledge. First and foremost, why can't a person find already assembled furniture? If there are people who can manage to move killer whales from the ocean to a theme park or transport something else heavy and fragile from one place to another, then why can't the average consumer find assembled furniture to move from the store to a home? I realize a bed can't fit through a doorframe and obviously needs some screws put in place, but so many things are door-frame ready; why the assembly?
Just when I assumed things couldn't get any worse, my eyes really began to open when I discovered such a thing as "no tools required" furniture. This doesn't mean it's pre-built; it's just assembled without tools. One alarm clock on a nightstand or a handful of files into a filing cabinet and KABOOM; wouldn't furniture assembled without tools equal a big poof of dust and a big pile of fake wood? It might be cheaper, but that doesn't make it better. I had made a decision; great furniture was what I was after.
Making my way throughout our fine city, I began to discover the plethora of local furniture retailers. Better yet, many of these stores seemed to have an aesthetic in accordance with what I was looking for. Big, poofy couches with little dust ruffles and floral patterns, weird wood stains on a dresser with intricate engravings and antique looking handles--this is not me and it's not the future of design.
The future is sleek, smooth, modern designs and it's right here in Tulsa at IQ Furniture and SR Hughes.
Test your IQ
IQ Furniture, at 5150 South Sheridan, across from the Farm Shopping Center, has a large showroom that takes both the approach of creating miniature living spaces as well as just placing items throughout the store. To me, it seemed to give people the opportunity to see an assembled room, allowed for continuity, but also gave people with their own ideas regarding design a chance to mix and match. Simply put, you can pick pieces from around the place or look in one spot and discover a matching, well laid out living space.
Owner Becky Mullins chooses items in market or through catalogues based on current trend. And the current trend, according to IQ Furniture and other local furniture stores, is merging what seems to be two opposing forces. These pieces, as many modern items do, tend to have one foot in the past and one in the future. It's part space age, but also somewhat reminiscent a 1970s rec room. Pardon me design-o-philes if I am completely off base, but I sort of detect "A Clockwork Orange" kind of vibe.
Certain pieces combine a variety of materials. A tall, round, freestanding bar may include glass, wood and steel. Your grandmother's dining room table was probably solid wood with wooden chairs covered in fabric, but these modern versions may feature a wooden base, non-attached glass top surrounded by leather or suede chairs. The comfort and overall functionality of the piece still exists--it's just been reinterpreted.
That's really what the pieces are about--giving you what you need, but simplified. Couches and chairs don't have upholstery with piping or half a dozen pillows. Instead, it's a piece of cushioning suspended on sleek, thin legs; there are no cushions, but a piece of faux suede wrapped around like a singular piece of material. It's certainly not the best option for those who rely on the ability to flip over a sofa cushion when stains occur.
Modern concepts don't intend to be busy. Fabrics are typically solid, in a color slightly over neutral, meaning it's not exactly dark brown or just dark blue, but tones that gently waver. Prints are also simple with geometric patterns, or, say, a couch in green tweed. Geometric is popular with shapes of all the furniture, with modular bookshelves or room dividers consisting of a square in the same dimensions repeated over and over, including one that looked like an oversized tic tac toe board or one whose shelves fit together like the puzzle pieces in the video game Tetris.
Not Like the Other
SR Hughes knows a thing or two about design. In addition to being a furniture retailer, the company that began in Tulsa in 1980 is also an interior design company. Located at 3410 South Peoria, No. 100, the SR Hughes showroom details the other half of the business. Brian Hughes, grandson of the original Hughes, notes that the items aren't starkly displayed or chosen. SR Hughes demonstrates the other idea behind great furniture--it isn't about following trends, it's buying what you like.
And that's how items throughout SR Hughes are chosen. Some are imported from around the globe with accent pieces that appear tribal or historical hailing from Africa and Mexico, hand made rugs from Nepal and more modern furniture pieces coming from European countries like Germany and Italy. There are also custom-made pieces and designs from the United States. While some of the pieces make you want to step back and take pause, wondering if instead of being fit for a home, it should belong in a museum, SR Hughes has filled the store with elements to remind you that these pieces are meant for living.
In addition to the furniture, bedding and artistic pieces, you can also find items that make a home look and feel personal. SR Hughes carries a line of soaps and candles, as well as glossy coffee table books in a variety of subjects.
IQ Furniture may push the boundaries of what furniture can be comprised of, but SR Hughes shows how different elements of furniture can be combined. For example, one such display I took note of featured a bright red rug with a wide border in another shade of red. The sitting area on top of the rug consisted of velvet chair in gold-caramel with wood accents sitting across from a white leather chair with high neck and head cushion. In between the two chairs was a stool created in Africa that featured tribal carvings. Sitting behind the whole scene was a glass and wood display case filled with books. Described, it sounds like a cluster of craziness--ancient with modern, colors that don't seem congruent--but in person, it makes sense.
It's especially great for texture enthusiasts, as so many pieces throughout the store are. From the smooth lines of a sleek wooden dining table to the rugs and chairs with cowhide and coarse hair and a hutch that looks so weather beaten and worn with its former Tiffany blue colored paint barely hanging on, but that up close is so incredibly smooth, each piece is a sensory delight.
And that's how your furniture should be. Something you like, something that works with your lifestyle and something that's already constructed.
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