Steve Appel and Lee Whitehead found themselves in a design dilemma regarding the messy home of a wealthy client. She wanted to sell her house, but no one would buy the building in its current state. Instead of passing on the case, the duo visited the home and constructed a battle plan during a 10-hour consultation. Within the week, they'd completely repainted and replaced most of her furniture, readying her for a Saturday open house, and by Sunday, she'd received multiple offers from potential buyers. By Monday, the house was sold. As graphic-design majors and interior-design enthusiasts, Steve and Lee have used their talents in many such situations, under short time limits and with exceptional challenges, to refurbish a range of spaces—even helping famed baker Duff Goldman of Food Network's Ace of Cakes choose furnishings for his lobby at Charm City Cakes.
At Nouveau Contemporary Goods, the duo fills their space with an ever-changing roster of upholstery, dining sets, bed sets, and colorful crystal-infused wallpaper. Modern furnishings such as egg chairs and aquamarine crushed-velvet benches share a mutual territory with traditional pieces such as a red cabinet with a marble top and the actual couple who posed for American Gothic. In addition to showpieces, samplings of glass panels, blinds, and other window treatments ooze inspiration for potential clients coming up with their own projects. Anyone on a tight deadline can also count on the design duo for same-day delivery, be it for full showroom sets or unique recycled artwork and furniture.
Before Comfort One Shoes' sole experts are allowed to fit a single shoe to a customer's foot, they must graduate from Comfort One University and undergo a mentorship process. It's only then that they can help shoppers find their desired footwear, whether it be lace-up Ziera boots, On running shoes with CloudTec technology, or Thierry Rabotin shoes, handmade without uncomfortable, rigid components. Alongside men's and women's footwear, the shop stocks an assortment of bags and accessories such as colorful iPhone cases from Triple C Designs that protect phone exteriors and conceal scratches from the last time you transformed into a werewolf.
Comfort One Shoes also seeks to better the world through creative philanthropic efforts, such as collecting 25,000 shoes for those without and offering their employees half their pay and time off to volunteer in the community. Perhaps such initiatives are part of the reason Comfort One Shoes earned the National Shoe Retailers Association’s Retailer of the Year Award in 2011.
Quarry's approachable, contemporary shop caters to sippers of all skill sets. With more than 800 wines and selections divided according to price (under $15 and under $25), taste (light, medium, full), color, and common-sense descriptions (food pairings, flavor notes, astrology-sign compatibility), Quarry makes it easy for wine explorers to discover their grape grail. For truly monumental decisions, Quarry's expert, friendly staff is always on hand to toss out suggestions on the perfect pour and how to raise goats to have human emotions. Come summer, pack an elegant liquid-based picnic, one-up neighbors at the annual block party, or just wipe a sweaty brow with a chilled bottle of Riesling.
The Floral Studio is a custom floral studio with expertise in weddings and special events. Their blooms are conditioned to last longer and bloom brighter than others. This Groupon is strictly for seasonal bouquets, ensuring you'll always get the freshest flowers, and can be applied to larger arrangements (customers must pay amount over $50 value). Usher in balmier temperatures, Easter bunnies, and puppy love with a springtime cluster of tulips, iris, and daffodils. Come summer, sample arrangements could include groupings of antique hydrangea, dahlia, and sunflower. Although the selection is seasonally changing, currently you can get a simple, classy dozen premium roses in your choice of color ($66). If the fear of fleeting flora leaves you wanting more, invest in life that will stick around a little longer. The blooming topiary lasts up to three weeks (your choice of color, $70), and a double-stem orchid plant for $55 is an exotic way to breathe life into your life.
Since 1961, The Flower Cart, Inc. has blanketed the Baltimore area in fresh floral arrangements for all occasions. Holiday centerpieces aglow with crimson roses and twinkling candles brighten pie-laden tables, whereas anniversary bouquets use white button-spray chrysanthemums to say all the things that peanut-butter-filled mouths can’t. With a range of bestsellers for $35 and under, The Flower Cart, Inc. promises elegant still-life subjects for practiced pointillists and verdant houseplants for innovative performance artists. Sneeze-prone flora fans can get a pollen-free flower fix with an array of fruit and gift baskets stuffed with fresh produce and aromatic coffee.
Newbury and Smith’s fashionable shopkeepers peddle boutique consignment items including discounted clothing, handbags, and accessories from designers such as Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton. Stash a poodle or a small poodle-shaped purse inside a handbag from Coach ($140) or adorn wrists with handmade glass beaded jewelry ($88–$120). Women can turn heads at a party in a Carlisle dress ($198+) or turn a game of tennis into a sauna by wearing an Ann Taylor suit ($68) on the court. Consignors regularly fill the shop with a stream of new products that change constantly, and workers often restock shelves with finds purchased during trips afield.