Shortly after decorative painter Michael James graduated from high school, he crossed the Atlantic to head for Europe. While overseas, he learned from the old masters, studying art for one year and taking on projects that would inform his development as a professional, such as renovating a 19th century farmhouse and painting a moustache on the Mona Lisa. In 1998, after returning to the States, he started his own company, rendering services such as interior painting, custom color, brick fireplace makeovers, and wood graining for homes and offices across the country. His efforts have landed him in a number of renowned media outlets: he’s worked on projects featured on Oprah, his fine art decorative tiles were featured in Bliss magazine, and he’s been named a winner at the Parade of Homes.
Inside Ashley Furniture HomeStore’s sprawling warehouses and showrooms, friendly staffers stock plush beds, sturdy end tables, and stylish home accessories. Expert designers craft these dwelling fillers, testing raw materials' durability and basic arithmetic skills before transforming them into classy furniture items that mesh with any decorating style. They build many tables and chairs to meet eco-friendly business standards, using recycled engineered wood to reduce landfill waste and slow down deforestation. Ashley also stocks nonwood items, including a selection of state-of-the-art body-cushioning mattresses from brands such as Sealy and Simmons.
For an additional charge, Ashley Furniture HomeStore transports its furniture using its own fleet of semi trucks and fighter planes, which ensure that comfortable couches and slick dining-room tables are never damaged and always fresh smelling. Each location is locally owned and operated, meaning staffers are friendly residents who know which couches best complement regional design trends and indoor weather patterns.
Short of creating physical clouds to hold people aloft, Mattress Warehouse stocks almost every imaginable furnishing to help customers catch a few Z’s. Rows of name-brand mattresses from Sealy, Simmons Beautyrest, Serta, and Tempur-Pedic entice customers to replace their worn pad for new bedding, such as a standard mattress, a fluffy pillowtop unit, or a memory foam piece that conforms to bodies. Beyond mattresses, the warehouse also carries an ample collection of box springs, full bed sets with rails and headboards, and even premium futon mattresses that revitalize foldable couches.
Bed sets, sofas, and barstools populate the showroom at Decor Furniture & Mattress Showplace, set up in arrangements of household rooms. In addition to carrying luxury furniture for living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, and personal aircraft carriers, Decor Furniture & Mattress Showplace specializes in building custom pieces to accommodate room measurements and the creative visions of clients. With more than 300 fabric, color, and leather options, customers can match existing room decor or draw attention away from evidence left from hosting a weekly food-fight club.
River City Referrals assists homeowners and tool-tinkerers looking for the appropriate contractor for a home-improvement project. Clients describe their project to River City Referrals, who then search its database of trusted contractors to produce a skilled, qualified handyman. These jacks-of-all-trades assist in a multitude of services ranging from painting and landscaping to window installation. After that, rates vary by contractor and project, but past projects have included washing-machine repair (about $250), ceiling patch and medallion installation ($275), and a lighting repair ($125).
These Four Walls specializes in unique, quirky home goods fashioned by craftspeople around the world and the greater Richmond community. Husband-and-wife owners Hank and Angie travel to locales as disparate as Peru and Narnia to find eclectic, often organic or recycled furnishings, accent pieces, and objets d'art. Wash your hands with Row House Soap ($5) made by local artisans and dry them on a decorative towel ($10.50), all the while being silently serenaded by a musician statuette ($14) fashioned from nuts and bolts. Whimsical metal cows ($25) enjoy the aromatherapeutic benefits of scented Trapp candles ($30). Even crafty tots can get in on the action, ogling a fanciful array of toys including the miniature monster-footed stilts ($10.50), manufactured with no harm to monsters, ogres, and/or bogeymen.