Experienced framers Barry Stahl and Bob Clayton built Big Picture Framing from scratch in 2000, holding meetings around an old card table as construction roared around them. Today, framers at 15 area locations craft custom frames to display artwork, photographs, and record sleeves, and shadow boxes protect three-dimensional items such as ballet slippers, macaroni art, or a swarm of wasps. Patrons can dictate all design choices, choosing from metal and wooden frames in a multitude of colors and styles, or ask for recommendations from one of Big Picture Framing's resident experts. Big Picture Framing also stocks pre-framed art, prints, and posters to spruce up bare-walled homes or a drab doghouse.
Fast Frame originated in Europe and now has more than 300 locations worldwide. With the understanding that people are prone to changing their minds, the teams at these 300 Fast Frame stores back up all their custom-framing projects with a 30-day design guarantee, giving patrons a month to decide if they want to swap their memorabilia for one of more than 2,000 other frame styles, paying the price difference if applicable. For each project, a team with more than 60 years of combined experience performs the work onsite, generally completing designs in less than a week and sometimes on the same day. In addition to photos and diplomas, customers can commission shadowboxes or framing of bulkier items, such as jerseys or baby’s first rap sheet. For all finished projects, Fast Frame secures its craftsmanship with a lifetime warranty.
After devoting years to protecting precious pictures and keepsakes from environmental harm, the Middlesex Framing crew has amassed an inventory of highly protective materials. Acid-free matting keeps photographs and certificates from deteriorating over time, UV-protection glass guards against sunlight’s discoloring rays, and museum glass deters bandits who somehow made it across the living room’s laser alarm grid. Partnering with Larson-Juhl, the crew is able to access more than 1,500 molding samples and matting combinations—ensuring that each piece is both protected and enhanced by its border.
Ali Mohammad and Nadeem Mazen never got the memo that it was dangerous to play with lasers; they’re willing to carve intricate graphics into almost anything, including the 215 loaves of bread it took to animate the autumnal music video for OK Go’s “Last Leaf.” Now, from their shop—whose sign warns passersby that “it’s the future in here”—they etch equally creative messages and images into the gadgets and gewgaws of their clientele. Laptops, iPhones, and other electronics take on customization, as well as items stocked by the shop itself, from metal business cards to pint glasses and hardwood planks awaiting to become personalized kindling. The showcase demonstrates their expertise with pictures of previous projects, such as a guitar body carved with an elaborate swan and a kitchen knife inscribed with an ominous message.
At Abodeon, functionality and fashion happily coincide. That's because the curators, husband and wife team Dale and Terri Anderson, call on their extensive art and design backgrounds to stock their store. The result is a bounty of vintage and current housewares that aren’t just pretty little things, but play an important role in whatever space they inhabit. Vintage lounge chairs mingle with teak salad sets and tree-shaped pepper mills, creating a showroom that inspires homeowners' imaginations like an attic door that says “Monsterworld.” The Andersons constantly replenish their store with vintage finds and housewares from local and international designers, allowing clients to come back to a new selection with every visit.
Combining her love of art and travel, Deb Colburn created Nomad to provide local homebodies and world-weary backpack buffs alike an opportunity to explore and purchase unique collections of clothing, jewelry, textiles, art, and home furnishings from around the world. Nomad is a supporter of eco-friendly clothing and fair-trade goods, often purchasing items directly from artisans. Pillage through a profusion of vibrant clothing to discover fashionable, one-of-a-kind sweaters or blouses, or pretend to be Bihari royalty with ornate ear adornments from the wide selection of domestic and international trinkets. Consider adorning a living-room shrine or baby's room with a piece of global folk art, such as a Día de los Muertos skull or a colorful, screaming dragon.