Unique Arts head product designer Ati Goknur and his staff handcraft a diverse ecosystem of outdoor accouterments using carefully chosen processes and materials, such as Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood. Ati also personally visits Unique Arts’ overseas partners before deeming their products eco-friendly and genie-absent enough to sell. Olympia solar lights illuminate walkways and remote property areas without enlarging carbon footprints ($49, six per set). The plug-less bulbs recharge automatically during the day and blink on when the sun slips into the horizon’s fanny pack at night. Enliven summer barbecues with wafts of charcoal from a stainless-steel screened fire pit ($99). The avian flutterings around a tall birdbath ($99) give patio populations something to look at as they lounge on a honey-brown Birmingham bench constructed from FSC-certified eucalyptus and do the New York Times crossword tattoos on their arms.
Bead Bin's staff furnishes jewelry boxes with a wide array of well-organized beads and stringing material and teaches the craft of creating jewelry by leading a variety of instructive classes. A smorgasbord of glass pearls and Swarovski crystals populate beading kits available in a galaxy of colors, outfitted with either base-metal or sterling-silver fasteners. After baubles in favorite colors or eye-matching hues have been chosen, guests receive an in-store tutorial on proper bead-slinging techniques to create bracelets that decorate delicate joints like a piñata decorates the interior of a lucky politician's limousine.
A family gathers in front of a fire to watch flames dance inside a teepee of logs. After several moments, a uniformed staffer walks over to ask whether they have any questions, and, startled, they stop telling ghost stories or reminiscing about bygone summer bonfires to think about whether they'd like that very model in their own home. Fireside Hearth & Home's cozy design room has that effect. Several staged but comfortable living rooms, kitchens, and patios revolve around fireplaces and stoves, letting customers really imagine life around the hearth. The inventory of gas, wood, and electric fireplaces, as well as stoves and inserts come out of the workshops of top brands such as Heat & Glo, Heatilator, Quadra-Fire, and Outdoor Lifestyles. The knowledgeable staffers can explain the variances of styles and features, as well as install new fireplaces and convert wood fireplaces to gas ones.
Golde's Futon Warehouse equips serious slumberers with sleep-friendly mattresses and a selection of strength- and style-infused platform frames in a variety of colors. After defeating the wolpertinger that guards the entrance to the showroom, shoppers can sift through Golde's collection of mattresses skillfully carved out of sweet dreams by OrthoGel, Symbol, and EcoSleep.
At more than 1,000 Mattress Firm locations around the country, shoppers sink into plush mattresses, recline on firm beds, and belly-flop onto pillow tops. Knowledgeable staffers can help customers create an ideal bedtime environment by dispensing advice based on sleep preferences and illuminating the difference between the many kinds of mattresses. And to the delight of their customers, much of Mattress Firm's bedding wears the label of a premium brand, such as Sealy, Serta, Simmons Beautyrest, or Stearns & Foster.