After apprenticing with master framers in Yorkshire and London, Heba Elbanna opened Tresorie, where she designs custom frames that archive cherished memories and reflect her clients' unique tastes. Drawing on nine years of French matting experience, she carefully applies transparent watercolor washes and hand-inked lines around matted works of art. This technique, which first arose in the late 18th century, was nearly quelled by the Industrial Revolution, a time of great societal change when the rise of precise machinery made hands obsolete. Fortunately, 20th-century artists revived the French matting technique, and today Heba often incorporates the classic designs into the framing of modern art pieces as well as contemporary photographs.
When she isn't painting delicate lines, Heba and her staff source frames from Larsen-Juhl and Roma Moulding, which come in styles ranging from slim and minimalistic to wide and ornate. Staffers can protect photographs and prints with simple, clear glass as well as museum quality, UV-resistant glass that reduces glare from grouchy portraits. In addition to cutting single, double, and multi-windowed mats, Heba also displays three-dimensional pieces—such as antique pipes and fans—inside specially designed frames. Customers can view Heba's handiwork on her online gallery and peruse samples of her French matting.
Though he doesn't wear an actual crown, Bruce Wiener has earned the title of Bed King thanks to his family's long-standing business and his in-depth knowledge of what makes a high-quality mattress. Still, he rules with a fair hand. At his store, he and his staff share the three things customers need to know when buying a mattress: how it feels, how it's built inside, and what their budget is. They advise customers to test out each mattress by lounging on it for 15 minutes, examining its comfort, support structure, and willingness to share bedtime stories. They also arm customers with know-how on the latest technologies, demystifying industry jargon by explaining, for example, that coil systems impart equal weight distribution over the surface of the bed.
With more than 100 showrooms and clearance centers across the country, Cort offers a cornucopia of repurposed furniture for living rooms, bedrooms, and offices. When merchandise arrives at Cort it is cleaned, reconditioned, and repaired if necessary before being labeled with a letter grade of A–D so prospective buyers can accurately determine each item's value and condition. Stylize sleeping quarters with an Accolade chest ($589.99) or schedule games of Jenga inside a Citrine living-room set ($439.99).
For more than a century, Ring's End has put quality home improvement products in the hands of homeowners and contractors. A Stanley FatMax level ($30.99) ensures all paintings and ouija boards are hung correctly, and a gallon of Benjamin Moore Regal Classic paint ($40.19) creates a vibrant new hue on staid interior walls. Fiberon composite decking ($2.95+/ft.) helps to craft sturdy, colorful backyard-grilling platforms and arrives backed by a 20-year limited warranty. Handymen and women can keep tools easily accessible, organized, and ready to travel with a Veto Pro Pac tool bag ($144.99), which holds more than 100 hand tools and includes six zippered pockets to hide worksite snacks from Bob Vila.