The Casual Cup’s tiered tea service tantalizes sophisticated sippers with richly flavored libations and elegant eats. Diners commence their ambrosial afternoon with a steaming pot of tea of their choice. Scones slathered in house-made lemon curd and decadent clotted cream make diners feel as important as workers at a red-carpet manufacturing plant. A cup of belly-warming soup or a verdant helping of salad warms up taste buds for the main event, which consists of chef-picked tea sandwiches and assorted desserts elegantly displayed atop a tiered platter. The service requires 24 hours notice prior to guests’ arrival.
Dedicated to rewriting the traditional furniture-store formula, the well-edited shop eschews the sales in sales in favor of a friendly, pressure-free approach. Here, customers can bed-flop and couch-surf to their seat's content without interruptions from a sales-hungry staff. The hassle-free environment––coupled with a policy to only stock first-line releases and brand-new inventory––gives the 50,000-square-foot facility showcasing more than 350 manufacturers a comfortable, shoppable feel. With items running the gamut from recliners and lighting to the bathroom sink, Brandon Home Furnishings is a one-stop fix for any painfully plain corner, closet, nook, cranny, or dollhouse cranny.
Gardiners Furniture offers a variety of traditional and contemporary furniture for living rooms, bedrooms, home offices, and more in its expansive storerooms. Outfit your living room with an in-vogue two-piece ottoman ($161) by Signature Design Rayanne and a Toscana rectangular cocktail table ($179) from Ashley Furniture. Or, replace unsightly metal with stately wood in your home office with an Ashley Furniture two-drawer file cabinet ($224). Other items include a traditional handsome wooden 3-drawer end table ($242) and a Heritage TV cart by Eagle Industries ($359), ideal for taunting the floating TVs of the future with what could have been.
Since 1919, the knowledgeable staff at Wilson Lighting and Interiors have illuminated thousands of lamps, fixtures, and lighting accessories for customers. Set a shabby-chic parlor aglow with a distressed lamp base ($53), perhaps topping it with a classic hand-stitched Canterbury lampshade ($74). Nightlights ($11.50) comfort nocturnal pets and boogeymen banished to dark closets. Beacons for all purposes await dusky corners in the comprehensive bulb department, including three-way bulbs ($3.60) and full-spectrum bulbs ($17) that form a perfect spotlight for the prima-donna hand of the after-dinner puppet show.
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.
Maryland China Co. has a long tradition of ordering fine china pieces from around the world: over a century long, in fact. Today, the staff maintains the shop's reputation by carefully vetting every item in the 1,250-piece collection, which comes from eight countries and four planets. Quality is paramount, so the shop demotes items to the seconds room for minute imperfections, such as slight color variation. A single piece of hand-painted china, such as a cup and saucer decorated with intricate loops and whorls, can take hours to complete. Full tea sets, then, celebrate the careful craftsmanship and leisurely traditions of the Old World.
Despite the large selection of hand-painted wares, undecorated white china and porcelain vases, pots, cups, and bowls dominate the shelves. Sometimes designed with ornate details, such as scalloped edges or antique-style handles, the items are otherwise blank slates for artists. Customers can purchase a small paint set with their china to transform it into a modern work of art with colorful chevrons or 2011 1040 forms.