Standard Furniture traces its origins back to 1912, when a local family began traveling through Birmingham, peddling fine household furniture out of a wagon. Four generations later, the business has blossomed into 13 retail stores throughout Alabama and Tennessee, and its century-long commitment to quality furniture and customer service won it the Alabama Retail Association’s Silver Award as one of the Retailers of the Year in 2011. Each gallery abounds with bedroom, living-room, and dining-room furniture from top designers such as Lane, along with mattresses in a range of shapes and styles from brands such as Tempur-Pedic, Serta, and Jamison. At each location, a knowledgeable staff awaits to offer design counsel, suggesting pieces that best suit a household’s style or will hold up against a disobedient pet woodchuck.
Owners Trey and Kellie Robbins tap a decade’s worth of experience to lead their team of trained technicians in keeping clients’ air conditioners and heating systems in tip-top shape. Acme Air Systems provides temperature-control solutions for year-round weather, selling and installing systems such as air conditioners and coal-powered mugs of cocoa. To keep homes energy efficient and allergen free, the team of pros boasts rigorous training in the inspection, maintenance, and repair of a sprawling array of HVAC makes and models. With its 24-hour schedule, emergency repair service keeps even insomniac furnaces feeling healthy.
Since 1977, Alabama Professional Services has safeguarded homes against maladies that range from encroaching pests to damaged crawlspaces. Its licensed pest experts fend off critters such as ants, fleas, and rodents with an arsenal of baits, sprays, and traps. Using Sentricon or Termidor systems, they can even eradicate persistent termite colonies that would otherwise structurally damage homes or eat visitors’ wooden elbows.
The company’s home-improvement services extend beyond pest removal; with the CleanSpace crawlspace system, techs can reduce the humidity that causes mold to flourish. Their foundation leveling stabilizes homes, and their patio and fence installations save DIYers from a frequent fate: a patio built atop a quivering, bottomless pit.
Stocking lauded furniture brands, including Lloyd Flanders and Brown Jordan, the adept designers at Blackjack Gardens help chic-seeking customers find couches, chairs, and trimmings to outfit their roofless retreats. Among the extensive collection are simple and stylish sling seats such as the Crimson Casual Bayside chair ($159). The shop's array of accessories, including Vietri Aladdin outdoor silverware ($20–$99) and planters, primp patios. Deck dwellers will also find myriad ways to spruce up dining digs with seat-soothing cushions and Treasure Garden outdoor umbrellas, which offer protection from the harsh sun and privacy from the eavesdropping moon.
Horizons’ crack squad of bug squashers examines residential and commercial locations for infestations. After evicting roaches, ants, and couch-crashing college buddies from a home’s inside, technicians move outside to combat mosquitoes and snakes. They also treat the building’s perimeter, keeping future menaces at bay and identifying potential nooks and crannies that creepy crawlers can sneak through.
Painted By U caters to burgeoning artists and crafters of all ages in a studio that invites visitors to create fused glass works, paint ceramic bisques, or color blank canvases. After choosing their piece from a selection of more than 300 ceramic forms, walk-in artists can elect colors from a rainbow of glazes with which to paint mugs, tiles, and pieces of Atlantis. Meanwhile, a glittering array of glass pieces awaits selection as experts help artists fuse and slump their assemblages into vibrant silica masterpieces. The studio's collection of idea books, stencils, and stamps kindle artistic inspiration, while studio assistants lend tips and tricks to creators hard at work. Party-planners can rent out an activity room that accommodates up to 18 guests to forge art-filled birthdays, bridal showers, or ladies' nights.