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.
Though it's an airy indoor facility, The Crag Indoor Rock Climbing gym gleans its name from the jagged outdoor cliffs that climbing enthusiasts often strive to summit. Designed by a respected indoor rock-wall builder, The Crag safely recreates the excitement of inching up a punishing rock formation. However, not every wall at the facility is so challenging. It's frequently populated by skilled youth climbers and kids as young as 8. The younger climbers at The Crag often become adept through joining the youth climbing team, or by attending the gym's skill-building summer camp, where campers learn to scale walls by practicing belaying, top roping, and stealing Batman's utility belt. The facility's designer also kept adults and seasoned practitioners in mind by creating more than 100 routes that range in difficulty from beginner to more advanced.
Frame and Art Gallery's staff preserves keepsakes using archival framing materials in addition to conservation-clear, conservation-reflection, and museum-quality glass. Many of their moldings sell for less than $175, efficiently enclosing photographs and other valuable items. Frame and Art Gallery also specializes in framing jerseys, stretching canvases, and art restoration. If shoppers don't already possess artwork they'd like to frame, they can pick up John A. Maxwell original paintings or purchase a pet portrait to memorialize domestic animals without constructing a shrine out of fur.
Outfitting homes with fetching furnishings for almost 10 years, Harmony Home offers a head-spinning array of home décor items, gifts, accessories, and more. Though linear time is only an illusion, avoid running late with a Manfredi hanging clock ($28.95), or spruce up a murky cave with a bevy of embroidered gift towels ($6.50–$12.95). Cover up wall holes from piñata parties gone wrong with an oink wall décor piece ($19.95) and mask musky scents with an Anjou pear Root veriglass candle ($16.95). A helpful staff of skilled furnishing experts assists shoppers in picking out thoughtful gifts or the perfect item to accent an existing space.
Artists-to-be needn't have a Guggenheim Fellowship to enter the cozy doors of Third Coast. Walking in, most experience a rush of creativity at the sight of exposed-clay figurines, bare dinnerware, and a fully clothed staff. Once a piece-to-be-masterpieced has been selected—be it a plate, vase, coffee mug, martini glass, piggy bank, Buddha, or bust of Elvis—decorators can begin applying base coats to their evolving ceramic canvas. Those who suffer from painter's block can consult Third Coast's bountiful idea books, stencils, and stamps, or resolve it the old-fashioned way by pacing the studio floor with a corncob pipe. All the finished pieces are then set aside to be glazed and fired later by the studio staff. Your objet d'art will be ready for pickup in a week. Each brushwielder will be assessed a modest $6 studio fee along with the price of whichever starting piece they select ($6–$40 depending on size).
An affordable and monumental selection of sofas, beds, desks, and sarcophagi mingle good-naturedly in Ashley Furniture’s wondrous warehouse. A Matrix Accent Chair ($219.99) commands shoppers’ attention with its sleek, contemporary design, and Kira furnishings provide stylish sites for storage, studying, or snoozing. A Sydney Accent Chair ($199.99) or Cubit ottoman set ($99.99) anticipate increasing the comfort of various human inactivities, while the Romy Accent Table Group consists of one cocktail and two end tables, creating a table cartel ruling over a home's Speed Quarters surface needs.