Experienced framers Barry Stahl and Bob Clayton built Big Picture Framing from scratch in 2000, holding meetings around an old card table as construction roared around them. Today, framers at 15 area locations craft custom frames to display artwork, photographs, and record sleeves, and shadow boxes protect three-dimensional items such as ballet slippers, macaroni art, or a swarm of wasps. Patrons can dictate all design choices, choosing from metal and wooden frames in a multitude of colors and styles, or ask for recommendations from one of Big Picture Framing's resident experts. Big Picture Framing also stocks pre-framed art, prints, and posters to spruce up bare-walled homes or a drab doghouse.
Alan J. Gardner opened his Salem factory in 1933, winning over generations of loyal customers with custom-made and odd-sized mattresses in a wide range of styles. Massachusetts-made pallets support sleepers with hand tufted construction and fluffy cotton fillings catered specifically to each client's specifications. The company's direct manufacturer-to-customer supply chain erases the influence of bothersome middlemen or arrogant, cigar-chomping mattress barons. Sleepers select from a variety of comfy cushion styles, such as latex, plush top, tufted, or pocket coils, with options for all-natural materials such as Joma wool and layers of thick cotton-knit fabric.
At Abodeon, functionality and fashion happily coincide. That's because the curators, husband and wife team Dale and Terri Anderson, call on their extensive art and design backgrounds to stock their store. The result is a bounty of vintage and current housewares that aren’t just pretty little things, but play an important role in whatever space they inhabit. Vintage lounge chairs mingle with teak salad sets and tree-shaped pepper mills, creating a showroom that inspires homeowners' imaginations like an attic door that says “Monsterworld.” The Andersons constantly replenish their store with vintage finds and housewares from local and international designers, allowing clients to come back to a new selection with every visit.
For more than half a century, Mill Stores has dispensed an enormous array of high quality, ready-to-finish wood furniture and accents to enhance homestead comfort. As a factory-finished solid-oak rocker ($249.99) supports reclining spines, a three-step stool ($19.77), crafted from solid eastern white pine, aids customers in accessing difficult to reach shelves filled with stashes of candy and bacon fat. Stockpile bottles of grapey goodness in a solid wood Tuscany wine box ($39.99) or artfully arrange CDs and DVDs in the sliding separators of a solid pine rack ($23.99). A shingled-roof doghouse ($179.99) shelters canines in safe, cozy pine, and a cast-stone scroll birdbath ($49.88) cleanses neighboring loons and fallen airplane peanuts in its stylish cement surface. Shoppers unable to find their desired décor in stock can request customized designs, which Mill Stores crafts in two weeks or less.
Since 1976, Framers' Workshop has set treasured art, photos, and memorabilia within comely, carefully constructed borders. The shop's staff welcomes all framing challenges, unfazed by any size project involving original art, textiles, sports jerseys, or captured space-pilot smugglers. In addition to custom framing, there are 10 do-it-yourself workstations where you can build your own frames from scratch, either with store materials or with your own. Staff members remain on-call for queries by do-it-yourselfers, and will help correct any framing mistakes.