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.
Since 1994, the family owners of Dream Catchers have stocked mattresses from the likes of Serta and Gold Bond alongside furnishings for every room of the home. For customers who don't own a large-enough wheelbarrow, Dream Catchers can deliver its wares directly to their doorsteps.
Imex Furniture supplies everything needed to furnish a home, from furniture basics to stylish accents. The company's specialists set up home-living scenes with armchairs, sofas, beds, and tables by makers such as Vaughan-Bassett and Restonic, making it easy to see how each piece will fit into the home. Shoppers can also personalize living spaces with mirrors, lamps, and artwork made by having high-definition photography printed onto canvas using the giclée technique.
At Art & Soul Gallery Studio, Lis-el and Alexis Crowley lead casual art classes in a space brimming with creations by local artists. In the studio, the artists demonstrate steps in crafting items such as fused-glass pieces and painted scarves. Students follow along during class sessions, eventually bringing pieces into existence with their own individual flair and burgeoning telekinetic powers. After class, students can decamp to the gallery for a glimpse of other’s work or pop into a comfortable lounge for sips of coffee or tea.
If you traveled back through time and asked strangers for tours of their homes, you'd probably get a good idea of the aesthetic style prevalent in each era. But you could also gain that knowledge in a simpler way: by heading to South Windsor Antique Boutique, where owners Mary and Ken Langevin have been amassing antiques and refurbishing furniture for more than 10 years. They stock items from dozens of decades, with pieces from the 1800s as well as modern designs. In addition to nabbing larger furniture pieces, shoppers can add personality to rooms with artwork, collectible advertisements, and glassware by designers such as Waterford and Heisey.
Over the course of 20 years, family-operated Just Like New has inspected apparel, accessories, and home furnishings from thousands of consigners, accepting only the pieces that meet strict quality and style standards. At the start of each fashion season, the family treks to New York City to gather enough designer duds to restock two 5,000-square-foot locations. Clothing, shoes, and accessories by classic brands such as Coach and Ann Taylor adorn shelves and keep mannequins from being charged with public indecency, and a children's section outfits youngsters in apparel purchased exclusively from catalog brands and specialty stores. Just Like New's jewelry selection glitters with 14-karat gold and sterling silver; vintage and costume jewelry occasionally makes the cut by way of jingling the shop owners' favorite songs. Vintage glassware, furniture, and artwork make unique design accents for the home.