Simplified Designs founder Melissa Airey Perkins lends a keen eye to interior design, comfort, and functionality as she spruces up living spaces. Transparently self-conscious windows can boost self-esteem with help from Simplified Designs' Hunter Douglas line, a selection of custom window treatments that assuage ailing wall-holes. The Hunter Douglas 2-inch alternative wood blinds, in either 30"x30" ($143) or 36"x36" ($176), deliver a streamlined wooden covering that blurs the line between blinds and shutters. Airy apartments or overheated hovels can find relief with the 3/4-inch Duette honeycomb shade, which traps heat and cold in three separate internal air-pockets and is available in both 30"x30" ($230) and 36"x36" ($256). Cater to safety with the Hunter Douglas LiteRise, a cordless operation mechanism designed for children's rooms and the string-phobic. Simplified Designs’ regularly priced products include a full line of fabrics and furniture to fill out barren homes.
Neo Interiors looks for modernity in both form and function, culling furniture with contemporary shapes that also boast multi-functionality. Shoppers travel throughout a 15,000-square-foot showroom, alighting on pieces imported from Italy, Belgium, and Spain. The large and ever-changing inventory hails from approximately 15 distributors, each of which represents anywhere from 10 to 20 manufacturers. All-purpose design pops up everywhere, from updated takes on the sleeper sofa to wall-mounted storage units, whose glossy drop-down doors double as a makeshift bar or a stage for impromptu puppet shows. Italian Magniflex mattresses wrap soy-based memory foam in linen or organic cotton covers, some of which feature reversible designs that alternate between soft and firm support. Eco-friendly elements also ignite the shop's selection of freestanding bio ethanol fireplaces, whose smoke-free flames are powered by fuel harvested from grains and potatoes instead of gas, electricity, or magic spells.
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.
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.
With more than 70 years of color combination experience, Economy Paint Supply distributes liquid chromatics and provides custom stain matching, in-home consultations, and equipment rentals. The paint shop furnishes a host of habitat enhancements including Benjamin Moore paints ($27.99+ per gallon), wallpaper ($16.99+ per roll), single-roll carpets ($12.99+ per square yard), and window treatments ($200+ per window). Flinging a can of reddish royal flush or lagoon-like Lucerne at a living room’s backdrop can give walls a sense of newfound pride and astonish nearby floors and ceilings. Customers can also peruse a free in-store copy of Envision Color 2011, which highlights the palettes—soulful, spirited, dreamy, and phantasmagoric—comprising Benjamin Moore’s annual paint trends.
In the mid 1960s, Murray and Ida Rotman gave the family name to their growing furniture and carpeting business, confident that it would hold employees accountable and remind them to interact with customers as one community member to another. Throughout multiple expansions and a change from the "7 Stores on 5 Floors Under 1 Roof" slogan to "New England's Largest Furniture and Carpet Store," the Rotman family has stayed true to its promise of treating people with honesty and respect. According to Furniture Today, the National Home Furnishings Association named the company a Retailer of the Year in 2011, remarking on its "outstanding customer service and involvement in community services and activities." To that end, the Rotmans have helped raise $1 million for the local Walk for the Homeless, and cofounded a furniture-exchange program that allows customers to donate their gently used furniture to a family in need.
The award-winning business owes its success not only to a commitment to core values, but to an eye-popping assortment of furniture, mattresses, and televisions—all arranged in curated displays that inspire home-decorating ideas and make people believe they’re in a house built for a hundred families. The helpful staff measures and installs carpeting or flooring and fleshes out creative plans with the design-a-room service: a free in-home consultation with a computerized analysis. The store also stays ahead of the latest industry trends and innovations, offering, for example, pieces from Paula Deen’s furniture line and budget-friendly clearance deals in a space known as the Attic.