Country Marketplace’s carpentry connoisseurs revive cheery images of classic designs with contemporary handcrafted solid-wood furniture and accessories. Homeowners can hang their hats on a solid-cherry coat tree or dress it as a friend to make parties seem well attended ($99). Race around the office atop the heavy-duty casters of a carved-oak pressback desk chair ($199), or set to work at an antique oak roll-top desk equipped with a pencil tray and an organizer ($449). Young furniture users can dine in an oak Windsor highchair ($149) or chomp bubble pipes and whittle new pacifiers in a Victorian child's rocker ($99).
Since 1923, Granite City Electric has illuminated local dwellings with high-quality interior and exterior lighting fixtures. Customers perusing one of the four showrooms or the online store can ogle a plethora of Norwell lighting fixtures, including the Onion Collection of outdoor enhancers. Stylishly light a dim patio with cottage onion wall ($81.23 for the small) or classic onion wall ($116.96 for the small, $151.62 for the medium) fixtures, or install a cottage onion post ($107.80) to shower backyard plants with artificial light while the sun takes its after-dinner snooze. To help homeowners navigate the confusing world of illumination, Granite City Electric employs a seasoned showroom team that can show customers the latest trends in lighting design as well as design lighting layouts.
The furniture business has changed quite a bit in the more than three decades since Ken Silva founded Plymouth Furniture. Particleboard has replaced hardwood, and machines have, in some cases, taken over the duties of skilled craftspeople. Despite this, Silva and his son—vice president and director Randy Silva—have created and maintained a five-story gallery full of American-made furniture crafted from North American wood, often by the children and grandchildren of the men and women they represented 30 years ago. The store is a bastion of tradition, where staffers—usually family members—greet returning customers by name. While Ken recognizes the importance of showcasing their furniture online, he would rather you come by and sit on one of their sofas to experience firsthand the subtle smoothness of the leather, the comforting heft of the kiln-dried frame, and the durability of the eight-way hand-tied springs.
In keeping with the company's focus on quality, Randy shared his expertise with Shaunna Gately of the The Patriot Ledger, suggesting that buyers look for a hardwood frame, polyurethane-foam cushions with a high density rating, and a flow-matched pattern that continues fluidly over contours and panels. The family team also offers an in-home design service, putting together the ideal dining room or finding a lamp to match the blue-green face of a food-poisoned family member.
The staff of teachers and artists at Weirdgirl Creations helps customers up-level their creativity every day. Prices begin at $3 and range to over $400, but the massive selection of more than 200 pieces of pottery ensures that a fitting selection is available for any budding Pablo Picasso or Dan Quayle. There are no special skills or equipment required to decorate a bowl, plate, or any other ceramic that catches the eye, so walk-ins are welcome. Lead-free, non-staining glazes are available in a wide spectrum of colors and a variety of varietals, including sparkle, high-gloss, and high-fire look-crystal glaze.