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, dining-room furniture from top designers, including 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.
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.
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.
Doggie's Day Out cares for canines day and night with play areas, homey bedrooms, and resident groomers who clip nails and trim fur. Daycare rounds up pooches for group activities suited to individual energy levels, from agility climbing and jumping in a fenced-in yard, to lolling on wrought-iron beds with fluffy blankets in an indoor lounge. Overnight guests settle down in a supervised room whose beds and couches emulate a cozy home, with crates available for dogs that prefer them. Staffers bathe and groom hounds with premium products, and teach basic commands to puppies and novelty tricks to older dogs, such as how to unwrap their owners' Starbursts for them.
Scents from Oscar's Bakery waft through the complex as chefs whip up pooch-safe treats from natural ingredients, including cakes and confections for dog party packages. To ensure a safe, happy environment for four-legged friends, Doggie's Day Out requires that pups pass an evaluation to ensure their vaccinations are up-to-date and their temperaments are suited to playing name-game icebreakers with strangers.
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At Woodcraft of Nashville, a staff of experienced carpenters, cabinetmakers, engineers, and craftsfolk help customers infuse a rustic, handmade charm into their living spaces with a vast array of wood; hand and power tools; finishes; and manuals. An extensive schedule of classes teach curious do-it-yourselfers how to construct a dovetail joint, build everyday household objects, or work a table saw, and an arsenal of hardware keeps workshops stocked with band saws, lathes, sanders, and electric carvers.
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).