Many have come to expect the rising costs and shipping delays that stemmed from the pandemic, especially when it comes to home goods. Now local sources share some encouraging news along with alternative solutions when shopping for furniture and décor.
While custom upholstered pieces still tend to have long lead times, Jackie Schwartz, owner of Home Interior Warehouse in Walled Lake and Plymouth, says some companies have improved. In the meantime, she says artwork, accessories, lamps and mirrors that are ready to go can do a lot for a home when waiting for custom orders that might be delayed.
“People are learning to not wait until the last minute when they really want what they want,” she says. “At the end of the day, it’s worth the wait, even though it’s frustrating.”
Accent furniture is easy to find, from end tables and chests, to credenzas and chairs. Signing up for email notifications can keep customers informed about other opportunities like floor samples that are available on occasion.
Personalized or not, there are better options now. “With custom pieces, the wait is not as bad as it was a year ago, and you get what you really want,” says Schwartz. “There is also so much in stock like all the extras that make a room great and seasonal décor.”
Reimagining what you have can be another solution with sources like Daviddi Antiques in Farmington Hills, where they repair and refinish wood furniture. As co-owner William Daviddi explains, they work with pieces damaged by moving companies, auction houses, disaster restoration, family heirlooms and antiques dealers.
They also do some reupholstering and have a showroom open to the public featuring their own collection of vintage and antique pieces available for purchase. Current selections include artwork, clocks, lamps, tables and chairs that tend to lean toward Baroque styles. “They are a little bit fancy, but a lot of decorators look for that statement piece,” he says.
“Our specialty is true antiques, the older the better,” adds Daviddi who saw an increase in sales and their services during the pandemic. “With people working from home, they wanted to finally fix that scratch on the table in their workspace. When there were six-month wait times, we also sold a lot of desks and the chairs to go with them.”
“People began to appreciate antiques that they hadn’t considered before,” he adds.
Customers also took a closer look at what they owned. “People would say they knew they had a good quality table, but they never loved it,” says Daviddi. “We can give them an estimate to change the color and refinish the piece and put it back to its former glory. When they see the finished product in its restored state, they’re very happy that they did it. When people see the results, they are amazed.”
Historical pieces from their showroom include a sofa from the Fisher Mansion that they sold, then upholstered and restored for a customer. Other unique pieces they worked on include wood airplane propeller blades now intended for décor.
Daviddi has seen quite a few steamer trunks and hope chests come out of storage in customers’ homes. “People are using them as coffee tables,” he says. “We fix them up so they can put them right in front of the sofa.”
Estimates can be provided based on photos along with an approximate turnaround time. A delivery service is also available for a fee. There is an added bonus to their business. “By restoring and reselling pieces, we are keeping them out of landfills,” Daviddi says.
At Bright Ideas Furniture in Royal Oak, co-owner Dave Dilley says their biggest delays are for custom upholstered pieces like sofas and chairs. Still, he has seen significant improvements from some manufacturers like American Leather where manufacturing lead times for sleeper sofas went from around 26 weeks at one point down to four weeks for custom orders, which would equal around eight weeks to the consumer.
In some cases, freight continues to cause additional costs and delays.
On any given day, between their Royal Oak store and their clearance center in Southfield, Dilley says they may have around 40 or 50 sofas for customers to purchase and take home. “In the fall of 2020, when we realized there were shortages of furniture, we picked some of our bestsellers and bought one to show and one to go,” he says. “We keep one in our showroom and one in our warehouse.”
Office chairs are in high demand and readily available. “People are working from home and we do not have long wait times,” says Dilley. “We stock about seven or eight office chairs from our most popular brand that has a U.S. warehouse, so in one to two weeks, consumers can get lots of options like heated and cooled seats and chairs that vibrate or have colored wheels.”
Requests for recliners also remain strong. “People are still sitting at home watching more TV and wanting more comfort,” he says. “Most of our manufacturers have quick-ship programs and are U.S. based.”
Most of their clearance center inventory can go home with the customer that day. “Some are floor models, but we also buy discounted models from manufacturers because our floor model inventory has been so low,” says Dilley.
Yellow Dog Marketplace in Clarkston offers antique and vintage pieces along with handcrafted items for the home that are ready to go. “We mix vintage props with new cool retail,” says owner Marla Sanford who displays bigger items like antique and vintage furniture in a space next door.
Sanford believes more people should consider unique pieces like antiques. “Why do you need everything to look brand new?” she says. “They just add character.”
From old garden statues to upholstered dining chairs, these pieces can be more affordable than new finds. “They might have a little scratch, but to me that’s the beauty of it,” she says. “With vintage, it’s great to have a little bit of wear.”
Sanford recalls a red lacquered vintage bench someone purchased for a front porch. “Pieces like that have that pop of color and age and character,” she says. “It can be an old mannequin or a vintage bookcase with a little bit of history. If you find something you really love, then this is the time to buy it.” No freight costs or wait times required.
Rita O’Brien, owner and principal of Rita O’Brien Interiors, recently opened a 2,000-square-foot showroom at Michigan Design Center in Troy where items are meant to go home the same day they are sold. Open to the trade and the public, the showroom also carries upholstered pieces like sofas that are readily available or can be customized with a shorter lead time with select fabrics.
“Things are getting much better and case goods, such as lamps and accessories are ready to go along with sofas, chairs and ottomans, and work by local artists,” says O’Brien. Another plus: “The inventory keeps turning over because you can buy everything right off the floor.”
Jeanine Matlow writes the Smart Solutions column in Homestyle. You can reach her at [email protected].
- Bellevue’s Waterwise Garden is a living showcase of planting ideas to cope with climate change
- A primer on changing the color of hydrangeas – Daily Press
- How Denver gardeners can support food security by donating produce
- Finding gardening inspiration: Theatre West Garden Walk shows off unique gardens, native plants | Education
- Weekend shopping for home and garden