New black-owned furniture store among Houston home design news

Household goods stores are constantly opening and closing, expanding or downsizing. Changes can be big and sudden or more subtle and focused.

The push-pull of wanting new furniture but not being able to get it in a timely manner due to manufacturing and shipping issues has affected both merchants and their customers.

A year ago, London-based OKA opened OKA Houston in the home of a pop-up Wisteria store in western Alabama, while affordable homewares chain Ballard Designs opened in the former Gap location of the River Oaks Mall. CB2, West Elm and Lovesac all opened storefronts in Rice Village.

Other changes have been on the way in recent months, including Herman Miller opening a storefront in The Woodlands and Houston-based Wells Abbott expanding to theMART in Chicago.

Buyers can salute designer Joani Scaff’s tidy taste at her new Paisley House location in the hills, as they say hello to a new owner at Westheimer Plumbing and Hardware and say goodbye to Renovate in Spring Branch and RR Home at Houston Design. Center.

Fino Oasis

Launched from her staging and styling business, Erica Fleeks Mallet and her business partner, Terrance Williams have opened one of the city’s newest black-owned furniture stores, Oasis FINO, in the strip of retail next to Mosaic condo/apartment towers across from Hermann Parc.

Most of her career, Mallet worked in social services, but for years she sold furniture on the side. Eventually, it became a furniture staging and when she was delivering furniture to Williams – who had an empty apartment in Market Square Tower – he was struck by her enthusiasm and joined in her efforts.

Williams works in real estate and owns a trucking business. So you’ll sometimes find him delivering furniture, if that’s what you need on a given day.

Neither has formal training in interior design, but they filled a nearly 2,800 square foot showroom with mostly contemporary furniture and accessories. They also sell artwork provided by Bisong Art Gallery.

You’ll find beds from $2,000 to $10,000 and chairs from $250 to $2,500 and other furniture in a wide price range.

The store is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day except Monday.

Wells Abbott

Lauren Hudson, owner of Wells Abbott as well as Wells Textiles, Classic Cloth and Rose Cumming fabric lines, has branched out to Chicago’s theMART, formerly known as Merchandise Mart.

“Business is very robust, even with longer lead times,” Hudson said. “People are making changes and improving their homes and the designers are incredibly busy. I don’t see it slowing down. We had the best year we’ve ever had last year and this year is off to a good start.

Hudson said she sees the Midwest as an opportunity to introduce her textile lines — artisan and boutique fabrics — to new audiences in 13 states. Its Chicago showroom will be run by Robert Brass and although they are in temporary space there now, Hudson expects to be moved to its 2,200 square foot Chicago showroom in June.

Hudson bought Wells Design in 2015 and soon after bought the Ellouise Abbott furniture showroom from Betsie Weatherford — her neighbor in Houston’s Decorative Center — and renamed it Wells Abbott. In 2019, she purchased the Classic Cloth and Rose Cumming fabric lines. Wells Abbott also has a showroom in the Dallas Design Center.

Cashmere house

Joani Scaff had just signed a new lease for space for her Paisley House store at 2420 Washington Avenue when the pandemic hit. She had worked at Memorial since 2012 in a few locations and was interested in moving to the heights, which are becoming more interesting in residential, hotel and commercial spaces by the day.

What initially looked like bad luck – getting the keys to the new location on March 13, 2020 – turned out to be an interesting turn for his business.

She tailors inventory for a wider audience with a wider price range, carrying furniture, art, bedding, and a variety of home accessories. She’s also wearing wallpaper, which is almost impossible to find in a store right now.

Paisley House is closed Sunday and Monday, open 11am-6pm Tuesday-Thursday and 11am-5pm Saturday.

Westheimer plumbing and hardware

This Upper Kirby business, known for its high-end plumbing and hardware fixtures, has changed hands, with longtime owners Marilyn and Bob Hermance and their son, Doug, selling to employee Stephen Waguespack.

Years ago, Marilyn owned a business called Custom Accessories (founded in 1977) while Bob and Doug started Westheimer Plumbing in 1991. When she joined their business two years later, they renamed it Westheimer Plumbing and Hardware and it has become one of the best places for builders, architects, and interior designers looking for sleek, well-made plumbing fixtures and hardware. (It is also open to the public.)

Marilyn met Waguespack several years ago when he was a waiter at Tony Mandola and she was so impressed with his attitude and service that she hired him. He was then a US Army veteran – with two tours in Iraq – trying to figure out what his path would be.

“Marilyn told me I was the best server she ever had and asked if I had ever thought of doing something different,” Waguespack said, telling the story of her transition from waiter at plumbing salesman. “I said ‘Everyday, I love the bar but I’d rather not go home smelling like this.'”

Eight years later, he is now the owner of the company founded by the Hermances. He said he will continue to carry brands such as Dornbracht, Sigma, Hansgrohe and Newport Brass, and will soon be attending industry shows to see what new collections to add.

Renovate

This mother-daughter shop filled with home decor and gifts has closed, citing a mix of changing life priorities.

Cathy Hutton and her daughter, Courtney Prochaska, opened their shop in Spring Branch over seven years ago with an interesting mix of products not often found in department stores. They provided a venue for local artists and artisans and were popular with interior designers.

Hutton is also an interior designer and will continue to assist these clients. Otherwise, they say they are exploring new opportunities. Stay tuned for what comes next from these energetic and creative women.

RR Home

Interior designer Rainey Richardson is closing his RR Home furniture showroom at the Houston Design Center, selling in-stock furniture for 30-50% off. She expects to be out of space from early to mid-April.

Richardson opened the store five years ago as Off White, with an all-off-white fabric furniture showroom. Not only was white furniture popular at the time, but it was also a way to market furniture as a blank canvas, so customers could imagine what it would look like with the fabric of their choice.

A few years ago, it rebranded itself as RR Home and ditched the off-white theme, as houses filled with color are more in line with its design style.

Richardson cited supply chain difficulties and said his company – Rainey Richardson Interiors – would move to another, smaller Design Center location next to Kitchen and Bath Concepts. There, she and her staff, which includes her husband and business partner Tom Richardson, will focus on continuing her interior design business while amplifying their custom home specs and renovations.

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