In the past couple weeks I have introduced you to two very different locally owned stores in our city , and today we go in another totally different direction.
Last week, I met with co-owner, Randy Williamson, who so graciously spent a hour with me, sharing about the history of the business and its mission. This was only days before he was to leave for a week in Europe, shopping for those just-right treasures to meet the needs of several of his clients.
Designer's Showroom was first opened in 1950 by his parents, Don & Norma Williamson. Norma was a very well known interior designer in the ArkLaTex area and was the matriarch of the business. In 1976 the small design firm moved to Shreveport. The present beautiful Showroom was completed in 2001 and the business has continued to flourish.
Randy and his brother, Guy currently own the business with their sister, Sherry as a silent partner.
They have five registered interior designers on staff and one design consultant. They specialize in doing architectural interior design, creating timeless environments in residential and commercial interiors.
The goal of the business is to create perfect surroundings to compliment the life of each individual client.
Now step with me into this amazing 13,500 sq. ft space filled with antiques dating as far back as the 15th century as well as items as current as the 20th century. They also specialize in early church pieces, usually acquired from churches and monasteries destroyed during WWII.
Designer's Showroom specializes in European, French, Belgium and Italian furniture.
As you can see from the picture above as well as other pictures below, they carry some of the most unique lighting. All of the chandeliers are old, some having been candle pieces from the 18th century. Some are gas from the 19th century, and many are 20th century fixtures that have been refurbished on sight. They will purchase from 60 to 100 French bronze, iron, and crystal chandeliers a year. Each is hand selected by the owners themselves.
This elegant bronze chandelier was a gas fixture that has been converted to electricity. If you look closely, you will see where the gas connection was at one time.
Randy explained that every item in the Showroom has a story.
Let me share with you some of these delightful stories.
This amazing statue, "Madonna on the Rocks," which greets all entering guests, is an adaptation of the original painting by Leonardo da Vinci which hangs in the Louvre. There are only two statues in existence and the European Rothschild family owns the other.
This magnificent small Bonnetaire wardrobe came from the heart of France and dates back to the late 18th century. This picture does not do justice to the ornately carved door and fine wood finish.
This is a priceless historical item! It dates back to 1634. It is a battle map of the War of Arras between the French and Spanish, which determined the future of France. Randy explained, had it not been for this strategic map, France could now be speaking Spanish.
These huge banners are from the early 19th century. They are painted canvas which were sewn onto the long banners and came from Flanders in South Belgium, near Waterloo. They are 150 years old. The detail and preservation is amazing.
This was a Trumeau panel from a wall of like design. It is actually 104" tall. Can you imagine the room this might have come from?
The tapestry below came from an estate in Belgium. The muted colors are still so vibrant.
Randy had this contemporary American table made using flooring from an old building in Chicago. Picture the Thanksgiving gathering around this table!
I love this piece!
It is a St. Hubert piece, called a Hunter's Buffet after the Patron Saint of the Hunt. Notice the details relating to the hunt in this antique piece.
This is a Buffet DuCorp made out of Walnut and Chestnut. It came from a convent and is 300 to 350 years old. Notice the design on the key panel. This wonderful old piece can be had for $3996.
Now, this is a bit of a change of pace from the older wooden items. It is a painted iron bed frame from the Art Deco period of the 1920's. The painted crane on the head board is accented with Mother of Pearl. Isn't this a delightful piece for a little girl's room?
Being award winning designers, they work directly with architects, builders and clients who select personal items around which many of the houses are designed.
This pair of terra cot-ta urns was found in a Paris flea market.
Another specialty are architectural antique doors, columns, and fireplaces.
There are so many great original works of art throughout the Showroom. I hope you will enjoy visiting some of the room groupings as much as I did. There is so much to see!
They have chests and buffets for all discriminating tastes.
I will close with a few accessories that offer a touch of elegance to a room and particularly caught my eye.
If you are building, decorating, in the market for fine furnishings, or just want advice, please call or contact the friendly, professional decorators at Designer's Showroom.