EUROPEAN FLAIR

BY LESLIE J. THOMPSON | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

Once best known for oil barons and longhorn steer, Dallas has morphed into a cosmopolitan mecca that boasts world-class restaurants and a thriving arts scene. Luxury high-rises and residential lofts pepper the urban landscape, attracting young professionals who are embracing big-city living in the heart of Texas. The changing demographics and a booming local economy also made the Big D the perfect location to launch Euro Living Furniture, an ultramodern retail showroom dedicated almost exclusively to Italian and Scandinavian home furnishings.

“I partnered with a gentleman in Orlando, Florida, who wanted to get into the Dallas market and see how it works,” explains Syed Akbar, who manages the day-to-day operations of the business while his partner oversees Euro Living’s original South Florida showroom. Together, they transformed a one-time NAPA Auto Parts store on Harry Hines Boulevard into a glistening, airy space filled with sleek furniture for every room in the house, along with lighting, rugs and artwork by local artists.

“We cleaned it up and painted it ourselves,” says Akbar of the Dallas store, which celebrated its one-year anniversary this August. “It took a lot of elbow grease.”

With close proximity to the Design District and views of the Infomart, the showroom is optimally situated to attract residents from both uptown and downtown Dallas. A steady stream of shoppers also speaks to the growing popularity of central Dallas as a place to live and not just work. “There was nothing much here in downtown 15 years ago. I’m glad to see a lot of movement,” says Akbar, who has lived in the area for more than two decades.

The city’s growth also has generated high demand for the type of lustrous, high-quality pieces that Euro Living offers. Just inside the entrance, a white Italian leather sectional sofa by IDP frames an iconic glass and chrome rectangular coffee table. Nearby, four barrel-shaped walnut-finish chairs surround a matching Skovby dining table with a mesmerizing patented expansion system. Against the wall, a king-size platform bed by Alf Italia features built-in LED lights that create a soft glow around the high-gloss headboard. Throughout the showroom, each vignette features well-made modern furnishings that beckon shoppers to touch, feel and sit.

Euro Living Furniture specializes in mid-range pieces that demonstrate exceptional craftsmanship, notes Akbar. “They will last years and years, and not give you any problems,” he says. The store carries close to 70 different lines, not all of which fit on the showroom floor. “We have a lot more products, which we show on our website, and we have catalogs from our vendors. We can show you contemporary, we can show you mid-century modern or all types of styles, and we cater to all price points.”

Because most of the European vendors have warehouses in the United States, the average delivery time is two to three weeks, although special orders can take up to 12 weeks. Delivery fees are reduced or waived for customers who live close by in the metroplex, and Euro Living can arrange white glove delivery service to the customer’s door for buyers outside the area, or even out of state. Euro Living also sells off the floor, often at a steep discount, and offers special packages for designers. Says Akbar, “If somebody likes something and they want it right then, we don’t turn them away.”

While longhorn steer may have once roamed the undeveloped land of Dallas, they have had to make way for urbanization and modernization. Euro Living Furniture is on the forefront of providing furnishings for the uptown urban dweller, and it’s excited about the future with the construction of so many new luxury high-rise residences, which just keep growing and growing.

Leslie J.Thompson is a Dallas-based freelance writer with a passion for interior design.