SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

BY JEFF HAMPTON | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

Every visit to Dulce Interior Consignment Showplace is a fresh experience because the selection is always changing. But quality and service never go out of style, and keeping those two ideals at the forefront ensures there is always something for everyone.

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s an expensive piece or not. The most important thing is the design and the quality,” says co-owner Jorge Fernandez. “That means we have merchandise for all pockets—deep pockets and light pockets.”

Fernandez and partner Simon Veeren opened the consignment shop on Oak Lawn Avenue in 2001 with a focus on mid-century modern and contemporary furniture, art and furnishings. They’ve held tight to that strategy, leaving traditional furniture to other dealers while making room for vintage pieces from the ’70s and ’80s.

“We still focus on clean lines,” says Fernandez.

And Veeren adds, “For example, we avoid sofas with rolled arms.”

That is immediately evident when one steps through the front doors of Dulce’s 4,300-square-foot showroom. Furniture and furnishings are arranged for maximum impact, with some pieces standing on their own and some complementing one another. Part of that is artistic staging, and part is necessity.

“We don’t have a warehouse. What you see is what you get,” says Veeren.

Even so, Dulce’s displays are not static; the mix is constantly changing as consigners move and downsize their homes and as buyers’ interests change.

Styles currently trending include natural woods and stone as well as ethnic designs and handmade and custom-made pieces.

Fernandez says “cocooning” appears to be driving the market for sofas and chairs. “The trend is for comfortable, upholstered fabrics and leather,” he says.

“Gold is becoming popular again, but we aren’t going back to that,” says Veeren, laughing. In fact, Dulce’s focus on vintage pieces from the ’70s and ’80s means customers will see more brass and silver among the offerings.

A trend evident in Dulce’s displays is the blending of contemporary and antique pieces to create a warm feel and the mixing of patterns to create dynamic spaces.

“For instance, you put in a sofa with a symmetric pattern and then a rug to complement it that is a completely different pattern but still with straight lines—symmetric and asymmetric— but you play with them,” says Fernandez.

Art lovers will find that Dulce is also a gallery, with walls and partitions covered with original art, lithographs, numbered prints and giclées from renowned artists—Chagall, Matisse and Carrington, among others—as well as original works consigned by the artists themselves.

“We’ve been working with local artists and not with just paintings. We have sculptures. We have artists who work with reclaimed wood and are making benches, consoles and coffee tables that have all the beauty of the distressed wood,” says Fernandez.

One craftsman they currently feature creates pieces from flooring pulled from trains and semitrailers. “The pieces are amazing looking. The quality is awesome. That is something new that we are showing,” says Veeren. They also have plenty of steampunk lamps and sculptures by Ivan Alkhazaschvilly and found-item sculptures by Texas artists Jeremiah Bova.

Dulce’s dynamic website keeps everything up to date for customers who can’t visit on a regular basis or who have a wish list of items they are looking for. What’s more, a recent upgrade to the site allows customers not only to browse, but also to shop and pay online and schedule deliveries.

Whether a regular customer or a first-time visitor, everyone gets the same Dulce treatment. “We always try to give freedom to the customers,” says Fernandez “We greet them—that is important—and we offer our help, but we don’t like to be behind them trying to push them to buy something. When they need our help, we are happy to help and answer questions. In general, our goal is to offer an incredible inventory and great customer service. That is the key. You can have great merchandise, but if you don’t have customer service, then it doesn’t work.”

Jeff Hampton is a freelance writer based in Garland, Texas. Find out more at jeffhamptonwriter.com.