UPPING THEIR GAME

BY JEFF HAMPTON | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

A year after opening its doors on Oak Lawn Avenue, Living Modern Furnishings & Design is raising the bar on quality and design in Dallas’ home furnishings market.

“We have dramatically upped our offerings,” says Evan Gerstein, who owns and operates the 7,500-square-foot showroom with his wife, Norma. “When we first opened, our mission was to offer great designed products at mid-range prices.”

“In a year and a half, we’ve listened to our customers and learned what they are asking for,” says Norma. “And what they are asking for is fine modern furniture that still is accessibly priced but has that added touch of quality and prestige.”

The Gersteins—who both were raised in the interior design and furniture trade and have been in the showroom business since 2003—have responded by adding five Italian lines and two prestigious American-made lines to their already rich selection of modern furniture and home furnishings.

Living Modern is offering, straight from Italy, home furnishings by Nicoline Italy, Dall’Agnese Spa and Tonin Casa, all purchased by container, ensuring the best possible pricing. The Gersteins have the only showroom in Dallas offering these brands in stock for immediate delivery. These prolific Italian manufacturers add considerably to their collections of sofas, sectionals, occasional tables, beds, dining tables, side tables, coffee tables, sideboards, shelving and wall units.

Perhaps of greatest interest to new and returning customers are Living Modern’s newest selections from iconic U.S. manufacturers Thayer Coggin and American Leather.

Founded in the 1940s and renowned for its high-quality traditional furniture, Thayer Coggin made a bold move in 1953 and began making furniture from the iconic modern designer Milo Baughman. Today, 70 years later, the company is very successfully run by Coggin’s daughter, Royale Wiggins. Living Modern has one of the most extensive selections of their Baughman-inspired designs in Dallas. “We are one of the few showrooms in the country to have a Thayer Coggin gallery,” says Evan.

Also new in the showroom are pieces by Dallas-based American Leather, which designs and manufactures leather and non-leather pieces, including what Evan considers the best sleeper sofa on the market, the comfort sleeper. What’s unprecedented is that American Leather can make any of their pieces in any leather or upholstery they offer in 30 days or less. Living Modern’s in-shop design studio is set up to help customers explore and select the look and material they want.

While Living Modern’s new offerings are generating excitement in the market, the showroom still offers plenty from its existing lines—some 80 vendors, sourced from all over the world and representing the best names in modern furniture, lighting, accessories, area rugs and art. What’s more, the showroom offers something that is very rare in the business: true one-stop shopping. If you see it on the floor, you can have it in your home or office the same day, creating instant gratification.

“In the custom business, sometimes showrooms get in trouble with service. They can’t deliver in a timely manner,” says Evan. “We are very diligent at logistics and that is where one of our core strengths is. We work exclusively with White Glove Delivery, which provides top-notch receiving, storage and delivery services to our valued customers.”

While Living Modern’s current business consists of a healthy mix of the trade and walk-in customers, the Gersteins are working hard to draw more interior designers to the showroom with their top-quality service, exclusive collections and competitive pricing. Because of its logistical expertise and dependable vendor relationships, Living Modern doesn’t charge the trade for shipping, receiving, unpacking, assembly or storage.

Meanwhile, the Gersteins expect the demand for high-quality modern pieces to only increase.

“Modern furniture fits well as the size of the living environment gets smaller,” says Evan. “People want to simplify and they want clean lines. People want things on a smaller scale.”

Living Modern Furnishings & Design is ready to deliver on that trend.

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