Not long ago, the area west of Howell Mill Road was a true industrial district, with just a couple of fabric stores to draw suburban shoppers. No one even knew what to call it—Westside? West Midtown? Howell Mill District? But now it’s a thriving design destination, with a wealth of resources that draw professionals as well as retail customers.
Many of the shops are tucked along side streets and are easy to overlook, so we asked designer Teri Duffy to take us to a few of her favorite haunts. “Westside has become another designer mecca,” says Duffy. “Atlanta is kind of like New York: We have our different pockets of resources.”
With national chains like Room & Board, the Shade Store, and Ballard Designs, the neighborhood has a retail bent that demands fast delivery. “I have a lot of clients who are into immediate gratification,” says Duffy with a laugh. “Westside is my quick go-to. I know I can find things in stock.”
However, Duffy’s primary reason for shopping the Westside is its unique mix. “It’s a great place to find creative products that are not at your typical showrooms,” she says. Stores like Steve McKenzie’s and Atlanta Made specialize in handcrafted furnishings, many produced right here in Atlanta. There’s even a growing group of artisans—such as Myott Studio (framing), Andrew T. Crawford (iron sculptor), and Skylar Morgan (furniture designer)—whose studios are here.
“The list goes on and on,” says Duffy. “I didn’t know where to stop.”
1) Kolo Collection/Atlanta Made
These stores, which share a space, are both owned by Michelle Larrabee-Martin and her husband, Greg Martin. Atlanta Made features work by more than 70 local artisans; Kolo specializes in upscale outdoor furniture lines like Dedon, Brown Jordan, and Lloyd Flanders. Table at left by Phil Proctor, $800. 1189 Howell Mill Road, kolocollection.com, atlantamade.us
2) Westside Modern
A hidden gem for lovers of mid-century and Danish modern furniture, says Duffy. 876 Huff Road, westsidemodernatlanta.com
3) Bjork Studio
The studio began as an importer of Swedish antiques, and it still maintains a large, mostly midcentury inventory available through 1st Dibs (1stdibs.com). However, custom upholstery and bench-made furniture have become its primary business—serving designers and commercial customers like restaurants. bjorkstudio.com
4) Bungalow Classic
This store carries an expansive collection of transitional and classic furniture and accessories. The lighting department is a standout. “There’s a great variety,” says Duffy. “Lamps are one of those last-minute things. It’s like trying on a dress: You just need to see it in person.” 1197 Howell Mill Road, bungalowclassic.com
5) Steve McKenzie’s
Jill and Steve McKenzie’s store combines handcrafted tabletop items, home accessories, and gifts—mostly made in the South—with a bit of midcentury flavor. A specialty is fabric inspired by Steve’s artwork (above). The store also represents Grange Furniture. 999 Brady Avenue, stevemckenzies.com
6) Verde Home
Co-owners Laura Walker-Baird, Paul Baird, and Kent Schneider are known for custom handmade rugs. Popular furniture offerings include American Leather seating, particularly stylish sleeper sofas. Also look for unique and antique accessories. 999 Brady Avenue, verdehomeinc.com
7) Switch Modern
“No other place in Atlanta has the best contemporary lines like Switch Modern. They are truly unique,” says Duffy. And after moving into a 25,000-square-foot showroom in 2013, the store has plenty of room to display its sleek Poliform kitchens, modern furniture, and clever accessories. Clover chair by Ron Arad for Driade, $585. 670 14th Street, switchmodern.com
This article originally appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.