Best Florist 2006 | Avant Garden | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Anyone can order blooms over an 800 number. If you want to send a unique flower arrangement, call Avant Garden, known for simple but lush flower displays in sleek containers, often with blossoms in one color mounded for impact. Avant has a reputation for touches of whimsy, like a live chrysalis with a due date for the butterfly tucked into a bouquet of roses. Owner Brian Bolke (also co-owner of fashion retailer Forty Five Ten) often is called on by national shelter magazines for party and wedding ideas, so he's always got something new up his sleeve. The tiny three-story shop at Highland Park Village is a fun place to browse for your own ideas. Call Avant's style "luxurious simplicity"--harder to achieve than it sounds.
The brightest bulbs have figured out that Lights Fantastic has the biggest selection of contemporary lighting in the city, with top brands such as George Kovacs, Lightolier and Foscarini. Check out their new Zaneen Gallery, with almost 100 examples of the European line's sleek, architecturally styled flush-mount fixtures, pendants and wall sconces. They've got art glass from Oggetti, WPT and Tech Lighting and the new LED lighting from Traxon. More traditional folks will find Stiffel, Quoizel, Hubbardton Forge and Schonbek chandeliers. Check out their extensive line of specialty bulbs for those hard-to-match odd sockets.
For a kinder, gentler approach to getting a caffeine buzz, Tempest Tea serves dozens of varieties of hot, iced and bubble teas. The menu includes black teas (hearty and strong such as Thunderbolt, full-bodied such as Black Toffee in Bed, and finessed and elegant such as Golden Sunrise), green teas (Jasmine Pearl, Dragon Well), white teas (White Snow and Apricots), Rooibos teas (non-caffeinated Ginger) and Masala Chais (Red Chais at Night). In other words, Starbucks' menu has nothing on Tempest Tea. Choose your tea, then relax on a banquette, pull out your laptop or book and sip away. Pastries and wraps are available for breakfast and lunch. Or share a classic afternoon tea with friends: three courses with scones, finger sandwiches, dessert and a pot of the brew of your choice. You can also purchase tea accessories and gift baskets. Dallasites Brian and Jodi Rudman--he's a doctor, she's a lawyer-turned-actress--started Tempest Tea in 2002 with the motto "drinking to improve life." Tea-riffic.
You're putting in a dream kitchen. Why not dream big? French-Brown has specialty tiles--murals, hand-painted, Italian, mosaics, metallic, glass, marble--that you don't see at most tile retailers or Home Depots. Shopping the good stuff gives you ideas. Expensive, yes, but if you are tiling a backsplash or the wall behind a stove, you won't need much. Find the accents at French-Brown and supplement with less expensive field tiles. Or use a handful of handmade tiles for a killer fireplace surround. French-Brown also offers floors in exotic woods, unique parquets, slate, cork and high-end vinyl for the modernist. Open on nights and weekends by appointment only.
Your Ford Expedition's car key with the fancy transponder inside pooped out? Golden's Keys can make, cut and reprogram it for $60, cheaper than many dealerships, and they'll do it in 20 minutes. Lock yourself out of said vehicle? They'll come to your rescue. Threw out the lover who talked you into buying that overpriced SUV in the first place? They'll change the locks on your house after-hours if necessary. (Right now, Golden's only does Ford transponder keys but hopes to add more manufacturers in the future.) This may be a number to keep on the refrigerator door.
Fly to London without moisturizer? Land in Paris sans gloss? With the new airline carry-on regulations making the "new normal" a new horror for the dry-complexioned and dusty-lipped, Lush offers what they swear are products that won't end up confiscated at the security gate. They sell moisturizers in solid form called "body butters." They also have solid shampoos, cleansing bars and slices of soap that turn into yummy bubble baths when they hit water. Lush's skin softeners and enhancers are natural and fresh (they're marked with expiration dates) and feel luxurious to the touch. NorthPark's is Lush's only Texas store.
You gotta love a shop that carries rhinestone tiaras and scepters for that little princess in your life. Om Imports has walls draped with inexpensive (seriously, like $4) necklaces, pendants, earrings, bracelets, rings and belts that glitter with imitation jewels. From fake diamond studs to chandelier earrings to necklaces guaranteed to turn your cleavage into a cascade of sparkle, Om will deck you out for that big event. No one has to know your necklace and earrings together cost less than a sawbuck.
Can't spend the time combing flea markets looking for cool stuff? Junkadoodle does it for you. This shop west of Inwood Village finds new and old stuff perfect for a casual home. (We usually hate plaques with cute sayings but almost made an exception for "Put on your big girl panties and deal with it." Almost.) Weathered dressers, funky chairs, offbeat art, refurbished light fixtures and iron bases for glass tables are in abundance. Western and Mexican kitsch abounds. Call it shabby chic or movie ranch rustic, Junkadoodle's style is witty and fun.
When you are painting your ceiling, paint from Lowe's will do. But serious painters head to Walnut Hill Paint for its variety and high level of service. Great for color-matching while you wait, the store carries ordinary brands such as Benjamin Moore but also stocks brands you may see in Metropolitan Home, including Pratt & Lambert, Martin Senour, Williamsburg Historical, C-2 Ultra Premium and metallics. They're also a great source for Cabot and Olympic stains, Dura Seal and Cook's Oil Glazing. They can also help you figure out the products and tools you need and often give hands-on training in faux finishes. Tell people your decorator did it.
With great gear for someone who will never get closer to a cow than steak at Del Frisco's, Cowboy Cool is a little shop with a big rhinestone heart. Our favorite boot: Liberty's 62 Muerto, a hand-tooled black number covered with bone-colored skulls and only $2,200. Jeans by Parasuco have Western details. Shirts come with snap buttons and names such as "Johnny Cash." The handmade silver belt buckles are a great way to get the feeling without breaking the bank. Owner Heath Calhoun's goal is a custom-made look bought off-the-rack. If you want to play the rock 'n' roll star who gets away from it all at his/her ranch in Wyoming, this is the shop for you.

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