Since opening its doors in late 2013, Wrightwood Furniture – Lakeview’s newest and most charming home furnishings storefront at 3036 N. Lincoln Ave. – has already become a neighborhood destination for one-of-a-kind, high-quality and strikingly affordable home décor.
Father-son founders, Doug and Mike Cohen – long-standing veterans with a combined 60 years of experience in the furniture design business from Chicago’s North Shore – conceived Wrightwood’s business model based on their observations of glaring, costly inefficiencies that seem to have become the standard in traditional furniture retail.
“Across the board, we saw prices for furniture keep climbing up and up, and there wasn’t an equal reflection of higher quality,” said Mike, of Glencoe. “What almost every consumer doesn’t realize when he or she makes a purchase at the various popular ‘big box’ furniture retailers is that the majority of what they’re really paying for is unnecessary costs brought on by middlemen and distributors. The retail price ends up compensating for needless shipping and transportation charges, as well as costs associated with storage and warehousing. Far too often that retail price has little, if nothing, to do with the value of the furniture itself—and certainly does no service to the end consumer.”
From that realization, Wrightwood Furniture was born.
The Cohen’s set out to cut out the middlemen (and more importantly their associated upcharges), instead choosing to design, source and purchase furniture from skilled artisans and factories the world over – and ship everything directly to the store. This direct-to-store model allows Wrightwood to provide Chicago customers with exclusive, vibrant furniture designs and home accents at 50-80 percent off the price of similar items at other high-end furniture retailers.
“Our family has been in the furniture business for decades, selling furniture wholesale for years,” said Doug, of Highland Park. “When we conceptualized the approach for Wrightwood Furniture, we wanted to focus on creating a system of efficiency we didn’t see happening anywhere else in the industry. Working directly with craftsman around the world has allowed us to offer an exceptional selection of high-quality, handmade furniture pieces that are never mass-produced. These pieces bring true character into our customers’ homes.”
From hand-painted French style bombe chests – on which the brushstrokes are still visible – and ultra-durable, industrial aluminum cabinets and end tables, to the popular, Wrightwood-designed and hand-stitched collection of Chicago Flag pillows, poufs and benches – a visit to the dog-friendly showroom is a lot like walking through a European market right in the heart of Lakeview. Also, because virtually all of Wrightwood’s pieces are produced by its source factories a maximum of only one to three times, no two visits to the store are the same.
“We pride ourselves on carrying one-offs and handcrafted, unique pieces for our customers – some of which will never be offered again,” Mike said. “We know that furniture chains and big boxes can’t do that. Any one of our pieces instantly brings personality and character to a room.”
While the store itself is an impressive, eclectic space of various styles, materials and designs, Wrightwood has reached well beyond the neighborhood with its online presence. Nearly all of Wrightwood’s items can be viewed and purchased online at www.wrightwoodfurniture.com – and the store truly has been optimized for local and nearby residents. Wrightwood offers the option for all online and in-store orders to be delivered same-day, at one low, flat fee and fully assembled – not just to the customer’s front doorstep, but to the room of his or her choice. For suburbanites, Wrightwood can deliver up to 45 miles outside of Chicago – as far north as Waukegan, as far west as Aurora, Elgin and St. Charles and as far south as Chicago Heights. Both local and customers outside the delivery zone also have the option to hold and pick up their purchases in-store at no charge.
“At the heart of it, we’re really a locally minded business, able to deliver amazing furniture pieces to both our online shoppers and in-store visitors,” Mike said.
Apart from a dedication to providing the distinctive furniture designs Chicagoans want at significantly reduced prices, Wrightwood’s streamlined efficiency and tossing out the middlemen is driven by a strong commitment to the environment. Less handling, shipments and storage means minimal packaging materials – and all of Wrightwood’s hand-selected pieces are made exclusively from recycled aluminum and wood that has been plantation-grown, instead of sourced from endangered rainforests or old-growth forests. Even fabric for ottomans is made from recycled cotton and wool textiles, and the store features a collection of intricately designed accent pillows sewn from recycled saris.
“At Wrightwood, we’re definitely environmentally conscious and all about reducing our footprint – doing a lot more with a lot less to benefit both the earth and our customers. We’re proving that furniture made from repurposed materials doesn’t detract from the design or quality of the work,” Mike said. “We’ve found and cultivated personal relationships with skilled artisans who’ve built furniture that will last, and will become cherished pieces in homes for years and years.”
In just a few short months, Wrightwood has proven that the path to tasteful, one-off, high-quality home design is a simple one – and doesn’t have to come at an astronomical price.
“Without the overhead of having to support stores all over the country and shipping everywhere, like many big retailers, we can provide a great value, first and foremost, to the people of Chicago,” Mike said.
“Everything’s a ‘find’ here. Really. No mass-produced, assembly required, cheaply made junk. It’s all in the details – the colors, unique designs and finishes, the expert craftsmanship – that makes this furniture speak to us,” Doug said.
Looks like Wrightwood’s speaking to the people of Chicago, too.
Wrightwood Furniture’s Lakeview store is located at 3036 N. Lincoln Ave., and is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., and Sunday, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. All pieces are also available for purchase online at www.wrightwoodfurniture.com. For more information, please call (773) 687-9210.