Ask just about any of your friends for their favorite weekend getaway spot, and you’re sure to hear Highlands, North Carolina. Barely a two-hour drive from Atlanta, the quaint mountain town holds one of the Southeast’s premier resorts, Old Edwards Inn, several upscale restaurants and a charming main street sprinkled with shops. If you take your friend up on her suggestion to visit Highlands, chances are you’ll meander Main Street and wander into a two-story home decor store, Dutchmans Casual Living. It’s filled with furniture, art, paper goods, faux flowers and just about anything else you can imagine. Even the store’s central staircase has treasures lining the steps and walls. If a trip to Highlands isn’t in your cards anytime soon, though, we have good news: Atlanta now boasts a Dutchmans Casual Living Store of its own.
Located in Chamblee, Dutchmans Casual Living has made its home on classic antique row in a new development. Owner Stephanie Bramble says Chamblee was a natural fit. “Atlanta has been home since 2005, and Chamblee is close to where I live. I couldn’t pass up the chance to be in this great building and be a part of the Chamblee revival.” What started as a gift and floral shop in Highlands in 2000 quickly grew into Dutchmans as we know it today: a shop bursting with fabulous finds for your home.
After opening her first location, Stephanie found that in addition to selling trinkets and florals, she enjoyed building small pieces of furniture like side tables, coffee tables and sofa tables out of old windows and doors. Plus, it was an inexpensive way to add inventory. “I started out with $750 and tried to hand-make everything I sold because that was all I could afford. I soon realized there was a need for unique furniture,” she says. “My little store was keeping me busy, and a friend knew of a company that had damaged furniture that I could buy at a great price to repair and resell, so before I knew it, I was really getting into the furniture business.” Stephanie’s style evolved from here. “Everything I chose was distressed. It was very shabby chic, cozy and comfortable to sit on; there was nothing formal about my store.” Casual living at its finest.
Dutchmans is casual in every sense of the word. Open drawers. Pick up a book. Try on a necklace. It’s encouraged. “We’re pretty laid-back, so you can feel right at home at one of my stores,” Stephanie says. She even jokes, “Each store is usually a mess at the end of a day because customers are so comfortable. Don’t worry; you won’t be frowned upon if you move a pillow out of place. We are definitely not stuffy.”
Plus, there’s always something new to see; their inventory is ever-changing. “We sell so much off of the floor, that the store is always looking different,” Stephanie explains. Additionally, her husband’s family owns the factory where Dutchmans’ furniture is made, so the finishing possibilities are endless. Looking for that conversation piece that no one else has? You might find it at Dutchmans. The store also has its own lighting line. Their stunning chandeliers steal the show, and Stephanie tells us the brand is launching a bathroom vanity line soon, too. “Whatever your design desires are, we’ll make them happen. We’ll help you bring your vision to life.”
If you don’t have a vision of your own, the shop’s aesthetic might inspire one for you. Within Dutchmans’ walls, you’ll find layers of color and texture. Sofas are styled with pillows, while dining tables are set with dishes and faux-flower arrangements. In fact, artificial flowers are one of Stephanie’s specialties. “When I got out of fresh flowers, I made sure my stores always carry great artificial blooming stems; I have to have flowers around.” By styling her stores in vignettes, customers can truly see what items might look like in their own homes.
This inviting, natural atmosphere is surely part of Dutchmans’ success and what continues to bring people back through its doors. Unsurprisingly, even though the Chamblee location has only been open since the fall, they’re already expanding into the space next door. That’s slated to open late spring, but Stephanie doesn’t plan to stop there. “I see more Dutchmans stores in the future. I get asked every week to open a store in a new location.” We can’t wait to see where the next Dutchmans Casual Living sets up shop.
Dutchmans Casual Living is located at 5490 Peachtree Road, Chamblee, GA 30341. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Learn more at dutchmansdesigns.com.