Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How to Hang Pictures

I love a gallery wall! If you're a collector you know that trying to hang all those prints and paintings is a challenge. The image above is a perfect example that it can be done right.

What stands out to me from this image is the color first- or lack of. Even if you collect floral paintings, group together so the colors are complimentary. Another is the way the round mirrors and ram head help break up a sea of rectangles. The furniture placement isn't so bad either. Another must do: be sure the space between all the objects is the same. This is what makes this gallery wall work.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A NEW STORE? Curious Sofa in 2014


Curious Sofa's fundraising campaign is now on Indiegogo. Read more here.

Many of you may know, I opened my first retail store in 2000 with a desire to offer local Kansas Citians an alternative to the stuffy brand name, home furnishing and gift stores they had been used to seeing. With travels to New York, Chicago and San Francisco I loved visiting the independent boutiques with their curated style and unusual merchandise and wondered why no one had done something similar back home.

With 20 years of experience as a freelance photo stylist, I knew creating this next business venture would be a natural extension of my visual talents. It was always my desire to bring an inspirational mix of comfortable furnishings, uncommon objects and offbeat gifts to Kansas City but with a relaxed and creative atmosphere for the local shopper.

With 1,600 square feet inside an 1890's storefront, Curious Sofa was born in the Crossroads district of Kansas City, Missouri on September 16, 2000. After 4-1/2 years, potential growth and customer demands moved us to the Prairie Village shopping center (in a former GAP location). Now with 3,700 square feet, I was able to take Curious Sofa to the next level.

For the next 5-1/2 years, my staff and I put Curious Sofa on the map with local and national press, special events and my popular blog. Customers came from around the country to see what all the fuss was about and I am proud to say, they never left disappointed. With magazine notoriety and rave Yelp reviews I was so happy customers understood what I was trying to achieve.

After 10 successful years and much hard work I desired an easier pace and decided to close the doors to Curious Sofa and concentrate on online sales only. For over three years now, buying, selling and promoting the website have been my full time job. Now an opportunity has risen to open another retail venue, but I need your help to get started.

The West Bottoms of Kansas City has become the new vintage shopping mecca with abandoned warehouses being filled by new entrepreneurs offering a once a month shopping experience. I have been asked by a group of dealers to resurrect a smaller version of Curious Sofa inside a new venue to open soon. After a two month special event Christmas show in the Bottoms, I had many locals tell me how much they missed my store and their desire for me to return. Now I have the perfect opportunity, but this requires a few road trips and finances to gather amazing antiques and new inventory. Can you help?
My customer base is solid and my ideas are endless but I was not prepared to start a new venture; can you help?
- Maybe you understand my situation.
- Maybe you have a soft spot for creative entrepreneurs.
- Maybe I lifted your spirits when you visited the store.

If you can help, GO HERE.
I would love your support to do it again. Thank you for reading!
Debbie Dusenberry

PRODUCTS & SERVICES: Curious Sofa specializes in vintage style using a neutral palette. Whether a new or antique item- it's all about the design.
On any given month you may find vintage sofas, chandeliers, paintings, old frames, country side tables, textiles, ephemera, jewelry, clothing and more. A touch of country, some industrial, a little Victorian; always with unique displays.

Along with 20 other dealers, the new Curious Sofa will be housed inside one of the old warehouses in downtown Kansas City. With at least 500 square feet of space, Curious Sofa will return on a smaller scale offering the same comfortable style customers grew to love. With this new venture Curious Sofa will also launch a second brand to fit with the younger, artistic customer of the West Bottoms (stay tuned for that!)

A Yelp review by Carrie H. says it better than I can:
"Do you ever imagine you're in one of those magical holiday movies where they show a bustling, whimsical store in a big city like New York or Chicago?  They span across showing smiling shoppers and you half expect people to start into song?  That was what it was like at Curious Sofa.  I looked at shoppers faces that were lit up like kids on Christmas morning discovering the small presents they too can have.  
This place just exuded whimsy and delight, beautifully decorated with character that makes Curious Sofa a store unique unto itself.  Filled with antiques, French inspired furnishings, and unexpected touches--everything is for sale.  It is the delightful displays that made me wander for much longer than I had expected to.
When I get my own place, I would love to have someone from Curious Sofa interior decorate.  Could you imagine?  Everyday coming home to fairy tale elegance?"

If you can help, GO HERE.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Display Ideas

I love finding unusual ways to display and now with the internet, the ideas are endless. With examples from interior designers, retail stores or craft booths, all of these ideas can be used in your home in one way or another.

Case in point; the wall of pictures hung behind the bed below. Some may think this is so wrong, but I think it's smart. This is designing and not just hanging pictures. The room is a great mix of  new, old, mod and traditional. Notice how the fabric used to hang the nude portrait is necessary to balance out the wall of images.

How fun is this? I see old iron headboards all the time and it never occurred to me to hang them as a clothing rack. Perfect for a retail shop but imagine using one in a large bathroom for a towel bar or in a loft space for needed closet space.

I am a sucker for ladders. Use a small step stool as a side table for stacking books or add to the top of a low table for needed height. 

Sometimes simply is so much better. A thick fallen branch used as an informal coat rack.

Sometimes those large hutches and cabinets seem so heavy and take up so much room. Why not hang the darn thing? Yes, a bit of work to secure but look how effective.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Antique Mall Sale


If you live in Kansas City, tomorrow is a big day for the antique mall I am in. It is the third anniversary at Lone Elm Antique Mall and both of my booths (and the 100 others!) have 20% off on every single item. Here are some of the best deals I have. Bigger furniture yes, but so many smalls not shown too!

901 S. Parker
Olathe KS

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Give Me a Sign

Signs are all the rage now, but to be honest, have we ever stopped loving them? Hanging a funky sign in your kitchen, office or studio lets visitors know you do not take your surroundings quite so 
seriously. Whether new or old; metal, wood, black and white or color, try one of these to make you smile:

Click on any images to start shopping.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Yesterday, amidst a few inevitable glitches, my new website was finally launched. (Only two years in the making!!) There is not enough blog space to discuss the process of creating a website! Oy vey, the lessons I have learned. Now before you take a peek, know that it is not full of bells and whistles and little airplanes flying across the screen with a sale banner attached. In fact, I purposely hunted and designed this new format to be similar to the old one because I did not want it to be drastically different for my customer, just better.

- Most importantly the new website is MOBILE FRIENDLY! Yea! I have learned (just from sitting at any coffee shop) most of you have tossed the lap top aside and are now searching and shopping via a tablet or phone. This is a little painful for me as I wish you could see the website in its full, desktop glory- but I care more about selling something too. So all the pics, graphics and navigation adjust to your device.
- Now you can easily Pin, Tweet, Facebook or G+ any product you see (shameless self promotion).

- The check out process is so much easier. No need to "LOG IN" (although its faster in the future).
- Shipping fees are better and yes we ship overseas!
- Paypal checkout is just as easy as ever (Visa, MC, Discover and American Express too!).
- SOFAS! Yes, Curious Sofa still sells sofas! Slipcovered, squashy, TV watching, book reading sofas. Now take a look at the 8 styles offered with fabric swatches shown. And as always, an important purchase so email me with any questions.
 - Customer reviews. Now you can read what customers say about products.
- Password retrieval. The old website had major problems with sending password reminders, hopefully this problem is all gone. You will have to re-register now though.
- Cart reminder. Add items to your cart and 24 hours later you will receive a reminder in case you forgot!
- Gift wrap options are available.
- The footer on the website has all the info you may want: FAQ, Terms, Shipping, Press pages and I just added a new STYLE FOR HIRE section that tells you more about what I can do besides sell stuff.
- Security. has always complied to all online and e-commerce rules of security, but I think it looks a little better now and may make you more confident that your info is safe.

Although nothing would thrill me more than to have a large photo studio decorated with lovely vignettes allowing me to show you all my products used in their full glory, I am still happy with the photos of my products. Clean, simple images of the item as-found. A photo studio is the next item on my bucket list.

Many of you have written to me about starting e-commerce. I have shared some advice now and then but everyone has a different mission when it comes to wanting to sell online. Some just want a an online presence, some need to get rid of something and a few want a full-on money making machine. Some quick advice:

What are you selling?
(My answer: I am selling new and old items, small enough to ship easily. Some multiples, many one of a kind).
How much are you selling?
(I have always wanted to offer at least 500 items but I still can barely get to 200).
Can you design, shoot pictures and manage it yourself?
(Four years ago my first e-commerce website cost me $6,000 to build from scratch. A stupid move but I did what I thought was right after much research. Now there are so many online templates that you can do yourself. From GoDaddy to Big Cartel, Word Press, Volusion, and Shopify... I researched them all looking for the right template and online support).
How much time can you give it daily?
(I spend at least 8 hours a day on the computer- yes 8! From emails, to networking, to retouching or rearranging the website, it is a full time job for me).
What do you need from an online store?
(I need to make a living. This is why I am working all day. On the other hand, if I sold all new items, I could easily shoot once and then just replenish and my work might be cut 30%).
Who's shipping this stuff?
Be warned, the shipping is the #1 issue that will close you down before anything else because it is a pain. I don't do it. I hired a company to store, ship and follow up on all my orders. Yes it costs me but it takes 50% of the headache away too.
Design your website to sell what you can handle.
(Many times I think I will rethink my e-commerce and just sell junky jewelry! Same camera set up, small items I can store in my home, and toss every item in a padded envelope and mail myself- done).
Start somewhere.
Etsy and Ebay are the best ways to get your feet wet in e-commerce, and smart! They already have a world-wide customer base and endless tutorials on anything you need to learn everything.
Good luck!

Monday, February 24, 2014

New Items have arrived!

I am excited about this round of merchandise that has just been posted online. Especially the killer silver punch bowl set I found!! Oh to keep this lovely!! And nothing warms up a home more than a few linens tossed here and there. Think outside the box as they are great in many other places besides the standard table. Hang over the back or a wind back chair, drape as a valance or toss a soft linen runner over your two bed pillows.

Take a look around: Click on an image to start shopping.