Photo by Ash Daniel
What is AKP Furnish & Design? I sell goods for the home: furniture, lamps, rugs, some really unique artwork. I also do upholstery. We construct furniture. We have a welder. We paint. We do just about anything that your heart can imagine at a reasonable price. Who is behind AKP? It's me. But I also use all these great artisans — amazing craftsmen who are artistic and want to produce and make things. How would you describe the style of décor you carry? My décor is pretty classic, but with just a twist. I like an artistic flair. I like this new mid-century pop that all the young people like. A lot of stuff coming back is what I grew up with. It's new in the way it's put together — mid-century with French and English antiques. Mixing things up. Where do you find your goods? I go to auctions and estate sales, and I have people just bringing things to me to consign. The baby boomers are getting to the point where they are downsizing and they have good stuff. What kind of décor do you look for specifically? I particularly love continental things. Things from Europe. French, English mixed with a really good sofa. When I shop, I will look for something that has a good French look or chinoiserie — really decorative things. What furniture do you avoid purchasing for resale? I stay away from what I call "brown furniture," the normal dining room table and chairs. I go more for an eclectic look — something that makes you smile or happy when you see it. Why do you recommend used furniture over buying new at chain stores? It's very green because you aren't buying new things, but buying things here and giving it a new look, and giving people work who love to paint and make furniture. And you get one-of-a-kind treatment. … Also, it's far better stuff and will last a lifetime. What do you love about Richmond's design community? With [Virginia Common-wealth University] here and all these design firms, we have a really savvy, educated group of young people who have a real sense of their art and their style, and they can mix it up. It takes talent to do that. Not everyone can do it. And then there are some [who] can't do it and I can help them, and I love it. AKP Furnish & Design is located at 4907 W. Leigh St. and is open Fri. and Sat. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sun. 12 to 4 p.m., and by appointment during the week.