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Design Sourcebook: Ooh La La Home Furnishings - Ladue News: Design

Design Sourcebook: Ooh La La Home Furnishings

Wow Factor

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Posted: Thursday, October 22, 2009 12:00 am

The exclamation ‘ooh la la’ may have French origins, but it pretty much epitmizes the home furnishings and design store Dee Hencken opened in Chesterfield eight years ago. “Everything you see here has that wow factor,” she says, which is why she named it Ooh La La. An interior design veteran of more than 20 years, Hencken takes pride in selecting one-of-a-kind furniture and accessories for those looking for something beyond the ordinary. “The pieces are timeless—not trendy,” she says. “You’re still going to like them 20 years from now.”

Lately, Hencken has received generous shipments of furniture and accessories. “We’re getting in new dining room chairs and tables, fantastic big bookshelves, lamps and artwork—pieces you won’t find in every other house or in a catalog,” she notes. “Each piece is truly unique, as if you just happened to be in Tuscany and picked it up.”

And while the store is known for its Old World, European-style merchandise, the design possibilities are endless, she says. “Many of our items can work in either transitional or contemporary settings,” Hencken says. “Just the other day, a designer came in and remarked at just how many traditional-looking pieces are perfect for transitional spaces, if only people knew to look beyond what they see on the shelf.”

But Hencken acknowledges that not many people have an eye for design, and that’s where Ooh La La’s accessory service comes in. “People know how to go out and buy a sofa, chairs and end tables. But where they have the most trouble is with the accessories—that’s one of the biggest things we do,” she says. “Customers tell us, I don’t know if this will look good, and we tell them, We’re masters at doing this; we’ll figure it out!”

One way Hencken’s team makes it easier for customers to envision a room’s potential is to personally point out the options. “We’ll go to their home and photograph the space. Then we bring in anything that will work,” she explains. “We do it with furniture, lamps, end tables, mirrors, artwork, etc. It’s not unusual for us to load up 20 pieces of artwork, bring them over to a client’s home, and find one that works.”

The accessory service is provided at no extra charge, and Hencken says it can work for any budget. “Most people don’t know where to start, so we always ask how much they would be comfortable spending,” she says. “No amount is too small. Whether it’s $1,000 or $10,000, we can show them how changing the look of the wall, bookcase or an entire room can make them feel good.” Hencken notes that the service also works the other way. “Sometimes we’ve gone to people’s houses who’ve bought things from us and we’d tell them honestly, I don’t think this works in this space, maybe you should move it elsewhere,” she says. “We don’t want you to buy something that isn’t right. We want things to work—that’s what we’re all about.” S

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