When you step into Rhea’s Unique Furniture and Eclectic Decor, you can see thematic elements from all over the world. Italian marble resides in a dining set, Asian art resides in hand-inlaid china cabinet and wicker furniture made in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula embodies the region’s pastoral quality.
The small gallery of worldly furniture is the work of owner Danny Buchanan, who got his experience in sales by working at a furniture store before opening his own. From eyeing estate sales and small-town deals, Buchanan stocked two rooms full of unique items.
“I like selling furniture. I’m looking for character, age and beauty,” Buchanan said.
He named the store after his mother, but likes to also think of the name for its Greek roots meaning “a flowing stream.”
The flow of goods in the store traverses all styles and price points.
“I started to dabble in entrepreneurship and figured furniture is something I find worth doing. I just wanted a small little store for something I like.”
The store stocks mostly vintage furniture from the ’50s to the ’90s.
“For the most part, I don’t see much brand-new furniture that strikes me,” he said. “I don’t think midcentury modern ever went out of fashion. It’s getting more popular with millennials.”
Some striking items out of the bunch are an Asian-style hutch with hand-painted, golden inlay work. The furniture curator seeks pieces with “a lot of character” noting the contrast of the hutch’s regal interior. A bust of Egyptian queen Nefertiti also sticks out from the rest, a special piece Buchanan pulled from an estate sale in Okemos.
“I had to go to work and something said ‘No you have to go there and the queen is waiting on you," he said. “I turned around in the street and went to the estate sale. I go down the stairs and the first thing I do is look left and there she is staring at me. I felt like she was calling me to pick her up.”
Now the queen sits surrounded by a set of Egyptian-themed collectibles from the Franklin Mint.
Buchanan said he isn’t worried about his “little podunk furniture store on the corner of Cedar and Holmes” competing against Lansing’s bigger furniture stores. Buchanan prefers his items to build a reputation for quality at a fair price.
“I didn’t want it to be known as just a regular furniture or antique store,” the owner remarked. “I like to appeal to people with beats of their own, whether they are eclectic or similar to my own.”
Rhea’s Unique Furniture and Eclectic Decor
Mon-Wed, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Tues-Sat, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sun, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday
3407 S. Cedar St., Lansing
(517) 258-0588, www.facebook.com/RheasUniqueFurniture