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Fort Worth Hidden Gems — This Furniture Store is a Break From the Everyday

Simple Things Furniture Company Continues to Surprise

BY // 11.14.19

Simple Things Furniture Company is a little off the beaten path, but that’s how owner Jim VanAntwerp likes it. If you venture far enough on Fort Worth’s West Vickery Boulevard, you’re bound to stumble upon this diamond-in-the-rough furniture store.

What you find inside will likely make it worth the trip.

For context, you need to know that VanAntwerp is the type of man that has no interest in being the center of attention, but has a dry sense of humor that doesn’t quit. He values quality over quantity in every sense.

Simple Things was founded in 1997 by VanAntwerp because – well, he couldn’t find what he was looking for anywhere else. He would see beautiful rooms and clean slip-covered furniture in magazines and books, but no one was replicating that style in North Texas.

He would visit other furniture stores and would leave disappointed and ultimately misunderstood. The lighting, the salespeople, the furniture . . . nothing was quite right.

VanAntwerp is very purposeful in the way he does things, and as a result, so is his store.

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“I wanted easy going furniture,” he says. “Like what white T-shirts and jeans are for your wardrobe, but furniture.” So VanAntwerp took matters into his own hands and opened his own furniture store.

The first thing you notice when you walk into Simple Things is the immense amount of natural light. The entire showroom is bathed in it. It makes you take a deep breath and want to meander around for a while.

This is no accident. VanAntwerp gained inspiration from Swedish spaces that use natural light in spades because it is thought to keep neurotransmitters in a sedated state. He also studied high ranking hotels and noticed that most of these hotels keep colors muted and calm.

Don’t misunderstand, though. Simple Things isn’t completely devoid of color. In fact, there is no shortage of it. It’s a common misconception that everything in Simple Things is covered in white and ivory slipcovers. Currently, they have a floral overstuffed sitting chair with rich reds, blues and marigold.

Not So Simple

The truth is that Simple Things is way more than a furniture store. It’s a lifestyle store in every sense. From furniture to laundry detergent, albeit fancy laundry detergent. They carry brands that are handcrafted and well made.

For example LEE Industries, a 50-year old North Carolina company that takes pride in creating high-quality pieces that will last. Another shining example of this is the made in-house furniture that Simple Things employee and renaissance man Jonny West creates in his workshop in the back. West hand builds custom creations or repurposes materials to create beautiful, unique pieces.

Simple Things Furniture
Simple Things Furniture is a distinctive lair of finds.

Simple Things throws a lot of energy into sourcing vintage, one-of-a- kind pieces to help offset the furniture store vibe. You can find knick-knacks and books galore — informational and coffee table varieties. And the rugs, be still my heart.

Beautiful antique Persian rugs dot the expansive showroom. If you are in the market for art, Simple Things also carries large quantities of art work. Some antique, some brand new, in various genres.

When I ask VanAntwerp if he’s ever had a favorite item that he wished he could have kept, he’s quick to reply.

“An old factory work bench that had some sheet metal,” he says. “It was the most perfect coffee table of all time. I weep thinking about it. Also, I should have kept a box of unused 1950s urine specimen jars.

“They had this great angular shape. I thought I was going to get negative feedback, but I later found out that people were using them for creamer at their breakfast tables. I thought that was brilliant.”

The mastermind that so carefully arranges the store is none other than VanAntwerp’s right hand woman and self-proclaimed “stock girl” Patti Stuard. She is also in charge of the store’s well-curated and witty Instagram.

Simple Things’ People Edge

VanAntwerp also has a talent for hiring well. Everyone that works at Simple Things is way more than a salesperson. No one at this store is going to hard sell you into anything, but their knowledge and well-meaning demeanor stick out.

“We hire everyday people who have a natural tendency toward tastefulness and are incredibly pleasant human beings,” VanAntwerp says.

It should also be noted that the entire staff is just as obsessed with their inventory as the store’s best customer.

Simple Things has big plans going into its 23rd year of business.

“We’re working on developing our e-commerce platform,” VanAntwerp tells PaperCity Fort Worth. “We might add a tiny restaurant to make the shopping experience better, maybe find a store dog. I’d love to add an outdoor area with old planters and garden ware.”

The secret to Simple Things is simple enough.

“Ultimately, we feel like beautiful chairs and a great Sunday afternoon sofa will make you happy,” VanAntwerp says. “Great home furnishings have the power to do that.”

Simple Things Furniture Company is located at 7401 W Vickery Boulevard. It’s open 10 am t0 6 pm Mondays through Fridays, from 10 am to 4 pm Saturdays and closed Sundays.

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