Trends in interior design, like fashion, run in a cycle.
Wicker, says Victoria Veiock, is enjoying a strong comeback, thanks to homeowners expanding their houses as well as the desire for an alternative to traditional furniture.
“Wicker, right now, has never been more popular because people are adding
sunrooms instead of moving into a new house,” says Veiock, owner of Wicker and the Works/Gallery V in Valley Junction. “Wicker is very casual, easy living. With the outdoor fabrics on the wicker, you don’t have to worry about spills and fading. The wicker just gives it a whole different feeling, and people love that.”
Customers were also receptive to the idea of wicker furniture when Veiock and her father opened her store, originally named Wicker World, in 1978, she says. Much has changed since then, both in the wicker furniture industry and her business.
“When we first started, the wicker came in ‘raw,’” Veiock recalls. “My dad did all the painting and I made all the cushions. It’s come a long way since then.
“Now the cushions come with it, the companies actually have their own fabric choices, and you pick out the fabric and finish. Some of the companies even have springs in the cushions. It sits like a piece of furniture.”
Wicker and the Works has also evolved. The business took a significant step when it split in 2005 to open Gallery V, a contemporary furniture store with a range of furniture and accessory options. The store has also expanded its offerings to include gifts and home accessories.
Can you explain the difference
between wicker and rattan?
The word “wicker” means “hand-woven.” So everything is a type of wicker, but the material that’s actually used is rattan. Rattan is a pliable type of material and can be bent easily. Almost every single thing I have here is some type of rattan. Occasionally you’ll find some bamboo, but when you see fine
furniture and come into my store, it’s mostly rattan. Anytime you use bamboo, it will split because it’s hollow.
What looks to be the biggest trend in wicker this year?
I think that probably the biggest trend for this year is outdoor wicker. I think that people are tired of metal, which can be very hot in the summer sun or very cold in the winter, and it’s very stiff and not very comfortable.
The trends that I see are making your outdoor space look like your indoor living space. The vinyl wicker can be left outside all year long. I sell a lot of sectionals with beautiful outdoor fabrics, and I sell outdoor rugs. It just makes your whole outdoor space comfortable and gives you a whole other way of
entertaining. There are swivel rockers, gliders, sectionals, huge ottomans, and really comfortable chairs. It’s one of those things where people can’t believe that it’s outdoor furniture. It’s also maintenance-free. In the spring you hose it off, pop in your cushions, and you’re ready to go.
How does the care of wicker and rattan differ from care for other furniture?
There’s relatively little care. You can dust it or vacuum it. If it isn’t upholstered, you can actually take it outside and hose it down if you need to. The great part about wicker is that you’re buying your frame, and the cushions actually sit in the frame. If the cushions get faded or you don’t like them anymore, it’s so easy to have them re-covered. It’s $65 to have a cushion
covered, plus the cost of a yard of fabric. It’s a lot more versatile, I think, than traditional furniture that’s upholstered. It’s much easier and less expensive than reupholstering a fabric sofa,
What’s the difference between indoor and outdoor wicker furniture?
The outdoor is woven with extruded vinyl. It’s still
hand-woven, just over an aluminum frame so it doesn’t rust. It’s a little more lightweight. Most of the indoor is woven over a rattan or wooden frame.
Wicker and the Works divided in 2005 to open Gallery V, a contemporary furniture store. What was behind the addition?
We’ve always had a mix here in the store, and I know that
rattan isn’t for everyone. We do a lot of decorating here, and we had a lot of people ask us to decorate. I think people like to work with us and like our decorators and style, and we wanted to be able to offer them other choices besides wicker. We have Lazar, which is a contemporary upholstered line, Johnston Casuals metal furniture, and Calligaris, a contemporary line with tables that expand. We have many lines of contemporary and also sell lamps, rugs, and artwork.
What does “the Works” part of the business include?
learn more. Stop by Wicker and the
Works/Gallery V in Valley Junction at
300 4th Street, West Des Moines. Visit them online at WickerAndTheWorks.com or give
them a call at (515) 279-3141.
We carry Company C rugs, which I think are really popular, and rugs from Chandra. We also sell a couple of local artists’ works. Probably our most popular one is Jenny Murphy, who is a painter. We sell the Out of My Mind Designs screen art from DEMDACO. We sell jewelry and gourmet food. We carry so many lines that you need to stop in the store to see
for yourself how fun it all is at Wicker and the Works.