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Christian Street Furniture 

Scattered amid Christian Street Furniture's (3029 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 841-3332; www.christianstreetfurniture.com) pieces of custom-upholstered hardwood furniture are colorful, beaded lamps, folk figurines and Buddha statues. These items speak to the beginnings of this family-run business owned by John and Lisa Burns.

  Their first business venture, Christian Street Market in Baton Rouge, opened in 1991 as an international gift and accessories shop where the couple sold items purchased during vacations in Mexico. But after a few years, when the furniture used as display garnered more enthusiasm from customers, the owners decided to expand.

  "There were lots of traditional furniture stores in Baton Rouge, but there were no transitional, eclectic, international furniture stores," John says. He and Lisa changed the store's name to Christian Street Furniture and opened a second location in Metairie. "Since the very beginning, we had people from the greater New Orleans area visiting our store, whether it was college students and their parents or people who had heard of us via word of mouth," John says.

  Christian Street Furniture customers want their furniture to look collected instead of purchased as a set, John says. Because the store offers more than 100 different finish options and more than 600 fabrics for custom upholstery, customers can expect to take home solidly built, one-of-a-kind pieces.

  "We only sell solid, hardwood furniture that is meant to last a lifetime," John says. "No particle board allowed here."

  Styles offered at Christian Street Furniture range from traditional to modern to one-of-a-kind salvaged items. These pieces are handmade in India and Indonesia using wood from old ships and buildings. John plans to got to Bali in early 2012 to stock up on the folk items that give his stores character. "I've always had a passion for unique items," he says.

Christian Street Furniture opened in 1991 as a gift and accessories shop.

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