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Real Deals on Home Décor

Home décor store opens in North Liberty
Shop owner Peg Carr and her staff are “retail therapists” who love to consult with customers about unique ways to layer beautiful design into their homes. (photo by Lori Lindner)

NORTH LIBERTY– North Liberty business owner Peg Carr wants everyone to be allured by their home, wherever they live.
In mid-September, Carr opened Real Deals on Home Décor in North Liberty, at 225 Beaver Kreek Centre (near the Brown Bottle restaurant). Carr had been working in the Iowa City Real Deals on Home Décor location for about two years when the franchise came up for sale this spring.
“I didn’t have that on my radar at all,” said the Solon resident. “But after my husband and I thought about it more, it made sense.”
Her first order of business was to move the location to North Liberty.
“There is such massive growth here, and new homes and businesses going up,” said Carr. And after six weeks of operation, she added, “it is working out really well.”
Real Deals is a furniture, gift and home décor store that sells all new merchandise, though the goods here seem to have the patina of history and more interesting character than mass-produced products.
It’s the way Real Deals on Home Décor sets itself apart.
“The difference between us and the big box stores is that we help you put your décor together, at no additional charge,” said Carr. Items here are displayed in tableaus that allow shoppers to actually see how furniture, lamps, pillows and wall art complement one another. “We help pull the look together, whereas in a big box store you may see a row of the same picture frame or an aisle of candlesticks that are not with anything else.”
Another difference between Real Deals and other home décor stores is found at the cash register; in Carr’s store, an island painted a trendy turquoise green that anchors the shop’s collection of chic-but-economical furnishings.
“As a franchise, we do our best to keep prices as low as possible, so you don’t have to feel married to the things in your home,” said Carr. “That’s really important to us.”
Therefore, she noted, the shop doesn’t have fancy flooring or an expensively-finished interior of its own. Further, it’s only open three days each week. The cost savings from those careful operating decisions are reflected back to customers in the reasonable prices of Real Deals’ goods.
No shopper would ever notice the lack of hardwood below or luxurious fixtures above, though. Carr’s location is brimming with the bold, bright and beautiful at every glance.
Sometimes customers come into the store with a definite style or motif in mind, while others are a blank slate and want suggestions all along the way. Carr’s crew is there to assist at every level. Some clients email photographs of an existing space, seeking ways to spruce up, modernize or decorate for the season. Carr and her staff even bring items to people’s homes to give a practical sense of how pieces will look, fit or feel there.
That way, customers’ decorating visions are not limited to what they see in the shop. Carr and three of her staff do home visit consultations– an hourly fee that is subsequently discounted off the price of items purchased– to help clients create purposeful design in the places they live.
“It’s actually what we love to do more than anything,” said Carr.
Employee Tammy Lilleodden agreed.
“We do,” she said. “We’ll pull things together and bring it all to them. Sometimes people get mental blocks in their own homes, but we can come in with a fresh eye, and that can really help when someone is struggling with their own space.”
Lilleodden has a background in interior decorating, courses she took through New York’s Sheffield School of Design. Pinterest and style magazines provide inspiration, but more often, she is inspired by customers’ ideas and requests.
“You have to listen to what people are looking for,” said Lilleoden. “Some people who come in are very creative.”
It is fun to stage the store’s vignettes, she added, but mindful placement keeps displays interesting and inviting, yet simple for customers to picture in their own abodes.
While the shop is full of affordable wares, their look and feel are as upscale as people want to make them. Carr was asked to decorate a Parade of Homes house in Hiawatha this fall using Real Deals objects. After the parade, the homeowner was so satisfied she purchased many of the accessories Carr provided.
“That was really great to do. We are trying to get the word out so people know we provide this service,” said Carr.
Real Deals staff will also put together artificial floral arrangements– in wreath form, in containers sold in the store, or in those that customers already have– in traditional or funky ways. “There’s no charge to put it together,” Carr noted. Most of what is sold can be given as tasteful gifts, and one section of the store includes jewelry, scarves, and other bling for wearing instead of hanging on the walls. New merchandise comes in each week, so inventory changes frequently and stays on-trend. Weekly deals are offered on the shop’s Facebook site, at www.facebook.com/realdealsnorthliberty.
For those decorating a new home or a long-established one, those in need of fresh ideas to make old favorites feel modern again, or those just hoping for a colorful way usher in each new season, Real Deals on Home Décor is the place where one can dwell at length.
“We are retail therapists,” said Carr. “We just want people to enjoy where they live.