READERS' PICK: Want an authentic teak end-table? A mahogany desk big enough to launch attack aircraft? Fiendishly clever recessed track lighting, and brushed-aluminum picture frames? Staffed by giant Vikings from the land of the fjords, Copenhagen is a class act among Tucson's many furniture stores, the kind of place where you can ask endless questions and beg advice while finding solidly built household items that won't cost you a fortune -- but, we hasten to add, aren't cheap, either.
READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: American Home Furnishings, 4690 N. Oracle Road, beckons with its glowing red sign in the northern shadow of the Tucson Mall. Take the elevator from the covered parking garage, and you emerge into a world of couches, overstuffed leather chairs, dinettes, bedroom sets and armoires in every popular Western and Southwestern style, from rustic Mexican to more refined, contemporary prints and pastels. Whatever you need, you'll find at least one -- if not a hundred -- here. Every style of upholstered furniture can be special ordered at no extra charge from an array of fabrics. But the best deals for those on a budget are to be had at the AHF Warehouse, located at Prince and I-10. You'll find much of the same stuff as in the showroom, plus discontinued and clearance items often at substantial discounts. They'll deliver it to your home for a flat $20, no matter how big or how small your order.
MORE MANIA: Arroyo Designs, 224 N. Fourth Ave. Though the Old Pueblo is home to a wide array of furniture options, from basic and affordable to fairly high-end, much of it is commercially mass-produced in that faux rustic Mexican niche. But we also boast a number of much smaller custom artisans, and the best of these is Arroyo Designs. The craftsmen at Arroyo build one-off pieces in a range of classic forms, with an emphasis on Arts and Craft stylings. Mesquite is the usual choice for primary wood; an extraordinarily difficult wood to cut, cure, work and finish. What makes these pieces so compelling is the contrast between the traditionally clean, elegant designs and the knots, wormholes and flaws inherent to mesquite lumber. These imperfections, rather than disguised or hidden, are featured in the work, often filled with black epoxy to further accentuate their presence. Small touches like contrasting ironwood pegs through mortise and tenon joints complement the effect. The Arroyo showroom is a good place to begin, whether to discuss a particular need, purchase a display piece, or merely savor the elegance of fine craftmanship.