Bob's Big Boys
The news about Deep Ellum continues with Life of Riley, a new furnishings and lifestyle store opening at 2646 Main St. in spring 2014. It comes from designers Billy Milner and Jerod Dame, who aim to do more than sell you a living room couch.
"Life of Riley is a reference to a specific kind of lifestyle," Milner says. "It will be a lifestyle store, which Dallas doesn’t have a whole lot of; Timothy Oulton is a lifestyle store. It touches on all different categories, everything from greeting cards to furniture to gifts. It'll be geared towards the downtown/Deep Ellum client, with a very strong mix of new and vintage."
"Life of Riley is a reference to a specific kind of lifestyle," says co-founder Billy Milner. "It will be a lifestyle store, which Dallas doesn’t have a whole lot of."
Milner says he already has two warehouses filled with intriguing merchandise and is stocking a third. "I'm a collector for sure," he says. "We had a profile done of our loft, and if you've ever seen that, it will be the look and feel of the store. We'll even have some food items, although we haven't decided what. It's going to be set up like a general store, but a modern version."
Milner and Dame's style is bright, busy and colorful, an artful juxtaposition of new and old, elegant and quirky, with a cartoonish quality embodied by the collection of Bob's Big Boy statues that occupy their loft.
Construction on the store began this week. It took them four months to get the proper permits from the city, due both to the usual Dallas bureaucracy and the fact that they're going into an older building that lacked fire doors.
Their solution is to add a hallway down the middle that will divide the space in two. Life of Riley will be on the left side; an art gallery will take the space on the right.
Milner had a store in Atlanta several years ago, which he sold and moved to Dallas. He's been doing interior design work and has lived in Deep Ellum since 2007. He was approached by Deep Ellum developer Scott Rohrman last year who sought his advice on how to make the neighborhood thrive.
"He asked me, as someone who lives in the neighborhood, for feedback on what the neighborhood would want," Milner says. "After talking to them for a couple months, I found myself switching from telling them what I would want to see in a neighborhood, to 'How about if I just do what I want?'"
And what that will be is something that he says touches on all five senses.
"What most people say when they see our place is, 'This is sensory overload,'" he says. "Everybody has to take a couple laps around. The store is very much going to be the same way."