Today’s consumers don’t expect their goods to last, as everything from dining room sets to dishwashers are intentionally built with a short lifespan. The old saying, “They just don’t make them like they used to” is very much the truth. Calgary Interiors Corp. has been slow to take up this trend of planned obsolescence and instead has continued with its 55-year-old promise to provide the highest-quality custom furniture and service to its residential and commercial clients.
Since Steve Wenzel started the company in 1963, the family has applied the same high standards to every furniture piece that leaves the shop. Over the years, they established a reputation for excellence that made Calgary Interiors a go-to shop for designers, contractors and private clients looking for craftsmanship and quality. When his sons, Jeff and Kevin, took over the business in 1998, they updated and changed aspects as a necessity but were careful to preserve the core of what made Calgary Interiors an enduring success.
“Our number one objective is our quality and workmanship. That is what we’ve based our business around,” says Jeff Wenzel.
The brothers grew up in the workshop, spending their weekends and school breaks learning to strip furniture and work the tools from the age of 12. Despite that early exposure, neither of the boys were initially sure they wanted to join the family business. As they got older, the draw became stronger and both brothers tailored their education to support their goal of taking over Calgary Interiors. Kevin studied industrial design while Jeff earned a business degree, creating a great balance in the office; Kevin works on the commercial side of the business and helps in design and manufacturing, while Jeff supports designers on the residential side and lends a hand in upholstery and finishings.
“Working here with my brother and dad – it’s nice to come to work. We have the ability to do the things we want to do, the way we want to do them; the ability to create with the people we have working for us, who are part of the family too,” says Kevin Wenzel.
The staff of 14 share in the Wenzels’ philosophy of using the best materials to create an amazing piece of furniture, paying close attention to the smallest details and ensuring complete customer satisfaction. With 350 years of combined experience in the shop, the results are second to none. The company’s work graces iconic hotels including the Banff Springs Hotel and the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge as well as hundreds of restaurants including Bridgette Bar, Vin Room, Fergus & Bix, and Kinjo Sushi & Grill.
Private clients and designers love to work with Calgary Interiors as well, knowing they are supporting a local, trustworthy company. Whether they are after a striking upholstered headboard or spectacular custom sofa, they know that Calgary Interiors can do it all.
The Wenzels pride themselves on being a custom shop. Clients often come in with a magazine featuring a dream piece, photos of a few different pieces that they want combined into one, or a simple sketch on a napkin, and they know Calgary Interiors will be able to reproduce it. With access to more than 50 fabric suppliers including a Calgary exclusive with Premier Prints, a line by television’s Property Brothers, there is something that will appeal to every taste and style.
“We don’t call it custom because you can choose between five different fabrics like other shops. It’s custom in that you choose the kind of foam you want, the size of the arms, the length, the shape, the stain colour of the wood, the fabric. It’s completely custom,” says Jeff.
These custom pieces are completed in eight to 10 weeks, which is often quicker than many box stores can ship cookie-cutter pieces from their warehouses. And because Calgary Interiors is a local company, clients can come into the showroom to see the quality of the work first hand. They can sit on the sofas and chairs, talk to in-house designer Andrea Wilkie about their needs, see the different fabrics and wood options before making their choice, and they can even see their piece in various stages of production to ensure it is what they envisioned.
While Calgary Interiors is best known for customizing furniture, now clients can also choose from the high-quality, beautiful pieces in the recently introduced original line, all designed by Kevin. The company is also launching its Quick Ship line of beds for clients who want quality and style but don’t need a custom design. Clients who fall in love with these unique showroom pieces from the new line can receive them more quickly and economically than custom. It’s just another way to better serve clients’ needs.
Calgary Interiors has been customer-focused for 55 years and the brothers learned early that the details matter. The staff treats every custom piece they are working on like it was commissioned by their own families. If it’s not good enough for their own homes, it’s certainly not good enough for their clients. After all, the Wenzels’ designs are built to last for decades, and they want to make sure clients are satisfied for just as long.
“We like making sure people are happy, down to the littlest detail,” says Kevin. “We want to grow but the growth of the company is from continuing to give people a great product and for them to know that the sofa is going to last 20-plus years. That is why everyone should come see us.”
Calgarians are coming to see them in droves. Customers, many of whom are repeat and generational clients, return to Calgary Interiors to get new custom furnishings as well as to repair or reupholster their existing pieces. Re-covering sofas and chairs with different colours and patterns is a great way to refresh the timeless designs and to get even more life out of these durable constructions. This eco-conscious choice saves clients money and keeps items out of the landfill.
“We have lines of fabrics and foams that are eco-friendly. But the very nature of our business is eco-friendly because we’re reusing, refurbishing, rather than taking the sofa to the landfill,” says Jeff.
This family-owned company knows the value of well-built furniture and its clients appreciate the creativity and workmanship that go into every piece. The motto is ‘limited only by the imagination’ and given the incredible original designs and ability to bring a client’s vision to life, it’s fair to say there is no limit to what Calgary Interiors can do.