Story by Jo-Ann Jennings found on BixbyBulletin.com
The way Clinton Taylor describes furniture made at The Refuge Lifestyle in Bixby is that logs go in the back door of the workshop, and furniture comes out the front door. But anyone visiting the shop during a hot summer day knows building log and Western furniture by hand is not that easy. It involves artistry, sawdust, dirt, sweat, dedication — and love.
In spite of the intense heat, it’s obvious the artists of The Refuge continue to stay at it with expertise, camaraderie, concentration and looking out for one another. They’re a family.
“The men who build this furniture live the lifestyle,” says Donna Laster, who runs the store at 7699 E. 151st St. South in Bixby. “They love the genre. You can get anything, Everything is handcrafted. It takes an artist and a metal cutter to bring these things to life.” She pointed to an enormous log bed. “The carpenter loved that bed into existence.” In addition, the metal cutter had carefully created a bear and deer scene in the headboard; a lamp hanging above it was also done in carefully cut metal detail.
Laster said many people experience nostalgia mixed with awe when walking into the store for the first time.
“This furniture takes you back to your roots and evokes memories of safety, home and family.” She agreed the rustic style isn’t for everyone, but the business itself was created by people who couldn’t find furniture anywhere else that fit well into a log home; but they did find one another and teamed up. “We got together to fill a void. It all goes back to that ‘It’s not just furniture or an accessory.’”
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