We talk antiques, contemporary furnishings, and the family behind the a long-standing Tulsa showroom and design studio | Sponsored Content
The story of SR Hughes, a luxury showroom and interior design studio based in Tulsa, begins at home. Beth Sachse and Sallie Hughes decided to open a business they felt their mother, Sara Rodgers Hughes, would enjoy running with them—and an antiques business seemed like a no-brainer. “She had always collected antiques, had a natural talent for interior design, and loved to travel,” Beth says of her mother’s interests and inspirations. The trio named the company SR Hughes & Daughters and opened up shop in a small house in 1980.
Forty years later, SR Hughes has grown to encompass so much more—including a team of talented interior designers and a collection of world-class brands of furniture and décor. SR Hughes remains a woman-owned and family-oriented business. The company’s spacious Tulsa showroom is open to designers, clients, and walk-ins. Here, Beth spoke with At Home in Arkansas about what makes her family’s business so special.
At Home in Arkansas: Tell us a little about the early years of SR Hughes and how it has grown.
SR Hughes: After opening, our business graduated quickly from collecting antiques in surrounding states to twice yearly trips to England. The design end of the business began organically shortly thereafter. We would rearrange a room to accommodate a new piece of furniture, and one thing led to another! We built our design library alongside our showroom creating what we hoped would be an inspiring destination and resource.
In the mid ’80s, we sold the antiques to a prominent North Carolina dealer. Mother was so proud of our collection featured on the cover of Antiques magazine after the sale! For a short while we focused only on interior design business, but quickly missed the draw of people to our curated collection of furnishing, lighting, rugs, and accessories. We partnered with a Dallas business making reproduction French furniture for our second storefront alongside our interior design business. The combination of showroom display pieces, custom ordering, and interior design services became our business model.
AHIA: How would you describe the style of furnishings available today at SR Hughes?
SRH: By the mid-’90s, travel abroad and exposure to the mix of contemporary modern furnishings and antiques led us to begin incorporating modern furniture, lighting and accessories. The juxtaposition of new and old is our comfort zone. We hope to keep convincing clients to freshen up the traditional with contemporary modern pieces that, alongside existing treasures, will be passed down for generations and become family heirlooms.
The showroom is an ever-changing collection of classic modern furnishings from manufacturers and designers in Italy, France, Sweden, Canada, and the U.S., all of whom make authentic, lasting pieces that meet our quality and sustainability standards with smatterings of primitives that offer texture and tradition (as the antiques had) and a tie with other cultures.
“The juxtaposition of new and old is our comfort zone.”
— Beth Sachse, SR Hughes
AHIA: What are some of the lines SR Hughes carries, and what makes them special?
SRH: Two of the Italian furnishing lines that we have represented from nearly the beginning of our expansion to contemporary modern furnishings are Cassina and B&B Italia. Both are internationally acclaimed Italian furniture design and manufacturing companies built on technological, creative, and design innovations, and both lines really anchor our showroom furnishings and what we offer custom for entire homes.
Imperfetto is a small, family-owned furnishing and accessories line. Many of their pieces offer more of a hand-touched and organic feel, similar to the primitive pieces that we have curated in the past. This line provides texture to the contemporary modern offerings that is at the core of our showroom and designs.
Apparatus is a New York-based design studio that has become a lighting darling in the design industry and has expanded to furnishings and accessories. Their modern designs harken historic and cultural authenticity and have had an electric connection with our customers. Their designs involve materials like marble, suede, horsehair, porcelain, and brass combined with hand finishes that make their pieces feel like found treasure.
We have curated a collection of lines that offer inspiration, quality, and beauty—each in an individual and noteworthy way. All of our manufacturers are committed to the highest quality of design, innovation, and workmanship—we are honored that we are able to bring these works to Oklahoma and Arkansas. We work hard to keep our display pieces both current and relatable for our region of the country.
AHIA: What does the SR Hughes team look like today? Does it remain a family-focused business, and how so?
SRH: My sister and I are still involved in selecting items for the store as well as design jobs. My son, Brian Sachse, is primarily involved in the architectural decisions of design. We have two designers as well as a showroom sales lead who handles the complicated world of customizing orders from the 25 brands we represent. Our two nieces are in charge of expanding our world through communications and keeping the business end straight.
Everybody supports and participates in most everything related to the showroom, so that our work within our main roles is informed and effective. We’re still a family business, with five family members and three adopted ones. As they say, “It takes a village!”