Showing his metal

Posted on 23 Nov 2012 at 8:30am

Anteks has always showcased rustic decor. Now owner Jason Lenox is taking a stab at design, too

Jason-Lenox-portrait

LODGE LOVE | Jason Lenox, above, turned his eye for Southwestern chic on a collection of silver-nickel accessories, including a cigar rest, below, and a curio box, bottom.

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor

The-Art-issue-2012-logoIn the 17 years that Jason Lenox has been running Anteks, his family’s 30-year-old business, the one rule has been this: “Provide people with uniquely American lifestyle furnishings.” One thing he does not call it is “Southwestern.”

“Our style is sophisticated rustic,” Lenox stresses — whatever that means.

And what that means at Anteks is a warming assortment of earth-toned furniture, trinkets, art and décor that has marked the shop for decades. From the animal-hide upholstery to the collection of antique American flags, Lenox has carved a recognizable niche for himself.

And carving seems to play a part in much of the work anyway: Rough-hewn woods and classic club chairs exude the comfortable masculinity of a mountain lodge.

It’s a style that Lenox — who lives with his longtime partner, Matt, in the Kessler Park area of Oak Cliff — has carefully cultivated, lending his hand to the look of many items on his showroom floor. Despite its name, Anteks is not full of antiques, but new, specialty items that meet Lenox’s standards. When he orders furniture from manufacturers, Lenox rarely takes products as-is; rather, he has them customize pieces to fit with Anteks’ aesthetic.

J.-Alexander-collection7 “All my designs start with me thinking, ‘What would someone want to buy or use that could be easily adapted’” to a variety of purposes, he says.

In recent weeks, though, he has expanded his hand as a designer, going so far as to manufacture his own line of home décor pieces available at Anteks.

“I have no background [in metal design], I just love collecting Native American works,” he says of his newfound interest. “I just saw [similar] stuff in a shop in Albuquerque and I thought, ‘I could do that.’”

The results are hand-tooled pieces shaped then stamped with a die. Individual dies are tweaked, adding gemstones or other details, so that most are unique.

The line, made of a copper-nickel alloy that carries the look and weight of hammered silver, ranges from jewelry boxes to curio cases, picture frames to ashtrays and cigar rests — all the kinds of things Lenox himself likes to surround himself with.

Other retailers have already expressed an interest in the collection, which Lenox says will continue to grow, as new ideas come to him all the time. What it all amounts to is an engaging selection of the manliest of gifts, all with a careful sense of design.

Lenox rejects the idea, though, that the style belongs only in a ranch house next to a gun rack; despite the persistent appearance of antlers and fur, it’s a cozy shop — and it is a shop.

J.-Alexander-ashtray-Since moving from Lovers Lane to the Design District nearly four years ago, Lenox says one of the biggest challenges is reminding people that the area isn’t just for buyers, designers and corporate clients; there are many retail businesses along Dragon Street, Slocum Street, Hi

Line Drive and the other avenues that make up the region. “So many people don’t know you can just pop your head in here,” he says.

But that perception is changing. With the influx in recent years of dining options (Oak, Meddlesome Moth and most recently FT33 — see story on Page 19) and residential developments, in addition to the growth of many galleries, the area is slowly becoming its own destination. “There’s a lot to see here,” Lenox says. “[The Design District] is open to the public.”

Anteks Home Furnishings, 1135 Dragon St. 214-528-5567. AnteksHome.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 23, 2012.

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