Blog • 9 mins • Tuesday January 16, 2024

Leather for Every Lifestyle

Introducing Green Front’s New Leather Gallery in Building 7

“It’s more than just leather. It’s the building. It’s the product. It’s the whole vibe.”
— Green Front President & CEO Den Cralle

Leather has always been a staple at Green Front. It’s the best of both worlds — a hard-wearing material that is as beautiful as it is practical. This is why our new showroom in the historic Building 7 is devoted exclusively to high-quality leather.

From the outset, our founder Dickie Cralle forged strong relationships with North Carolina leather manufacturers like Hancock & Moore, Whittemore Sherrill, Bradington-Young, Leathercraft, Eleanor Rigby and Carolina Custom Leather. Dickie even invested in some of their pieces for his own home, many of which he still has! And today, we’re proud to say that the majority of our leather collection is American made with a significant portion crafted right here in our backyard. In Building 7, we’ve curated a diverse and inspiring selection that showcases the boundless potential of leather. It’s not just about displaying different pieces. It’s about sparking creativity and highlighting versatility. We already have the best rug gallery in the country, and we’re excited to present what we believe is the finest leather gallery around. So, let’s dive into the fascinating history of Building 7, its inspiring transformation and a sneak peek into our newest showroom, featuring an array of leather styles, beloved bestsellers and more.

Green Front’s Historic Building 7

Green Front’s Building 7 boasts a rich history. In the 19th and 20th centuries, Farmville made a name for itself as a tobacco town — the fourth-largest producer in the state. Originally known as the “Randolph warehouse” or the “old warehouse,” Building 7 was built around the turn of the 19th century by Judith Randolph. Strategically positioned along the Appomattox River, it served as an ideal auction house for tobacco planters. Its lower level, which once housed mule stables and now hosts the Virginia Tasting Cellar, saw countless barges loaded with tobacco destined for the Chesapeake Bay and European shores.

In a remarkable stroke of luck, Building 7 narrowly escaped destruction in the Great Farmville Fire of 1898, which destroyed over 40 structures. Firefighters climbed onto the metal roof, extinguishing firebrands that jumped to its surface. 
For much of the 20th century, Building 7, along with neighboring Buildings 8, 9 and 10 — owned by W.G. Dunnington and functioning as prizeries — continued to fuel Virginia’s tobacco trade. The warehouses first dealt in dark-fired tobaccos, then flue-cured or bright tobaccos. In 1991, Green Front saw the potential in these structures, and Building 7 embarked on a new journey as a furniture showroom and then a rug clearance center. Now, over thirty years later, this historic space has transformed into a high-end leather gallery, showcasing products from North Carolina and beyond.

Revitalizing Building 7

Building 7’s claim to fame was once the gorgeous piles of hand-tufted, machine-made and discounted rugs. But when we decided to transition this space into our exclusive leather collection and move the rugs to join the main gallery in Buildings 1-4, we saw incredible potential.

Missing the rugs? Don’t worry! We still have hundreds of rugs — at amazing prices — now in Buildings 1-4.

From the high-beamed ceilings to the original wooden floors patched with sheets of metal, each square inch was steeped in history. In reimagining this space, our vision was clear: honor its rich past while creating the perfect backdrop for leather.

One of the first projects was introducing fireplaces. These became natural focal points, showcasing our leather in unique settings — from rugged, ranch-style stone to cozy, cabin-style beams. We meticulously salvaged and repurposed milled stone and reclaimed wood to preserve the historic, rustic vibes of the space. 

Second step? We brought in lighting experts to design strategic recessed lights to highlight Building 7’s original ceiling beams, enhancing its rugged charm. And finally — for the showstopper — we opened up the back of the building with large, bright windows, revealing breathtaking views of the Appomattox River. This connection to the outdoors complements leather’s natural essence, blending indoor luxury with the beauty of nature.

Showcasing Leather: Timeless Elegance to Modern Comfort

As we designed our new leather gallery, we focused on two key aspects of leather’s charm:

First, leather is nothing if not versatile. It’s fascinating to see how it adapts to different styles, from the classic to the uniquely Western to the ultra-modern. The way leather interacts with various decor elements like occasional tables and rug designs can completely transform a space.

Secondly, leather suits every lifestyle. Try pairing leather with cozy sheep hides or a bold rug. Go a little wild with Western decor. And remember — almost every piece in our showroom can be customized to your individual taste! The whole point is to play. Selecting the right type of leather finish — whether it’s aniline, semi-aniline or wax-protected — lets you tailor how your piece will function in your home and how it will age. It’s all about discovering a style that truly speaks to you.

Now, let’s delve into some of Green Front’s premium offerings:

Traditional Leather

Perfect for cozy living or a professional executive office, traditional leather styles exude timeless elegance paired with livable comfort. Expect to see classic features like rolled arms, casters, nailhead trim and tufting as well as shinier waxed finishes in colors like dark brown, black, navy and burgundy. As these pieces age, they develop a unique patina, which only enhances their beauty. 

Hancock & Moore
Carolina Custom Leather
Carolina Custom Leather

Western Leather

Outfitting a mountain or lake house? Look no further than our Western-inspired collections. Think classic Americana, Colorado mountain house, Yellowstone ranch vibes.

Discover rugged yet sophisticated pieces, like Eleanor Rigby’s sofas featuring burnishing and whipstitch details. And don’t forget that Western leather goes beyond sofas, extending to every room of your home. Don’t miss Hancock & Moore’s luxurious leather beds! Mix and match materials with Leathercraft’s hair-on-hide chairs. Or for rustic, ranch-style vibes, explore Green Gables’ Yellowstone collection, which also features hardwood occasional and case goods. 

Green Gables’ Yellowstone Collection

Leather pro-tip: Remember that unprotected leather — full-grain leather — only gets better with age. Texture softens. Color darkens. It looks authentic and lived in. A rich sheen, known as patina, develops, which is characteristic of all high-quality leather. 

Eleanor Rigby Monroe swivel
Hancock & Moore Milan sofa (L); Eleanor Rigby Callie sofa (R)

Modern Leather

For a more contemporary flair, our Montana-modern style features clean lines, architectural details, a lower profile design and a lighter wood grain. Explore a contemporary color palette, including whites, grays and blues. You’ll also find materials like suedes and shearlings, as well as a modern take on traditional accents. Manufacturers like Eleanor Rigby, Hancock & Moore and Carolina Custom Leather lead the way in this sleek, minimalist aesthetic.

And Don’t Forget the Leather Accessories!

What’s a leather journey without a nod to bags? Centerstage in our gallery is a boutique area dedicated to Moore & Giles‘ luxurious accessories and gifts. This local Lynchburg brand not only sources the world’s finest leathers, but it also supplies many of our furniture manufacturers with quality hides. Explore a variety of shoulder bags, including leather tote bags, crossbody handbags and fine leather purses. You’ll also find small leather goods such as journals, passport holders, wallets, belts and flasks.

While you’re exploring, check out Den’s personal favorite, the Brompton Brown Benedict leather weekend bag, which he’s used for years: “It’s only gotten better with age.”

Top Picks: Green Front Leather Sofas You’ll Love

Hancock & Moore’s Austin Sofa

Imagine sinking into the rolled arms and traditional bustle back of Hancock & Moore’s Austin sofa. It’s a classic for a reason, offering both style and support. Exposed wood feet and nailhead details give a nod to its enduring charm. Dickie Cralle himself has enjoyed this piece in his den for years.nmmjm

Bradington-Young’s Richardson Sofa

Bradington-Young’s Richardson sofa is a masterclass in blending styles. With its gently curved back, exposed wood feet and tasteful nailhead trim, it’s a truly sophisticated transitional design. Hand-tailored upholstery maintains a sharp, polished look.

Eleanor Rigby’s Downtown Cowboy Sofa

For the perfect blend of modern and western, meet Eleanor Rigby’s Downtown Cowboy sofa. This ruggedly handsome and versatile design, featuring hand-stitched whipstitch detailing and hand-applied finish, suits both a downtown loft and a mountain house. Available as a sofa or sectional in a range of leathers — including stunning hair-on-hide accented options — this piece can be fully customized down to the wood leg finish. 

Our Showstopper: Hancock & Moore’s Buttoncraft Sofa

A tour-de-force of leather, Hancock & Moore’s Buttoncraft sofa is that wow piece you’ve been seeking. Hand tufting and nailhead trim add architectural elegance, while a finished top and tight back allow it to float in a room, offering versatile placement and use.

Fabrics May Go Out of Style, But Leather Never Will

Once you’ve explored our leather showroom, you’ll see that it’s not just furniture — it’s an entire experience. 

And remember, Building 7 is just the start of the leather story at Green Front. Searching for motion furniture? Explore Green Front Work + Play in Building 12. And don’t miss out on the leather offerings from custom upholstery brands like CR Laine (Building 8) and Wesley Hall (Building 9), where many frames come with leather options.

We understand that investing in fine leather furniture is a big decision, but it’s one that pays off in the long run. Our showroom is brimming with choices, ready for you to pick and purchase directly off the floor or from our warehouse. And if you’re looking for something more personalized, we’re happy to help you order a custom-made piece that fits your exact needs and style.

Ultimately, we’re confident that you’ll love your choice in leather. As Den says, “It’ll last, and it won’t go out of style. Leather has longevity. The longer you have it, the better it looks.”

That’s the charm of leather.


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