What started as a home furnishing and design dream became a local staple in Norman spanning over 60 years.
Bob and Sara Jean Calonkey opened Mister Robert Fine Furniture & Design on Oct. 1, 1958. The single storefront facing Norman’s historic Main Street offered high-end, designer furniture unlike any in the area, a mantra still held today.
Talented designers continue to provide interior design services for residential and commercial spaces. With over 20,000 square feet of showroom space, the store features a variety of American-made furnishings including custom furniture, decorative lamps and a wide range of original artwork. Special pieces are imported from places such as Vietnam and Philippines.
Customized pieces are available in-store or online and can be crafted to the client’s specifications. These pieces are available for pick-up or delivery, even beyond the state’s borders, says Keven Calonkey Carl, daughter of founders Bob and Sara Jean Calonkey, who assumed leadership at Mister Robert two years ago.
Carl – a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and is certified by the National Council for Interior Design Qualifications (NCIDQ) – has operated and expanded the family business to include a brighter showroom and more contemporary aesthetics.
“I was raised in this business, literally in the same location on Main Street where it all began,” Carl said. “Mom would take me on calls with her when I was a toddler, bringing coloring books with me, but I always listened, always learning. I would come here after school, on weekends, always listening, always learning the best ways to style a home.”
Carl knew she would work and eventually run the business after her parents. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in interior design, the only person in her family with an Interior Design degree. This would eventually lead to a standard held for the future of the company.
“For me, it’s important to have professionalism when it comes to designing a person’s home. All of our designers have a degree in interior design, something you don’t find when you go to other sites,” Carl said. “I feel this allows us to personalize each project with a little more education toward a client’s needs, whether it be traditional or contemporary.”
Clients continue to use quality furnishings that speak to the owner’s personality, using the store’s friendly environment and each designer’s knowledge of current and traditional interior design. Designing the perfect place for a client starts with listening to the client’s needs and meeting the challenge each time, says Carl.
“We make sure we listen to the clients and give them the interior they want with a design they’ll be proud of now and in years to come,” Carl said. “In the end, most of our clients become friends, something my parents always strived for. Around 62 years later, we are still beautifying Oklahoma, one room at a time.”