February 11, 2012
House of Luxe has variety of furs, styles and prices
Chip Ellis
Catherine Nutter holds a dark mink stroller style coat--the bestseller at House of Luxe on Quarrier Street.
Chip Ellis
A fur head band is among the accessories carried by Nutter.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Have you always wanted a fur coat? Are you thinking about buying one with that inheritance from your great aunt Ethel?

Well, Catherine Nutter at the House of Luxe has the fur coat for first-time buyers.

It's a 32-inch sheared mink stroller that's reversible. The lining is a water resistant fabric.

"It's my number one piece," she said. 

A first-time buyer comes in thinking she wants a traditional mink coat, but Nutter said she is always happy with the low-key sheared mink. "It's every bit as warm as a long fur coat."

She said of those customers, "They have waited and saved for their first fur coat. You want them to have something they are going to wear a lot."

The style may also be the answer to her older clients, who are her "bread and butter" customers. Like clock work, they bring their long, fur coats to House of Luxe at 817 Quarrier St. to be stored during the summer.

Most of older women, though, aren't buying new coats nor are they wearing their old ones. Nutter said the longer coats are too heavy for many older women to wear; they want warm, lighter coats.

So she's considering giving the women an allowance on a new purchase in exchange for their older fur apparel. That's because there are so many ways to recycle fur.

That heavy, tea-length mink coat can be altered into that trendy stroller. Cut off the bottom of the coat and use that fur to trim the collar, placket and sleeves.

A small mink stole can be reworked as trim on the front of a knitted vest or one made out of ultra suede or leather. 

Pointing to two stuffed animals on display, Nutter said. "Seven teddy bears were made out of one full-length mink coat. Those are 15-inch bears. I charge $10 an inch."

A first time customer may be surprised by the diversity of the House of Luxe merchandise. There's a long rack of fur-trimmed and decorated vests, some in bright colors. There're waist length jackets, coats that brush the ankle, cashmere capes and textile coats trimmed in fur.

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