Art Central

When inviting spaces are part of the plan, these designers create stunning focal points above the sofa

FURNISHINGS | inspired designers



WHO: Principal designer Donna Brown, of Northville-based Dazzling Designs, believes exceptional design is a blend of function, lifestyle, and aesthetics. Celebrating her silver anniversary in business, Brown’s attention to detail, industry knowledge, and creativity have served her clients well. The full-service design firm handles both commercial and residential projects including renovations, new construction, and individual space planning.

DESIGNER’S GOAL: The space above was designed for a Celebrations Around the World event at Michigan Design Center in Troy. Brown’s Grand Cayman Penthouse Suite vignette mixes luxury with the atmosphere of spending the day relaxing on a western Caribbean beach. The tropical palette is reflected in both the oversized artwork hanging above an understated sofa, and the beautiful custom silk-and-wool handwoven rug from Ghiordes Knot. “I started with the rug as my main inspiration and selected a sofa with a tufted back, which adds some formality,” Brown says. “The bookshelves with lattice sides and dark wood tones display personal belongings reflecting family and time spent on the island.”

INFO: 248-380-5043


Donna’s Art-Selection Design Tips

• Art can be oversized and should be placed at eye level.
• Groupings of art are great — pieces can be installed randomly or in a pattern.
• When installing artwork measure twice, verify heights, and check for center.

“You want to have art that speaks to you and, more importantly, makes you happy.” – Donna Brown


Hexafleur chair, starting at $2,636, Henredon Interior Design Showroom, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Rainwashed (suggested paint), Sherwin-Williams,

Worldly Gray (suggested paint), Sherwin-Williams,

Comfort Gray (suggested paint), Sherwin-Williams,

Maitland-Smith faux ebony finished openwork bookcase with glass shelves, $4,497, Henredon Interior Design Showroom, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Diana bust, to the trade, Studio A Home, Crescent side table, starting at $2,385, Henredon Interior Design Showroom, Michigan Design Center, Troy



WHO: Award-winning interior designer Katie Rodriguez, below right, has more than a decade of experience creating projects both large and small. As principal designer of Birmingham-based Katie Rodriguez Design, she has a pragmatic approach to creating luxury homes and signature commercial projects is based on the philosophy that every project that’s built on the strong foundation of endless research, a profound client relationship, and Rodriquez’s tailored vision.

DESIGNER’S GOAL: Rodriguez’s intention for the multipurpose, peaceful space shown below was to create a place in which the Birmingham homeowners could enjoy a good book, or step away and answer emails. “This room is one of the first things you see as you enter the home, and the artwork is a central focal point,” Rodriguez says. “The intent was to provide something that was both dynamic and peaceful.” The designer commissioned the artwork from The Art of Custom Framing in Troy. “I try to steer away from art that’s too small,” she says. “If you have something that’s small but important to display, I advise grouping it together with similar items, for a greater impact.”

INFO: 248-990-0402,


Katie’s Art-Selection Design Tips

• Consider the mood you want to create and go from there.
• Think about color, subject matter, and the scale of the artwork in relation to the sofa before commissioning or purchasing a piece of art.

“The thin profile of the aura pendant enhances the center line, highlighting the commissioned artwork and craftsmanship of the coffered ceiling.” – Katie Rodriguez


Hubbardton Forge Aura LED pendant, to the trade, Lighting Resource Studio, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Suri alpaca fur square pillow cover in Natural (similar to one in room photo), $171, RH, Somerset Collection, Troy
Kestrel White paint, Sherwin-Williams,

Sculptural sphere in silver, $39, West Elm, Birmingham
Pampano handwoven wool rug in Earth, price upon request, metro Detroit Hagopian showrooms, Arteriors Dryden accent table, $540, Lighting Resource Studio, Michigan Design Center, Troy