Bulletin Board— August/September 2015

Wrought iron table, $350/three, Fifi and Coco’s, Birmingham, fifiandcoco.com.

A Sage Idea

Mackinac Island resort plants an herb ‘cocktail garden’

Mackinac Island’s east end landmark hotel, Mission Point, is harvesting lemon verbena, basil, and pineapple sage from its new Cocktail Garden to craft special beverages for resort guests. The new superintendent of gardens, John Van Etten, who worked at New York State’s Mohonk Mountain House (known widely for its lush grounds, lawns, and gardens), created the garden to grow flowers, herbs, and edible plants used in the creation of craft cocktails. In the height of summer, consider the resort’s gimlet, teeming with simple syrup infused with fresh basil and cucumber. Resort vice president and managing director W. Bradley McCallum, above, shared his favorite gimlet recipe with us, and says that when entertaining at home, he serves this drink in a chilled coupe. missionpoint.com


‘Cocktail Garden’ Gimlet from Mission Point Resort, Mackinac Island

2½ oz. Knickerbocker gin
½ oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice
½ oz. simple syrup, infused with fresh basil and cucumber**

Stir all components, with ice, quickly for several minutes. Let stand in ice for 1-2 additional minutes. Strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a slice of cucumber, slice of lime, and two basil leaves.

*Knickerbocker gin, made by New Holland Brewing in Holland, Mich., is a twice-distilled gin infused with flavors from a dozen herbs and spices. Juniper berry flavors create a citrus and evergreen body.

**Although you can buy simple syrup from many stores, you can make it at home; it’s sugar that has been made into a syrup by boiling it with water. The ratio of sugar to water is between 1:1 to 2:1. Simmer the mixture for about 10 minutes (add the basil and cucumber while it’s simmering), until the liquid has reduced to about half its original volume. Store in a tight container (like a Mason jar) in a cool place.


Cheers to the Coupe, Which is a …

Mission Point Resort’s McCallum prefers his gimlets served in a coupe glass. A bit about this traditionally shaped vessel: The coupe is a shallow, broad-bowled stemmed glass in which hosts and hostesses often serve champagne. It’s been around for centuries. Today, it’s often used to serve daiquiris. The wide bowl allows users to take in the drink’s fresh bouquet, including the very late-summer essence of this gimlet’s lime, basil, and cucumber ingredients. Below are some of our favorite coupes. — Megan Swoyer

From left: Waterford Mixology Assorted Color Coupes, $350/four, Greenstone’s Birmingham; William Yeoward Pearl Coupe, $295, Zieben Mare, Franklin; Baccarat Harcourt 1861 Coupe, $260, Slades West Bloomfield

Mix Master

Designer Markham Roberts stops at Grosse Pointe Farms’ antiques show with a book full of style-blending ideas

Designer Markham Roberts is known for his luxurious but livable interiors, adventurous use of color, and rooms that seamlessly blend traditional and contemporary elements. Roberts’ philosophy is explained in his sumptuous book, Decorating the Way I See It (The Vendome Press, $60).

The Indianapolis-born Roberts, who was in town in late May for a book signing and lecture at the Antiques, Garden & Design Show in Grosse Pointe Farms, trained with Mark Hampton before opening his own firm in 1997. Last year he was included in Architectural Digest’s AD100 list of top designers and architects. During a recent chat, Roberts revealed his passion for everything from glossy walls to cheery kitchens to a treasured spot at the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula:


Q: Should we mix antiques with contemporary?

A: “Different things from different periods or styles can certainly make each other look interesting. They’ll likely work together, so don’t be afraid to mix.”


Q: What are your favorite wall treatments?

A: “I love lacquer. There’s something about shiny, glossy things that attracts us. Cotton velvet is luxurious and absorbs sound. It’s also a fraction of the cost of silk velvet.”


Q: What did you learn from Mark Hampton?

A: “I learned how hard you have to work to get the job done right. Anybody can come up with a great idea, but to actually see it through to completion — that’s not an easy task.”


Q: What should every kitchen have?

A: “Everybody loves the kitchen; if you have a party, everyone gravitates there. My job is to make them look pretty, but I think the way a room feels is more important than the way it looks. I want to design something that’s cheery. I love painted floors; I love pretty surfaces and stones and backsplashes.”


Q: Did you enjoy Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula when you summered there?

A: “Yes. Northport Point is a beautiful place; I loved it when I was growing up. There’s nothing else like that part of the world. I miss it.” — George Bulanda

The Muse of Change

Gallery owner Eric Mourlot teams up with Ethan Allen to present rare lithographs

Ethan Allen is redesigning its image. Although still focused on the classics, the Connecticut-based furniture/design company, with five stores in metro Detroit, presents fresh ideas that bring clever twists and modern ideas into the mix. First, it introduced Muses — a 328-page book that distills what the company refers to as its “design DNA.” Seen through the “eyes” of 10 muses, from art to poetry to dance, design inspirations join tips and insights throughout the book, which features gorgeous photography and intriguing graphics and typefaces.

Second, beyond the book (it’s complimentary, at your local Ethan Allen), the company has partnered with Eric Mourlot and Galerie Mourlot in New York. Mourlot grew up in Paris and New York, and spent many of his childhood days at his grandfather’s Ateliers Mourlot in Paris. The Ateliers Mourlot was a print shop that opened in 1852. The shop, a hubbub of artistic activity, housed his granddad’s renowned lithograph press (the business employed commercial printers who turned out wallpaper and more, but because of the owner’s deep appreciation for art, he set aside one of his print shops for printing just art) and welcomed the likes of Picasso, Calder, Matisse, Chagall, Miro, and others so they could oversee production of limited-edition posters, many of which promoted their museum exhibitions. After the studio closed in 1999, the lithographs sat for years in a warehouse. Over time, they’ve become rare works of art and are now available  as part of the Ethan Allen Modern Masters Collection (shown at right).

At a special event at the Ethan Allen Novi store, held to showcase the Atelier Mourlot lithographs (and to launch Muses), Detroit Home was honored to spend a few minutes co-hosting Eric Mourlot’s presentation and Q&A session (see photos from the event in this issue’s Open House department). Below, sample a few insights into Mourlot and his Modern Masters Collection:


Q: Did you actually know these masters (noted above)? 

A: “I grew up two blocks from the print shop, so, yes, I have photos of my grandpa holding me as a 1-year-old with Picasso, and then with Calder when I was 5, and another with Chagall. At those ages, of course, I had many ‘philosophical conversations’ with them.”


Q: What is a lithograph? 

A: “I know, it’s not always easily understood, but basically it’s a work of art created by a process that results in pure ink on paper, rather than today’s typical pattern of printed dots.”


Q: What is the actual lithograph process? 

A: “It involves first drawing on a limestone or zinc plate in greasy crayon, then adding gum arabic to preserve the forms and, finally, adding ink to print the colors using multiple pressings. Litho is from the Greek word lithos, meaning stone — imagine carrying those heavy pieces of limestone up and down stairs to and from the studio. The process eventually gave way to zinc, (which is) much lighter.”


Q: What do you think about today’s less-expensive digital prints?

A: “Technology is great, but the quality isn’t the same. At the end of the day, the digital and mechanical process features little involvement from the artist. In lithography, an artist — and/or his craftsmen — is involved in the process.”


Q: What’s selling in the art world?  

A: “The art world is shutting down young, prolific talented artists for art that’s selling for millions of dollars that doesn’t make any sense — art that tries to shock people.” (Although the artists who worked with the Mourlot studio created some lithographs that may seem simple and elementary, they were true draftsmen who could draw, Mourlot contends.) “For example, when you see a Calder piece that features large circles of paint, you have to know that he was a superb artist and, little by little, he worked his way to what he thought would best represent his feelings and character.”


Q: In your opinion, what is art? 

A: “Art is a means of expression that allows people to show things that encourage interpretation. But I also look at how art can be a scam — many who call themselves artists shouldn’t, and are more interested in marketing. Art should inspire the viewer to do good. It changes you.”


Q: Are you enjoying your trips here in the Midwest? 

A: “Absolutely. I’ve had the best conversations about art in metro Detroit. You have an amazing art museum and also a lot of collectors of great art, including lithographs.”


Q: Do you have a favorite artist? 

A: “Fernand Leger. You can’t help but like the artist. The son of a farmer, he is the artistic poet of ‘industry.’ ” ethanallen.com, mourlot.info — Megan Swoyer

Pass the Bling!

Corey Damen Jenkins sets a pretty table to remember

When interior designer Corey Damen Jenkins, of Bloomfield Hills, set a table for the 2015 Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS’ (DIFFA) annual Dining by Design event in New York City, he incorporated a world of style. It was wild and glamorous, traditional and irreverent: bursting with the brilliant blues of Caribbean waves, surrounded by leafy greens reminiscent of a Brazilian jungle, and set with the shimmering, mosaic colors of the sun-drenched Italian Riviera. Jenkins, who’s been featured on HGTV and is Fashion Group International’s 2012 Designer of the Year, worked with Beacon Hill fabrics from Robert Allen. “Using Beacon Hill’s Maravilha — which means ‘wonder’ — fabric line allowed me to mix and meld Bohemian and classic styles,” he says.


Q: What was your tableware of choice?

A: Arte Italica dishes. “I wanted something classy and traditional that would glimmer.” For an organic pop of color, he placed a bed of fresh moss at each setting, topped with a pastel succulent.


Q: Did you use a special motif?

A: Branch-like accents, “To ask and inspire: ‘How are you branching out this year? How are you growing?’ Even the ’70s-style table lamps are entwined with branches and vines!”


Q: Any finishing touches?

A: Jewelry. Think beribboned, blue-toned necklaces and cameos.


Q: Do you live by any party standards?

A: “Although some say, ‘Better late than never,’ I say, ‘Better, never late!’” coreydamenjenkins.com — Honey Murray

Nature’s Way: Corey Damen Jenkins and his discerning taste turned out this stunning tablescape, replete with Beacon Hill fabrics, moss, pastel succulents (they’re real!), branch-inspired wares, and more. Delicioso!

Happy 75th!

Tom Lias reflects on Gorman’s growth

Gorman’s Furniture just turned 75, and president, COO, and partner Tom Lias says it’s been one of the company’s busiest years ever.

In a visit with Detroit Home, Lias contemplates decades past and looks forward to what’s next. It appears Gorman’s will not go into its 76th year with feet propped on an ottoman.


Q: How did Gorman’s start?

A: “It was actually a railroad salvage retail store started by Ben Gorman in 1940. He sold cans of food that had been damaged during train transport. Eventually, Ben also began repairing and selling damaged furniture.” The company now has locations in Southfield, Troy, Novi, Shelby Township, and Grand Rapids.


Q: Do you have a favorite memory?

A: “I’ve been with the company 31 years and, about 20 years ago, we decided to broaden our footprint and become more approachable to markets other than high-end. We invented an Intro line — affordable, high style, high-quality — and even trademarked the word ‘Intro.’ It’s an exciting and impactful memory!”


Q: What your personal favorite furniture style?

A: “My wife and I like the New Traditional style. It’s classic but has cleaner, straighter lines and a lighter scale.”


Q: What won’t be seen at the Lias home?

A: “Big, overstuffed furniture!”


Q: What’s on the horizon?

A: “We’re looking at opening a clearance center in the metro Detroit area.” gormans.com — Honey Murray

West Side Story

KSI Kitchen & Bath opens Ann Arbor Design Center; expands into new areas

Brighton-based KSI Kitchen & Bath has opened a location in Ann Arbor (3365 Washtenaw Ave.). It’s the company’s seventh design center, and features a design team on-site to help homeowners through the sometimes daunting task of planning and implementing a remodeling project.

Customers can check out vignettes showcasing the latest trends in cabinetry, countertops, and other kitchen and bath products from leading manufacturers. KSI designers are also expanding beyond kitchens and bathrooms to support new-home builds and remodeling spaces such as mud rooms, entertainment rooms, offices, and other areas of the home or garage. ksikitchens.com