One Good Party
If this Bloomfield designer sends you an invite, be sure to RSVP yes!
When folks from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and The HOPE (Helping Others through Partnership and Education) Fund asked interior designer Paul Feiten (right) of Bloomfield Hills-based Paul Feiten Design, to host a fundraiser at his French regency-style home for about 130 people, he responded with a generous “yes!” Here, the veteran entertainer shares his top host tips.
The secret to a great event?
“While it’s fun to get together with the same group of friends, try inviting people with like interests who may not know each other well. An up-and-coming local artist and a gallery owner seated next to each other will result in something fabulous.
One centerpiece or many small bouquets?
“Try multiples of three, five, or seven short vases placed askew, so everyone at the table can enjoy the blooms.” (For fall, consider a sunflower arrangement — see more on sunflowers below; mix with celosia, hypericum berries, and perhaps some fennel foliage.)
Best way to avoid ‘kitchen clamor?’
“Keep beverages out of the kitchen. Set up a station with a charming cart — or just a silver tray — as a ‘destination bar.’ ”
Any tricks for the table?
“If hosting a sit-down dinner, prepare place cards using lovely cardstock and a calligraphy pen, to add a personal touch. (Not up on your calligraphy? Consider hiring a professional calligrapher such as Lynn Lim of Auburn Hills, email@example.com.) By choosing the seating, you help direct the flow of conversation and stimulate great conversation.”
How to avoid a coat mess?
“Before the party, take time to clean out your coat room or closet to accommodate your guests’ outerwear. ”
Ideas for powder room pizzazz?
“Don’t forget the little things like monogrammed hand towels.”
— Emily Miles
(Note: See photos from this party in House Party, page 100.)
Moon-Lit Skies at Midnight
“Colors that are grounded in tradition but have bold personalities, such as Valspar’s Indigo Cloth (4009-7),” are stepping to the foreground, says Sue Kim, Valspar paint color strategist. Luxurious, rich tones are showing up on everything from walls to lighting to linens. The Company Store’s Moonshadow bedding, Radiance quilt/shams, and Brooklyn table lamp (right) feature a soulful indigo-meets-peacock-blue, mixed with complementary hues. valsparpaint.com, thecompanystore.com.
See This Film
When renovating an old home, there’s no need to lose the character and charm that come with old windows, say industry experts from the International Window Film Association. A special thin sheet of window film that can be installed on existing windows also regulates temperatures — reducing cooling costs by up to 30 percent — and protects against 99 percent of the ultraviolet rays that cause carpets and walls to fade. Find a local dealer at iwfa.com.
Get out the ‘mini’ for a perfect cuppa coffee
Add coffee machines to the list of things going “mini.” Whether in a small town apartment or a college dorm, the new NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Mini Me (right), and its fun pod varieties will keep you caffeinated with espresso technology and 15 bars of pump pressure. It can even create beverages like Café Au Lait and Skinny Latte in under a minute — a quick and easy way to impress guests at your next party. As for a great coffee cup in which to serve your beverage, consider the Cambria mug from Pottery Barn (below), which now comes in lovely colors like persimmon, stone, and ocean. The cups’ imperfect glazes add rustic appeal. dolce-gusto.us, potterybarn.com.
Branching Out – Up your resale value with trees
Plant a tree this fall — Trees reduce annual cooling and heating bills by 50 percent, and increase property resale values by 200 percent, according to Mark Witucki of Davey Tree, a company that provides tree-care services across America, including in metro Detroit.
All things sunflower, from petals and parties to art and arrangements.
As late summer/early autumn’s golden rays shine on Michigan’s lustrous landscape, sunflowers are ablaze with rich browns, vibrant oranges and yellows, and pops of russet and gold.
Grow Your Own: Plant some sunflower seeds next June; they’ll bloom come late summer or early autumn, according to Melinda Myers, a garden expert and author of two new books, Midwest Gardeners’ Handbook and Michigan: Getting Started Garden Guide (Cool Springs Press). Sunflowers have varying bloom times, so grow different types. Myers likes the dwarf Suntastic, an All-America Selections winner with yellow petals and a black center. Find several varieties at English Gardens stores.
Get Kids Involved: Shirley Bovshow, from the Hallmark Channel show Home & Family, has fond memories, seeing fields of sunflowers for the first time during a bicycling excursion from Ann Arbor to Mackinac Island. “They were huge, bright flowers ‘smiling’ at me,” she says. Now a garden lifestyle expert, Bovshow says sunflowers are a great first plant for children, as they’re relatively low-maintenance. She suggests the Lemon Queen Sunflower or Sunzilla, which boasts heads as large as 24 inches.
Create a Bouquet: In a vase, consider mixing sunflowers with asparagus greens, or make a lattice with twigs. “For larger sunflowers, be sure to use a heavy vase,” Myers says. “Find some twigs or branches that are not only decorative but can help hold the sunflowers up, as they tend to flop over.”
Petal Party: For the third consecutive year, the Woodward Avenue Action Association and the Park District Coalition planted more than 1,000 sunflowers for their Sunflower Gardens on Woodward program, between 6 and 8 Mile roads. Those who contributed $75 or more to the project were invited to a fun-loving garden party at the home of Norman Silk and Dale Morgan, who live in the Turkel House in Palmer Woods — Detroit’s only Frank Lloyd Wright residence. woodwardavenue.org.
Museum Note-ables: Take an afternoon to browse the Detroit Institute of Arts’ gift shop for sunflower-themed note cards, such as Nikki McClure’s eco-friendly paper cut note cards and the practical-and-pretty 365 Day By Day Flower Garden Book. Or check out Sunflowers, by Emil Nolde, 1932, oil on canvas (above); and Sunflowers, by Karl Knaths, 1939, paint on canvas. dia.org.
Cranbrook Alum Designs for Home/Workspace Flexibility
Cranbrook Academy of Art alum Matthew Plumstead’s educational path in design and manufacturing wasn’t always a clear one.
Plumstead, (right) who grew up in Minnesota, began his college journey at the Maryland Institute College of Art, where he planned to pursue a career in painting. After two years, he took a break from school — and wound up spending nearly 10 years working with computer software. Eventually, he realized the work wasn’t satisfying.
“Too much of my time was spent working on things that I wasn’t passionate about,” Plumstead says. “Painting in the evenings and on the weekends didn’t quite make up for that.”
At a show featuring his paintings, Plumstead met architect Kathy Olmstead. The encounter ultimately inspired Plumstead to pursue a degree in architecture, which then led to an interest in furniture design. Plumstead says one of the best decisions he made was enrolling at the graduate-level-only Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills to round out his education. He received a master of fine arts degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 3D design in 2012.
Today, as the owner of an award-winning product design studio and manufacturing company, McCarty Quinn in Minnesota, Plumstead presents products such as Clip Tree (below) an elegant and functional wall-mounted storage system. Another popular product is an integrated workstation he developed as part of a partnership between Cranbrook Academy of Art and Herman Miller.
Currently a prototype, the integrated workstation focuses on rest and concentration in the workplace by incorporating a daybed in addition to the traditional chair and desk. The space allows a worker to assume a range of postures throughout the day, promoting mental and physical health.
“One of the reasons I’m excited to work in office furniture is that I’m interested in trying to make things that address a real behavior or need,” Plumstead says. mccartyquinn.com. — Jamie Fabbri
Add something pumpkin to your interior “patch” and you’ll have instant autumn. Our favorite fall orbs include incarnations in fine china, gilded shine, and rustic pottery.
|Gorgeous Gourds: Gold-flecked, shiny pumpkins, $5.95-$9.95; and antique-style white pumpkin lidded bowl, $11.95, Pier 1 Imports.|
|Pleasing Plates: Autumnal Traditions Party Plate Set, $98/four, Neiman Marcus, Somerset Collection, Troy.|