Bulletin Board: Fresh Flavors



IN GOOD TASTE Fustini’s in Ann Arbor pours on the flavor with Michigan-inspired oils and vinegars and other delicious delights. Learn more — and see our favorite salad bowls — inside this section.

The Dish on Dressings with Fustini’s Jim Milligan



JUST AS THE Great Recession reared its uncertain head, Ohio native Jim Milligan, dared to step out of the international corporate business world and into something a little more fun and esoteric: He opened an oil-and-vinegar emporium and tasting room called Fustini’s in downtown Traverse City — an emerging foodie destination, a place he loved, and the community where his family had vacationed for decades.

That was 2008. “The response was strong,” he says. “It was the right time (for me) to get into a deep culinary experience.” Along the way, he added more stores, special events, cookbooks, chefs, a cooking school, restaurant partners, and other foodstuffs to complement his line of 20 infused olive oils, three styles of extra-virgin olive oil, and three specialty oils, plus 35 aged balsamic vinegar flavors and two wine vinegars.

Ten years later, with more Michigan stores (Petoskey, Holland, and Ann Arbor, shown here) to his credit, the happy merchant took some time away from the culinary world to give us a taste of what’s in store.

Q: How about your favorite oil-and-vinegar combo?
Q: What’s your top-selling vinegar?
The 18-year traditional balsamic; it’s typically used in salad dressings. We also have a range of light infused vinegars — lemon, peach, and bright white — or darker, like red apple and pomegranate, that also are popular.

A: It changes over time. Right now it’s grapefruit-infused vinegar with herbs de Provence oil. Pairing brighter vinegars with sweeter leaves works well in salads. Use two parts oil to one part vinegar. For stronger leaves, like arugula, you can pair Meyer lemon olive oil with black currant vinegar, or Persian lime with pomegranate balsamic.

Q: What’s a favorite salad recipe using your oils and vinegars?
Fustini’s Arugula Salad (see recipe here). Visit fustinis.com for store and class information and more. — By Patty LaNoue Stearns


Salad Sensations

Our favorite bowls and some must-have utensils

Nambé Braid salad bowl with servers, $210, Art Van stores, artvan.com Blue Pheasant Clarise low serving bowl, $116/ two, irwinribera.com
Large white Mara bowl, $120, The Maryn, themaryn.com


Strength and Vulnerability

career didn’t fully start until after she earned her B.A. in art education and M.A. in art therapy from Wayne State, taught art for the West Bloomfield School District and, with her husband, Steve, raised their kids. Since 2006, however, she’s been devoted to creating figurative oil paintings, rustic mixed-media assemblage and sculptural pieces, and vibrant encaustics in her Franklin studio. The “visual poetry of the human form” is what she loves to paint. “Figurative painting allows us to see without being seen, and satisfies the natural curiosity we have about other people,” says Jones (she and one of her works are shown here). While she was preparing for Corktown Studios’ “Person, Place or Thing,” we chatted with her about her art.

Q: Can you tell us about the works in your upcoming show?
A: Lately I’ve been working more with mixed media and sculpture, and found materials.

Q: How does your art therapy background play into your work as a painter?
Art comes from a pre-verbal part of my mind, so it’s a reflection of my own internal landscape of thoughts and emotions. A common theme is the dichotomy of strength and vulnerability, and often the subject embodies both characteristics. (Shown here is Trevi, oil paint on wood.)

Q: Aside from people, what’s your favorite study?
Ravens, raptors, hawks — the strong birds, rather than the cuddly ones. See Jones’ work, along with work by artists Darcel Deneau and Amy Fell, at Corktown Studios, 2707 14th St., Detroit, corktownstudios.com, beginning May 19. — By Patty LaNoue Stearns

All Hands (Will Want to be) on Deck

JEFFREY GRAUER, TERRITORY MANAGER for The AZEK Co., can truly give buyers a firsthand account of the product he sells — AZEK building products. Featuring strength, aesthetics, and durability, not to mention the fact that they’re low-maintenance, the materials were used at his own home in southeast Michigan. “I used AZEK trimboard to replace rotted wood trim, where the original rough-sawn spruce had come in contact with moisture-prone applications,” Grauer says.

Grauer explains that his garage door jambs, column-wrapped bottoms, and places where the fascia had touched roofing shingles and had rotted have all been replaced. “Our trimboard is impervious to moisture (and can be painted any color if desired),” he says.

As for the company’s other decking materials, homeowners enjoy the products’ sense of real wood and the fact that everything is easy to care for. In addition, railing products are designed to look great with either of the company’s lines of decking (AZEK or Timbertech). When considering cost, Grauer recommends thinking about the long term. “Treated and cedar decks, while initially less expensive, can actually become more expensive than our decking in the long run, due to the amount of maintenance needed over their lifetime.” azek.com, timbertech.com — By Megan Swoyer

MI Design

State’s iconic designers highlight yearlong program at Ferndale studio

AROUND THE WORLD, people know about Michigan. They know about its Great Lakes. They know about the Motor City, its cars, and music. They might even know that the Mackinac Bridge is one of the world’s longest suspension bridges. But what most people — including Michiganders — may not know is that Michigan is, and has been, home to some of the world’s most prolific furniture designers and manufacturers.

Tom Gibbs (owner of Tom Gibbs Studio in Ferndale, shown here) and Isabelle Weiss (owner of Detroit’s NEXT:SPACE design gallery; both Gibbs and Weis shown at right) recently launched a yearlong celebration of Michigan furniture design, called Michigan Design Icons. The program features monthly design talks that are free and open to the public. Each talk takes place at Tom Gibbs Studio, amid a forest of one-of-a-kind, lovingly curated, and well-cared-for Mid-century Modern tables, chairs, lamps, pottery, wall art, and other objects. Guests can shop before making themselves comfortable in Saarinen womb chairs to enjoy Gibbs’ topic.


On April 10, attendees will learn about two Herman  Miller directors (Gilbert Rohde and George Nelson) who helped change the face of furniture design and manufacturing in the mid-20th century. On May 15, and in honor of her 101st birthday, Gibbs will present “Florence Knoll: A Woman of Her Own Design.”

“If it wasn’t for Florence Knoll,” he says, “I don’t think there would be Knoll International furniture!”

“And in this time of ‘fast furniture,’ people take for granted what goes into making your space special,”  adds Weiss, who was surrounded by historic, handcrafted pieces when she attended Cranbrook Kingswood Upper School before studying art history at U-M, receiving a B.A. in art history and linguistics, and becoming an appraiser and agent.

Gibbs agrees. “That’s why we work to provide our clients with something different, something with a story and an energy, which these original, period pieces — and the design icons we talk about — definitely have.” nextspacedetroit.com and tomgibbsstudio.com — By Honey Murray

Designer Mom

As Mother’s Day nears, Barbi Krass recalls a fun challenge with her son’s home


COLORWORKS STUDIO OWNER Barbi Krass, was recently hired to do a total home renovation by two clients whose profiles were a little different from her usual referrals. That’s because this project was for Krass’ son and daughter-in-law, who asked her to help them transform their mid-20th century ranch home in West Bloomfield into a modern, 21st-century space. As Mother’s Day approaches, it’s the perfect time to learn more about this labor of love.

Q: Can you describe this special project?
It was a wonderful collaboration. (My son and daughter-in-law) have a terrific sense of style, along with a strong aesthetic sense. Interior design must be a collaboration between designer and client, making sure the client’s taste and vision can be coupled with good design principles.

Q: To what degree were their two teenage sons involved?
A: Like their parents, the boys know what they like. They weren’t shy about expressing opinions along the way!

Q: What challenges were unique to this project?
Most projects have challenges. In this case, half of the home was built on a slab — so when the kitchen (the “after” photo is shown here), powder room, and mud hall areas were remodeled, we needed to do some trenching in the concrete to run plumbing, and (had to) pay attention to electrical access, et cetera. One of our goals was to remove as many walls as possible to open up the space between the kitchen, family room, and dining areas. To accomplish that, paying attention to soffits, ceiling lines, and transition areas was essential. colorworksstudio.com — By Linda Laderman


As they step back to take a final look at their designs, these DHDA
winners always ensure they’ve incorporated these icing-on-the-cake
essentials | By Megan Swoyer



A. Varaluz “Bermuda” Down pendant, $999, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Troy
B. Marigold mohair pillows, from $175/ea., jaysonhome.com
C. Spanish gueridon table, $1,895, Judy Frankel Antiques, Troy
D. Early Eames Aniline DCW for Herman Miller, price upon Request, ModMart Detroit, Clawson
E. Vince Bomberry Inuit carved soapstone bowl, $125, ModMart Detroit, Clawson
F. Medina bone boxes, from $82/ea., jaysonhome.com
G. Vintage Moroccan trays, from $295/ea., jaysonhome.com


The repetition of subliminal themes/details.


A curated feel. My recipe is this: Each defined space needs something old and something new, as well as at least seven shiny elements (hardware, lighting, fixtures, glass, mirrors, etc.) and one strong focal point.


One-of-a-kind artworks handcrafted by local artists, or antique pieces with a delicate patina.


We’re primarily working on homes built in the early to mid-20th century. It’s key that our design and craftsmanship pay homage to the existing home’s details, or we must clearly define a missing architectural detail that may have been stripped away in a previous update.


Accessories to fill visual voids, such as stacks of decorative boxes — they’re great-looking and can help organize by holding items like remotes, matches, and other trinkets. And nothing looks better than a stack of beautiful art books on a coffee table. They can express the homeowners’ interests and are a conversation piece for guests.


SETTING THE TABLE: Chilewich’s (chilewich.com) new spring collection (tabletop, flooring, and more) is an expression of color across all textile mediums. The company created new yarns from scratch by twisting multiple strands of tonal colors together. Look for an otherworldly glow on their surfaces.

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DON’T BACK UP!: “We’re seeing an increase in demand from owners of older homes — especially in Birmingham, Royal Oak, and Berkley — for installation of backwater valves,” says 30-year master plumber Jim Peterson (jimpetersonplumbing.com), of Berkley. “(These are needed) to stop water from backing up when the city’s sewer systems can’t handle the water intake. In newer construction this work is code, done in the home’s basement.”

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TOTALLY FLOORED: Spring-clean your garage by polishing — or maybe even dyeing — the floor, for a high-shine finish. Gregg Laviolette, owner of Troy’s Stone Restoration Services (srsdetroit.com), restorers and refinishers of terrazzo, marble, granite, Pewabic tile, and more for homes, churches, historic buildings, and businesses, says, “It looks amazing and, as opposed to using epoxy, it’s one of the lowest-maintenance treatments available.”

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MID-CENTURY MOVEMENT: “Modernism is more than just a trend,” says Loren Weiner, right, who, with Danny and Brian Laundroche (great-nephews of artist and furniture designer Harry Bertoia), owns the funto-visit ModMart Detroit (modmartdetroit.com) in Clawson. “The clean, simple profiles (and) clever designs are a metaphor for how people want to live.” In addition to buying, selling, and consigning rare home furnishings from the 1950s-80s, ModMart Detroit offers furniture restoration and statement lighting.

TO THE POINTES: The price of a three-bedroom home in Grosse Pointe has continued to rise, from $257,000 two years ago to $384,000 today, according to househunt.com.

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 Comfort Research (comfortresearch.com), a Grand Rapids-based company, revolutionizes the technology behind Big Joe furniture. The company makes indoor/outdoor super comfortable furniture that’s sometimes even water-resistant for poolside fun (shown here). Founders Matt Jung and Chip George, former Hope College students, (below) are the men behind these cool furnishings.

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NEXT-GEN INVESTING: “With a need for more affordable rental units for millennials and Gen Z, multifamily housing (investment prospects) remain strong …” states PricewaterhouseCoopers in their recent publication, Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2018.

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THESE WALLS TALK: Some of the designs in Scalamandre’s (scalamandre.com) new fabric and wallcovering collection from Nicolette Mayer, in collaboration with Royal Delft, evoke a walk in a summer meadow. The collection celebrates the 400-year-old history of the iconic maker of authentic handmade and hand-painted earthenware, and breathes new life into Royal Delft’s classic two-tone palette. Check it out at Scalamandre, on Stutz Drive in Troy.

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BARBI SEASON: Looking for a new grill? Rob Yedinak, founding partner and buyer for Sylvan Lake’s Detroit Garden Works (detroitgardenworks.com), recommends the shop’s show-stopping OFYR grill, crafted in the Netherlands. Cedar grill planks are optional. — By Honey Murray

Have news that pertains to the design industry that you’d like to share?
Send a note to: MSwoyer@hour-media.com.