Bulletin Board: Get in Gear

Enjoy unique shopping, fun art crawls, whimsical house portraits, and heart-y decor



You never know what you might find when renovating. This is part of an old safe uncovered by the owners of Bizzy Buzz Artisan Market. Turn the page to learn more. // Photograph by Jacob Lewkow

The Buzz

A couple’s labor of love

In a Main Street building in Rochester dating from 1890 that’s been a roller rink, a ballroom, and a jewelry store, Ryan and Pamela Walther, below, have created, with their own hands — and help from architect Dave Donnellon, contractor Jay Noonan (who also helped with the design and drawings) of Design Resources for Architects, and skilled tradesman Geoff Davis — a welcoming, cozy hive for the work of some 70 artists called Bizzy Buzz Artisan Market. Everything from home décor items and pottery to glass, gourmet foods, and fine art delight shoppers who visit the store, 409 S. Main St.

Photograph by Jacob Lewkow

”We used our life savings, so we wanted to do as much ourselves as we could,” Pamela says. “As we chiseled away at the plaster walls, we discovered beautiful brick underneath (as well as the wooden ‘Cigar’ sign hanging behind the register) and an amazing tin ceiling. There was also a huge, antique safe (see previous page) in the floor — removing that was an adventure — that we transformed into a station where customers can listen to records we carry from Third Man Records in Detroit.”

The shop carries everything from grab-and-go gifts to high-end art, and from 50-cent honey sticks to $2,500, one-of-a-kind paintings.

“Ryan and I are thrilled to have saved the building’s original beauty, and to have inspired our neighbors on both sides to do the same.” bizzybuzzart.com. — By Honey Murray

Painterly Pleasures

Organized gallery crawls are a big draw

Rick Carmody knows what it’s like to hunt for original artwork. That’s why the Detroit-based professional interior designer offers a unique service called Metro Art Tours, where a small group — led by Carmody — gets to explore various Detroit-area galleries and art studios.

Photograph by Jacob Lewkow

“A lot of people are afraid of art galleries because they can be intimidating,” he says. Carmody, who once owned a Ferndale art gallery, says“It’s wonderful to have someone (like the owner) tell the history of the artist and why the art is important.” He estimates that between 2016 and 2017, as many as 25 new galleries opened.“This area is changing so rapidly,”says the Wisconsin-born Carmody, whose interior design company is called Au Courant.

Tours are generally geared to a maximum of eight people, and run from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. There’s a stop for lunch, which attendees pay for themselves. The tour costs $125. As the guide, Carmody arranges for a bus and driver. The excursion might visit galleries in downtown Detroit, Midtown, or Oakland County. The last group went to the College for Creative Studies gallery, the Scarab Club, the Simone DeSousa Gallery, above, and artist Robert Sestok’s outdoor City Sculpture art park in Midtown.“Simone DeSousa’s gallery space is incredible,” Carmody says. “She’s from Brazil and is so committed to introducing great artists. Gary Wasserman, of Wasserman Projects Gallery in Eastern Market, brings in internationally famous artists.”

Carmody steered a recent group to an auction at DuMouchelle Art Galleries in Detroit.

“We try to see things people haven’t seen before.”

More information: rickcarmody.com, (248) 514-4214. — By Carol Hopkins

Hot, Cold, and Cool!

Our love is here to stay — when it comes to appliances, that is. Some of the subjects featured in this issue reveal their adored domestic devices.
By Megan Swoyer

Which of your home appliances can you not live without?

My Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer. I love it for its timeless design and simple interior. I also love the feel and sound of opening and closing it. I’ve had it for 25 years, and it’s never lost its appeal.
— Julia V. Knevels, Julia V. Knevels Interiors, Birmingham

My Oster blender. I often make a pick-me-up smoothie and enjoy watching the ingredients whirl together, anticipating a healthy treat!
— Linda Shears, Linda Shears Designs, Troy

My Bose SoundLink Revolve Plus portable speaker. It’s well-designed, compact, and the clear sound booms 360 degrees. It provides an ever-evolving soundtrack for my life.
— Jennifer Taylor, Jennifer Taylor Studio, Royal Oak

My Nespresso VertuoLine coffee machine. It makes the perfect frothy cup of coffee, and reminds me of my time in Italy.
— Ashley Dickey, homeowner, Birmingham

After living through a recent kitchen renovation, my dishwasher — a Thermador Sapphire. I use the Chef’s Tool Drawer for all our cutlery, which eliminates the need for a cutlery basket and allows me to maximize its cleaning capabilities.
— Katie Rodriguez, Katie Rodriguez Design, Birmingham

My U-Line beverage refrigerator. It tucks away under the counter and is usually filled with my favorite LaCroix, bottles of white wine, juice boxes for the kids, and my Kombucha. It’s perfect for a working kitchen and feels like a little splurge.
— Amanda Wolfe, Amanda Wolfe Designs, Birmingham

A. 36-inch Beverage Center in stainless steel finish, $4,619, U-Line, visit u-line.com for area dealers; B. Oster Classic series blender with travel smoothie cup in red, $40, Target, target.com; C. Breville smart oven air, $320, SurLaTable, surlatable.com; D. Nespresso by Breville Vertuo Line coffee and espresso maker bundle with aeroccino frother in red, $250, Bed Bath & Beyond, bedbathandbeyond.com; E. Bose Sound Link Revolve + Portable Bluetooth speaker in triple black, $300, Best Buy, bestbuy.com; F. Thermador 24-inch professional stainless steel star sapphire dishwasher, $2,799, Ferguson Showrooms, Troy and Ann Arbor; G. Wolf gourmet multifunction cooker, 7 quart, $600, Sur La Table, surlatable.com

Drawn to Houses

Ferndale resident sketches clever digital home portraits

Photograph Courtesy of Scott Iulianelli

Scott Iuliannelli of Ferndale, left, became a computer- aided house-portrait illustrator by accident. He first designed some t-shirts that featured recording gear that the company he works for, Ferndale-based Vintage King Audio, sells. Working in the sales arena, Iuliannelli thought the t-shirts would be great gifts for clients. The next thing he knew, the resourceful sales pro was creating not only t-shirts, but prints of microphone imagery. “It just cascaded,” says the father of two, who also plays in a rock band called Bars of Gold.

Iuliannelli says that one day his wife, Ashley, suggested he try creating an image of their home. “I’ve had a knack for geometry and shapes, but I also like the freehand thing and the chaos. I don’t like the grid; I like things to be slop- py.” He’s referring to his drawing method, which begins when he sketches on his iPad. Ashley often helps with color suggestions.

“I sketched up a pic of our house, and with a limited bag of tools, curvy lines, and not a ton of details, I created the look and feel of my home.” His wife posted the image on social media and, ever since, Iuliannelli’s been flooded with house commissions (see examples below). Even real estate professionals have contacted him to create images for their clients.

Photograph Courtesy of Scott Iulianelli

Iuliannelli uses reference photos that clients send him. “I don’t do every blade of grass,” he says. “If you do that, you’ve reached the ‘uncanny valley,’ which is like when a video game is too real and your mind can’t tell the difference between reality and art.”

Iuliannelli says he’s had an appreciation for houses since he was a child growing up in Highland. “My dad was a freelance carpenter and also worked for General Motors’ creative services department and built our home when I was a kid. My wife’s father is also a carpenter and home designer (Crazy Mountain Custom Homes by Terry Worden). We’ve been in a million houses — it’s embedded in our DNA to appreciate home design. When you’re little, there are things you don’t want to do with your parents, but we both liked going with our fathers into homes that were under construction.”

His home portraits, which run about $50-$65 and are emailed digitally to clients, often feature a cat or a dog on the porch or in the yard. “So far, everyone’s been happy, which makes me happy,” Iuliannelli says. Request more information at scott.iulianelli@gmail.com — By Megan Swoyer

Arty Mosaics

As Valentine’s Day nears, we check in with the queen of hearts

Photograph by Hayden Stinebaugh

Every week, up to 30 volunteers gather in the art room of the Song and Spirit Institute for Peace, an interfaith nonprofit in Royal Oak. There, they create glass mosaic tiles and heart-shaped decorative pieces that are sold locally and at art fairs. The profits go to support the group’s community outreach programs, says mosaic artist Mary Gilhuly, left, who is also Song and Spirit’s co-founder and art director. Gilhuly talked to us about the art of Song and Spirit: (This issue’s This Season page also features the group’s work)


Q: What was the inspiration for your mosaic glass heart pieces?
A: A volunteer brought in a wooden heart and we put tiles on it, then grouted and painted it. A tiler put a beaded loop on it, which just elevated it.

Q: Have the hearts been a popular item for Song and Spirit?
A: Yes. We started creating the hearts about four years ago, and have literally sold thousands.

Photograph by Hayden Stinebaugh

Q: What do people like about the hearts?
A: People buy our hearts all year round, not just for holidays. They usually buy them for someone else, just to spread a little love. That, in turn, helps Song and Spirit feed people who are hungry physically, emotionally, and even spiritually.

Q: What do you want people to know when they buy your heart art?
A: It’s been touched by no fewer than three people from the time it’s been designed, grouted, painted, and beaded. Then it goes to you with a little card that carries a message of the mission of Song and Spirit, which is to make a difference in the world through kindness and love. More information: songandspirit.org — By Linda Laderman

MAKING A SPLASH: Pantone has named Living Coral as its Color of the Year for 2019. The shade invokes energizing aspects of color in nature. Below are some of La-Z-Boy’s (la-z-boy.com, five metro Detroit locations) coral creations.

WORKING IT OFF: Keeping fit from within the comfort and privacy of your own home has never been easier or more pleasurable, thanks to the NordicTrack RW900 Rower (nordictrack.com). The rower features a 22-inch screen that offers personalized instruction via streamed workouts from iFit trainers (ifit.com) that are shot on the water in beautiful locations.

CANVASS-ING THE GLOBE:Detroit in the World: Selections from a Detroit Art Connoisseur’s Collection,” at the new Collected Detroit Gallery (2439 Fourth St., Detroit), features works by Detroit artists (a piece by Al Loving is below) and paintings by everyone from Jean Cocteau to Pablo Picasso.   

IT TAKES COORDINATION:  Art Van Furniture (artvan.com) shoppers now have an easy way to select furnishings and décor that reflect their style and complement their current furnishings. “Our color-coded tags showcase six primary lifestyle collections, from casual to Mid-century,” says spokeswoman Diane Charles. 

POLISHED JEWEL:  Built in 1922 in Detroit’s New Center area, the historic Seward Plaza Apartments have been acquired (friedmanrealestate.com). Featuring a marble-floored lobby and “ice-box closets” in every space, the units are slated  for contemporary upgrades in 2019.

KEEP CALM: Benjamin Moore’s color of the year, a gray called Metropolitan, works beautifully for the Hastings Urban (hastingstilebath.com) collection of wall and floor-mounted customizable vanities (one is shown below).

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