Bulletin Board: House About It?

Ortonville’s For the Love of Local sells everything from dishware to tea towels to wall art, all created by Michigan artists.
Photo by Hayden Stinebaugh

Ortonville’s For the Love of Local sells everything from dishware to tea towels to wall art, all created by Michigan artists.

Local Art

Entrepreneur puts her heart into running Ortonville shop

Someone once mentioned during a brainstorming meeting that if there were a magazine called Tradition, I'd be the first in line to interview for its editor position.True! I relish the concept and, during winter, it goes into high gear. These traditions pepper my Christmases past: a holiday tree (always a blue spruce or Scottish pine, my dad insisted!) with ancient ornaments; electric candles in every window (for wayfaring strangers, my dad would say); cut-out cookies always made with the same recipe from Grandma; watching A Christmas Carol (today, my fave rendition, filmed in 1999, stars Patrick Stewart as Scrooge); and Mom's oysters served on Grandma's heirloom china.Tradition also charged my brothers with chilling bottles of champagne in the snow and keeping a pile of firewood at the ready. After a holiday dinner, we'd clear the clutter on an old round table (handcrafted in a traditional woodworkers' shop out East), gather around, and start wreaking havoc during a card game. Always!As a kid growing up, these homespun rites of the season danced onto my winter lifescape, scattering joy galore. By pressing an imaginary button, the familiar scene would unfold annually at our home. Eight siblings, my parents, and their various older, single guests —  they had their own traditions, like sipping on a Manhattan (whose recipe, incidentally, has been around since the 1870s) — would enter stage left regaling everyone in attendance with stories about the challenges and enlightenment of the prior year.A happy sense of familiarity erases any sense of worry about those occurrences of the previous 52 weeks and what may await at next year's door. Traditions offer security and a strong sense of belonging.I like the recent tradition that Birmingham-based interior designer Ann Heath started. She throws an annual New Year's Eve party at her home, but makes it an Open House starting in the late afternoon so people can come and go well before midnight and enjoy their own traditions when the clock strikes 12.In this issue, you'll see a lot of holiday and nonholiday-related traditions, both old and new. For about 65,000 metro Detroit residents, every Sunday night means customarily tuning  in to WTVS Detroit Public Television to take in the aristocratic ambiance at Downton Abbey.As for handcrafted traditions, take a look at the gorgeous furniture and accessories of woodworkers in Décor Showcase, page 22, and check out the enticing fudge, page 60, made with a recipe that's more than 125 years old. In architecture, classic 1920s traditional design in two area homes fascinates.Meanwhile, a Troy family prepares to welcome relatives and friends for their much-anticipated annual parties, where several themed Christmas trees and glistening tablescapes always enchant.Across town in a new French-influenced colonial-style home, artistic traditions abound.Now and throughout the year, everyone needs tradition.A toast to starting some brand new ones, right at home.(P.S. Enjoy our new Bulletin Board, on page 24. It showcases happenings in the design industry. In décor,  you'll almost always find a sense of tradition. Just look at the Schumacher collection, based on centuries-old patterns, with a new twist.)

When a divorce in 2013 inspired Brenda Timmermans, left, to rethink her future, she had an epiphany. “I thought about how artists’ works can be found online, and decided I wanted to give artists a platform,” Timmermans says, explaining her motivation to open a store to showcase handcrafted works of art. The entrepreneur found a “fixer-upper” property — 68 South St. in Ortonville — and, over the next two years, remodeled it into the gift shop it is today. For the Love of Local features ceramics, dishware, candles, art, clothing, and more created by some 40 area artists. Recently, between running the shop, reviewing products, and meeting artists, Timmermans found time to tell us more about her endeavors.

Q: Can you give us an idea of what customers might find and fall in love with at your store?
A: (There are) handmade ceramic dishes shaped like Michigan’s Lower Peninsula — the work of a Clarkston couple, Michael Arndt and Marilyn Appleman (mergingstory.com); Shayla Johnson’s tea towels (scarletcrane.com), which feature hand-screened drawings of Detroit buildings; and fragrant soy candles housed in recycled teacups and glass containers by Wax & Wix’s Debbie Cottrell of Goodrich. Also, you’ll find beautiful berry bowls by Marna McGlinn Ceramics of Berkley.
Q: How do you choose your vendors?
A: People come to me, and I look online. I tell artists that I don’t need 100 items. One artist brought in a needlepoint (picture) of wildflowers (that she’d put) in an old frame. I loved it and it sold quickly. If I’m excited about the art, it goes out the door.
Q: What makes locally made products special?
A: I make a personal connection with the artist and the customer, so I have a better understanding of the products and can meet both their needs.
Q: What are customers looking for?
A: They’re looking for a conversation piece, not the same things you’d find at a megastore. With that type of gift, (recipients know) you made the extra effort to buy something special. fortheloveoflocal.co
—Carol Hopkins

An array of artistic goods, including dishware (the above are by Marna McGlinn Ceramics of Berkley), awaits shoppers at For the Love of Local in Ortonville.

Pet Project

Ring around the collar makes pet safety easy

As part of his mission to keep pets safe, Doug Danforth, founder and CEO of Kansas-based Pawdentify, created a practical, user-friendly ID tag system: a colorful, extremely durable tag with a connector called LINKS-IT for easy collar attachment. “When our 10-year-old beagle, Marley, got out recently — for the first time ever — he wasn’t lost for long,” Danforth says. “The information on his brightly colored Pawdentify tag assured that he was quickly returned to us!” pawdentify.com
—Honey Murray

NO DOWNTREND FOR NOVI: The price of homes in Novi is steadily increasing. Two years ago, the average price of a three-bedroom home was $217,000, according to househunt.com. One year ago, the price had increased to $336,000. The current average price is $358,000.

GOING FAST: Billy Whitehouse, left (whitehouses.com), of Birmingham-based Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices — Hannett, Wilson, Whitehouse & Burke Realtors, reports that Michigan’s sellers’ market is thriving. “With consumer confidence high and families optimistic about the state’s economy,” Whitehouse says, “homes that are well-priced and in good condition are selling in a matter of days.”

WONDERFUL WOODWARD: “All along the Woodward corridor, from Detroit through Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Huntington Woods, and north to Birmingham, (there’s) a definite pushback against urban sprawl,” says Kara Edwards, right, of Royal Oak-based Jim Shaffer and Associates, Keller Williams (soldcalljim.com). “Home buyers want to live, shop, dine, and play in walkable communities anchored by a well-developed downtown, creating an uptick in the real estate market that supports the growth of independent shops, restaurants, and service-oriented business — along with a variety of mixed-housing developments and designated cyclists’ lanes.”

BLACK MAGIC: GE Appliances is now offering its Black Slate finish on select GE Café models. “A kitchen is the heart of the home, and homeowners today want natural, warm textures and finishes that add a sense of quietness,” says Paul Haney, chief designer at GE Appliances, a Haier company. “Black Slate is a timeless, premium finish that can match any décor.”

THIS JUST IN: Paul Kropp, above left, skilled woodworker, master craftsman, and COO of luxury custom cabinetry producers Bakes & Kropp (bakesandkropp.com), was honored to welcome NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, above right, to Bakes & Kropp’s Macomb production facility, where Holt talked about the economy for a recent segment called “Across America: Hopes and Fears in Michigan Ahead of the Inauguration.” “We have a great American business story,” Kropp says. “For Lester Holt and his research team at NBC Nightly News to recognize that and seek us out as a stage for their story, that helps validate the work we’ve done. The entire experience was certainly one for the memory books.”
—Honey Murray

Have news or trends that pertain to the local home, design, and/or real estate industry? Send a note to: MSwoyer@hour-media.com.

Perfect Pairs

Detroit Home Design Awards participants share insights on their favorite combinations, plus we showcase our top duets



“Bold patterns with natural texture, like digitally printed wallpapers featuring original paintings on sisal grass cloth. Our printing process retains the painterly quality; the grass cloth adds a nice textural underlay.”

— Kyra Hartnett, DHDA Judge, Twenty2, Connecticut

“Old and new. I have a modern painting framed in a 19th-century gilt frame from France; (they’re) perfect together.”

— Meg Lonergan, DHDA Judge, Meg Lonergan Interior Design, Texas

“Warm metal finishes accenting a rich indigo palette (like in a credenza) is a classic yet elegant go-to look for us.”

— Kathleen Mcgovern, DHDA Winner, Kathleen Mcgovern Studio Of Interior Design, Grosse Pointe Park 

“Modestly priced items, where appropriate, mixed with ‘wow,’ regardless-of-price items, in living areas.”

— Michael Coyne, DHDA Winner, Michael Coyne Design, Troy

“Updated antiques — I call it ‘Curated and Contemporary,’ like pairing an antique chest and its authentic patina with something like a bold abstract painting or a contemporary stone bowl, with a sculptural orchid arrangement. It’s all about telling a story.”

— Anne Strickland, DHDA Winner, Port Mfg. & Design, Birmingham

Pairing up, from metal & wood to smooth & textured

A. Pearson Company Cadence banquette, starting at $10,395, Birmingham Furniture & Design Studio, Birmingham B. Katoucha dining table, Jacques Garcia Collection, starting at $3,600, Baker Furniture, Michigan Designer Center, Troy C. Wildflower pillow, $134, Ethan Allen, metro Detroit-area stores, ethanallen.com D. Century Furniture Century Studio Essentials chair by Ridley, $2,160, R.J. Thomas, Michigan Design Center, Troy, E. Zamora end table, $1,399, Arhaus, metro Detroit-area stores, arhaus.com F. Ming Vase fabric in Jade, price available upon request, Schumacher, Michigan Design Center, Troy G. Lexington Take Five Bleeker ottoman, $2,779, Birmingham Furniture & Design Studio, Birmingham H. Kensington king metal canopy bed by Bernhardt Interiors, price available upon request, Gorman’s, metro Detroit-area stores, gormans.com.