Bulletin Board— October/November 2015

Well Done

Ann Arbor company creates gluten- and grain-free baking mixes

When Lizann Anderson became friends with Suzie Miller years ago in Chicago, she recalls spending unhurried days together — which you often get when you have young children who aren’t yet involved in multiple activities. The two pals would often cook up creative projects — one of which turned into a full-fledged Ann Arbor-based business aptly called Among Friends. It’s a gluten-free baking company that creates baking mixes “free of the bad stuff” such as starches, fillers, and gums, and are instead made with whole grains and non-GMO ingredients.

The seed for the business was planted about 10 years ago. “We were vacationing together, and I was eating an oatmeal cookie. I started playing with a recipe to make it more nutritious and wholesome,” Anderson recalls.

Entrepreneurs Suzie Miller and Lizann Anderson

Adds Miller: “At that time, our kids always seemed to be reaching for the unhealthy white-flour treats,” and the moms were looking for better options. Now that their children are older, ranging in age from 16 to 20, the friends have found the time to fine-tune their idea. “We didn’t want to replicate something else, so we started with a whole-grain platform, gluten-free,” says Anderson, who now lives in Ann Arbor. They eventually rolled the concept into baking mixes that turn out scrumptious treats named after friends and family. Miller, who lives in Toledo, is a professional illustrator and designer, and her designs are featured on the packaging.

Chocolate-chip, chocolate-cranberry, oatmeal chocolate-chip, molasses-ginger, and double chocolate are just a few of Among Friends’ offerings, which are sold online and at many Kroger and Target stores.

“If it passed our kids’ taste test, we knew we were on to something,” Miller says. amongfriendsbakingmixes.com — Megan Swoyer

Pleasing Platters

Serve the deliciously soft and chewy cookies at left to kids after school on an inspiring platter, suggest Anderson and Miller. “Putting anything on a pretty plate makes all the difference in the world,” Anderson says. “Both of us have a number of vintage platters we’ve been collecting over the years. They’re fun!” Here are some great platters for after-school treats:

Coton Colors with attachable backpack option, $61, Rock Paper Scissors, Ann Arbor; Mickey Mouse, Haunted Mansion, $12.95/ea., The Disney Store, Troy; Harvest yellow, $9.95, Crate and Barrel, Troy.

Paging All Home Design Lovers

Books explore everything from house antiquities to modern-day essentials

Two new books that cover the world of the home are worth a read for those interested in designing their living space and how design has evolved.

The Making of Home (St. Martin’s Press), by Judith Flanders, tells the 500-year story of how houses became homes — from the 16th to the early 20th century, across northern Europe and America — and shows how the homes we know today bear only a faint resemblance to their predecessors throughout history.

Readers learn about specific things such as fabric, and how all forms of it were valued in the 1600s. The Dutch excelled in this industry, and it wasn’t just the wealthy who adored their linens. A poor Amsterdam tradesman in the 1600s, for example, “owned 60 sheets and more than 3,000 napkins,” Flanders writes.

Where can one be their true self, if not at home?  This book looks at that very concept.

Moving into the 21st century, Apartment Therapy founder Maxwell Ryan and the site’s executive editor, Janel Laban, have co-authored Apartment Therapy: Complete + Happy Home.

Readers will find all the tools needed to find, make, and maintain a suitable home. Whether you’re a seasoned homeowner looking to freshen up or organize your lair, or a first-time homeowner, this book might be just the ticket for taking your living space up a notch or two in the design department. One thing you won’t need? Three-thousand napkins. barnesandnobel.com or amazon.com — Megan Swoyer

Right at Home

A couple uncorks Artifactry in Corktown

Gail and John Kwiatkowski never planned to take it easy in retirement. The couple, longtime metro Detroiters with a passion for collecting industrial and Art Deco items, decided not only to buy and refurbish a rundown building in Corktown, but to set up shop themselves.

Artifactry, a 2,000-square-foot store that, as of press time, was scheduled to open in September, is located at 2135 Michigan Ave. It showcases an ever-rotating variety of repurposed industrial items, new industrial furniture, furnishings, gifts, and jewelry. Much of the inventory is made by Michigan artisans, including many one-of-a-kind pieces.

“You’ll see different inventory every time you come in,” Gail says. The pieces range in price, depending on whether they’re vintage or repurposed. “None of it’s crazy,” she adds.
After buying the building in 2011, Gail says the couple didn’t have a set plan and even contemplated renting it out before realizing it was perfect for them. “We thought it would be fun to continue to purchase and repurpose authentic industrial items,” she says. “It just kind of happened organically.”

What’s Old Is New: Gail Kwiatkowski, above, and her husband, John, welcome shoppers to their Artifactry, above, a 2,000-square-foot store in Corktown.

That’s not to say they got into this lightly. Gail, who owned a mortgage company for many years, mapped out a detailed business plan and now runs the store and online shop. John, who does much  of the refurbishing and repurposing, spent 40 years running his own business in advertising.

They had another inspiration for opening one of the few new retail stores in Corktown in decades: Their three sons. The couple is partners with sons David and John in Honest John’s Bar and Grille; son David also owns the Sugar House in Corktown and is a partner in Wright & Co. and Café 78, in the MOCAD. He’ll be opening two new restaurants in the city, as well. Son James, an artist who teaches at the College for Creative Studies, is part of the team at Artifactry, where he uses his skills as a master welder and woodworker to repurpose industrial items.

“It’s just a blast. It’s so much fun; we meet (new) people all the time,” Gail says. detroitartifactry.com — Ellen Piligian

Doors Open in Detroit

Art Loft owner launches a second great emporium of all things arty

Meander to Midtown: Rachel Adadevoh-Woods, above, opened a second Art Loft, shown here, in Midtown Detroit. Her first shop is in Birmingham.

Born in Ghana, Rachael Adadevoh-Woods moved to Santa Barbara, Calif., in 1979. Three months later, after visiting a cousin who lived in Detroit, Adadevoh-Woods decided to move here. In 1998, after stints working at Real Estate One and Jacobson’s department store, she purchased Art Loft — the popular, eclectic boutique that’s located in downtown Birmingham — from its original owner. Recently, the Southfield resident opened  a second Art Loft store. Originally a party store, the new Detroit space was renovated and divided into three units; Art Loft occupies one unit. The other two house Treat Dreams, and Canvas Corks and Graffiti. Located at 4160 Cass Ave., just south of Willis, Adadevoh-Woods’ second boutique now shines right in the heart of Midtown.Here are a few insights about Adadevoh-Woods and her new location:

Q: Why Midtown?

A: “I’m always looking at what’s next. Things are great in Detroit right now, and I wanted to be part of it. As an African-American who has had a business in the suburbs all these years, I felt a real sense of duty to be in the city of Detroit and wanted to be a part of its growth.”

Q: How will your merchandise in Midtown differ from the merchandise in Birmingham?

A: “While the new store will also have some clothing, jewelry, shoes, and bags, it will focus more on home goods because that’s what they need in Midtown. We’ll also add bed linens to the mix.”

Q: Do you have any favorite lines at the new store?

A: “One is Michael Aram, which is a well-known tabletop line of beautiful hand-forged metal and ceramic objects, including Judaic-themed pieces.” artloftonline.com — Judith Harris Solomon

Fresco Fridge

A local artist is drawn to doors

Palatable Palette: Beverly Neumann’s The Last Supper replica, both shown above, is in ArtPrize.

A Philco refrigerator door from the 1940s, delightfully repainted by local artist Beverly Neumann, is on display at the Grand Rapids City Hall at this year’s ArtPrize event, which runs through Oct. 11 (next year’s ArtPrize runs Sept. 21-Oct. 9).

The door “wasn’t totally smooth when I got it,” says Neumann, of Oakland County. “It had a little sculptural arch-like design at the top, which reminded me of the Sistine Chapel, and that’s how I got the idea to paint it with a replica of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper. Because it was a refrigerator door, I decided to include nutritional information to reference how people today deal with eating — always worrying about calories — versus how people in the past simply enjoyed their food.” Neumann has painted 14 refrigerator doors, each with a different theme. “I like to do edgy kinds of things,” she says.

The artist, a Chicago native, took several art classes at Wayne State University when she first moved to the Detroit area decades ago. Besides social commentary pieces, she also specializes in family portraits and landscapes. 248-514-0571 — Judith Harris Solomon

It Grows On You

Hamtramck’s ‘Flower House’ blooms with dreamy creativity

Out of the Ruins: The Flower House runs Oct. 16-18 at 11751 Dequindre, Hamtramck.

Sometimes, upon awakening, we’re able to recall a beautiful and magical dream. In Lisa Waud’s case, those dreams may include peeking through the door of an abandoned house whose rooms are adorned with blooms of every kind and color imaginable. Dreary neighborhood blight would be replaced by images of living wonder.

Horticultural artist and florist Waud, owner of pot & box, has created (with 10 other florists) just such a dreamy art installation project in Hamtramck: The Flower House, which runs Oct. 16-18 at 11751 Dequindre. “I’m fascinated by long-term art installations,” explains Waud, whose favorite flower is the dahlia. Waud, who grew up in Petoskey, has been working on this project for several months. She  says  the exhibition site will become a flower farm for pot & box. Admission: $15 (free for neighborhood residents). theflower.house and potandbox.com — Honey Murray

Greens Keeper

Detroit’s old El Moore is now  a thoroughly eco-conscious, transformed building

Eco Reno: The El Moore, built in 1898, has undergone a thorough reinvention and is now one of the city’s greenest apartment buildings.

Many have been watching and waiting as the El Moore building in Detroit — a previously abandoned, Spanish-medieval gem built in 1898 and located on Alexandrine -— has undergone a thorough reinvention. Now, with its original Lake Superior red sandstone, this apartment/hotel is one of the city’s greenest buildings. Project manager D.J. Monahan, of the The Monahan Co., explains that, as a highly collaborative Green Garage (a group of Detroit businesspeople and the El Moore owners, who focus on healthy options for the environment, economics, and community) project, the El Moore is ”super-insulated; has solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling; a cistern that holds 5,000 gallons of harvested water; a greenhouse and residential Green Alley; and more.” There are 12 apartments, and all are rented out and occupied. There are also 11 short-term rentals (a bed-and-breakfast-style hotel) that will be available for two-night minimum stays beginning at Christmastime. The rentals include four rooftop cabins, five ground-level rooms, and two shared-accommodation rooms. elmoore.com — Honey Murray