Bulletin Board // In Residence // Décor Showcase
What’s above the Detroit Artists’ Test Lab? One quirky loft.
Living above your business is an old-fashioned idea that works out beautifully for Glenn Urquhart, below, and his young family. The first floor of his 12,000-square-foot building on Mack Avenue in Detroit, once a storage area for a hospital, now houses Urquhart’s Detroit Artists’ Test Lab — an incubator and showcase for artists taking their art to the next level. Urquhart recently shared insights on his designs from the comfort of his upstairs home, a 3,500-square-foot loft residence, below, he designed and (mostly) crafted.
Q: How did you create your cheese grater kitchen pendant lights?
A: I realized all I had to do was drill holes for the bulbs, and then the graters could be shades.
Q: Everything’s so uniquely done. What about your kitchen island, cabinets, and other elements?
A: The island’s wooden top was originally part of a lane from a bowling alley. The tool box cabinets, placed underneath, were bought on sale at Sears. The McDonald’s hamburger came from a friend’s resale shop and I found the EAT sign outside of a diner; it was being pulled off. I laid out the backsplash vertically, whereas everybody else does it horizontally, and I made the kitchen table out of an old wooden door. The metal pantry cabinet was formerly a dispensing unit from Oakwood Hospital. The doors’ inserts were originally clear so you could see the drugs within, but I replaced them with family photos.
Q: Do people bring you their cast-offs?
A: Yes, friends drop off stuff all the time. I once mentioned that I wanted music in my life, and a pal brought me two grand pianos. I turned one of them into a vanity.
Q: Any future plans for the space?
A: Finishing it would be a nice thing, but this place will never be finished. It’s just not going to happen. I just keep on going with new projects. And I’m happy with the way it is, if it goes no further. I think it’s amazing, and it’s been a lot of fun. More information: detroittestlab.com
— By Judith Harris Solomon
Made in the Shade
Hartmann & Forbes window treatments are awe-inspiring
The remarkable designs of Oregon-based Hartmann & Forbes window treatments inspired us to catch up with its director of product development, Rebecca Welch, above. (See cover of this section for a look at a new shade product.)
Q: What’s your company’s sustainability philosophy?
A: Everything we make is from natural materials. We use the finest sustainable fibers; each is rapidly-renewable and grown in well-managed ecosystems — such as, say, the water hyacinth, which can be found all over Asia and the South Seas. It was originally planted in contaminated waterways, as it helps to cleanse the water. However, due to its rapid growth, it can also clog waterways, so it needs to be harvested often. Water hyacinth is porous, requiring experts to prepare the strands for weaving.
Q: Can you tell us about Roman- and roller-style shades?
A: Roman-style shades can be traced back to the famed Roman Colosseum. Roman shades create soft, beautiful folds when raised. Rather than controlling them with a cord, today’s systems can be automated to provide convenience, security, energy savings, and child safety. Roller-style shades provide a very clean aesthetic. They can be automated and tucked into a soffit, out of view. When layered with other window treatments, they provide privacy and light control. Our shades are custom hand-woven to the size of the window. We also just launched a roller-fold style that combines the beauty of a Roman fold with the performance of a roller-style shade.
Q: What’s your favorite part about your job?
A: We work with talented artisans and weavers. There are so many warp yarns and natural fibers that can be combined — the result is a (more modern) look, (similar to) weaves woven on traditional looms. Products available at Tennant & Associates, Michigan Design Center, Troy. More information: michigandesign.com, hartmannforbes.com
— By Megan Swoyer
Thanks for Having Us
It’s the party season. What — besides a bottle of wine — makes a great gift for the host or hostess?
A whole pineapple with no bells and whistles. I think it’s a little silly, and pineapples are so pretty when they’re whole.
— Kristi Bernick, Kristi Bernick Enterprises, Detroit
I love to give gifts that are trendy and practical. A nice cheese board is a great accessory for a kitchen.
— Rebekah Tull, Whiski Kitchen Design Studio, Royal Oak
My favorite French soaps (Pre de Provence) or a special candle (Voluspa). You can never have enough of (either one).
— Ellen Blau, White Lake Township
Being a gardener, I love to give flowering plants. My choice plant is a Christmas cactus.
— Linda Shears, Linda Shears Designs, Troy
A large personalized, wood cheese board made by a small-business owner.
— Barbi Stalburg Kasoff, Stalburg Design, Birmingham
— By Megan Swoyer
A new garden book showcases the Upper Peninsula’s idyllic island
The perfect gift for Michigan gardeners is ready just in time for the holiday season. The Gardens of Mackinac Island ($50, Mackinac Memories), by landscape architect Jack Barnwell, journalist/life-long summer Mackinac Island resident Sue Allen, and photographer Jennifer Wohletz, is packed with more than 300 pages of gorgeous photographs of the magical island’s blooms, and includes historic tidbits and more. From the island’s quintessential red geranium to pink hollyhocks swaying along white picket fences to precisely sculpted hedges, the charming vignettes take you to the Straits of Mackinac. “We had a wonderful time collaborating to create this book over a two-year period,” Wohletz says. “I found shooting the images and designing the book’s layouts was like putting together a giant puzzle. It was fun to watch it all come together.” Wohletz is co-owner of Mackinac Memories, LLC (Mackinac Island-inspired photography and books) and manager of Milford’s Main Street Art. Order the book at jackbarnwelldesign.com or mackinacislandmemories.com, or pick up a copy at Main Street Art, Milford.
— By Megan Swoyer
This design element takes you on a journey to southern France
The head-turning Ann Sacks Provencal Collection, featuring Herbes and Metallique colors, is wowing the design world. Handcrafted by artisans at the Ann Sacks facility in Portland, Ore., the new collections join the breadth of bespoke designs found under the Made by Ann Sacks series. The Provençal designs reflect a classic simplicity of form, with a bold palette inspired by the brilliantly-hued landscape of the south of France and the Mediterranean. The collection offers 14 gloss and metallic glazes, and there’s a wide range of field sizes. The products are available through the Ann Sacks showroom at Michigan Design Center, Troy. More information: michigandesign.com, annsacks.com
— By Megan Swoyer
FIELD NOTES: Home-Related Tips, Trends, and Tidbits
WELCOME!: Michigan Design Center (michigandesign.com) welcomes California Closets (calclosets.com) and Leonardo’s Marble & Granite (leonardosmarbleandgranite.com) to its showrooms. Both companies have been in business for more than three decades, and work with both trade and consumer clients.
COLOR IT SIMPLE: Sherwin-Williams’ (sherwin-williams.com) online Color Visualizer lets you upload a photo of a room and see virtually, via your laptop, phone, or tablet, how that room would look with a variety of paint colors.
ON THE MOVE: Main Street Art (mainstreetartmilford.com) in Milford has moved a few stores south (304 Main St.) to a newly built space. The shop, now owned by Natalia Wohletz, offers quality custom framing services, art supplies, and a gallery ambiance. “We sell art, books and gifts by Michigan artists, and more,” says Wohletz, an artist who also owns Peninsula Prints (peninsula-prints.com).
SWEETER DREAMS: Saatva’s (saatva.com) 100-percent-organic bedding is a luxurious and affordable way to make overnight guests — or yourself — more comfortable. Enjoy their sheets, pillows, and a topper that will make your bed feel like it has a new mattress.
THINK PINK: Pinky’s Rooftop (pinkysroyaloak.com), designed by architect Ron Rea in downtown Royal Oak on the second level of 100 S. Main St., serves up a vintage vibe with dining and lounge seating in a lush rooftop garden. Extra special: The not-to-be-missed huge, floral-themed mural, painted by Andrzej Sikora.
WHAT A DEER!: Ann Arbor-based Motawi Tileworks’ (motawi.com) recent art tile release, Vienna Woods, features dreamy appeal with an enchanting deer.
CARPET RIDE: Sit back and let Detroit Rug Restoration’s website (detroitrugrestoration.com) enchant you with the Hagopian family’s Click-to-Clean national rug-cleaning and repair services (with roll-and-send, ship-free containers), as well as online sales of heirloom-quality carpets.
NOVI’S HOT!: According to the Home Builders Association of Michigan, the number of single- family homes being constructed in Novi is up 39 percent over last year. It’s also up 23 percent in Independence Township.
DRINK IT IN: Heart of Michigan (heartofmich.com) in Howell makes seven “flavors” of Faygo candles that will add a distinctly delicious and nostalgic glow to any home or event.
— Honey Murray
Have news that pertains to the design industry that you’d like to share? Send a note to MSwoyer@hour-media.com.