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Alessandra Branca’s Schumacher Fabrics Now at Design Center

Internationally renowned interior designer Alessandra Branca, shown above, has brought her worldly elegance and sophistication to the Michigan Design Center with her debut collection of fabrics created exclusively for Schumacher.

Born in Rome, and with a design studio in Chicago, Branca uses comfortable elegance and wit to revolutionize traditional patterns. If patterns were music, Branca’s designs could be likened to John Mayer reworking a Mozart concerto. Dramatic scale, playful textures, and a vibrant color palette add up to one big burst of energy that  puts a new and refreshing spin on favorite classics.

Here, she shares her inspiration and how designers can have  a lot of fun with color.

New pattern inspiration: “I love damask, stripes, and toiles. And I’ve missed chintz, so I really wanted to create fabrics of today based on passion and what I’ve missed.”

Far from the crowd: “Being Italian, the crowd goes one way and I go the other.”

Pining for green: “I love acid green — that first green come spring — not mint, not apple.”

Off the path: “These are ingredients for designers to use when they want to get out of the norm. Everyone’s seen sea foam and dead brown and mossy green. Play with newness. Have fun. Decorating is for pleasure, so why shouldn’t the colors be pleasurable?” michigandesign.com


URHOUZZ presents first metro Detroit retail location

Traverse City-based Woodland Creek Furniture opened a fine-furnishings retail location that features handcrafted items. Called URHOUZZ, the West Bloomfield shop is the first retail location in metro Detroit for the family-owned business. URHOUZZ’s parent company, Woodland Creek Furniture, is committed to crafting and selling unique and custom furniture from sustainable sources. Company President Robert Evina ensures that every piece manufactured by Woodland Creek Furniture is crafted from reclaimed woods or responsibly harvested materials. He plans to open a fifth store in Ann Arbor in 2014. urhouzz.com


Epiphany Studio turns out glass for class

April Wagner of Epiphany Studios in Pontiac introduces a “Silver Series” of 50 hand-blown glass pieces, all one-of-a-kind and made for The Art of Wine: 31st Detroit International Wine Auction, a major October fundraiser for the College for Creative Studies in Detroit (Wagner’s alma mater). “This is the first year an artist was asked to create centerpieces,” says Wagner (more than 50 percent of their proceeds go toward the school). She also plans to sell the pieces at her studio. epiphanyglass.com

Danish Design

BoConcept opens in Birmingham

Urban Danish design furniture retailer BoConcept opened a 6,800-square-foot store in Birmingham. The shop features modern furniture and accessories that highlight Danish design simplicity. Franchise owners Steve and Jane Syzdek of Bloomfield Hills report that the Indivi sofa, Zarra chairs, and Tokyo bar stools are some of their biggest hits thus far. boconcept.us


Stained-Glass Tables Preserve History

Laura Scaccia opened Eclecticasa in the Michigan Design Center Resource Center. She designs tables that feature salvaged stained glass and historic elements. “Through repurposing the stained glass (much of which comes from centuries-old mansions), I merge function with beauty,” she says. “Each piece has a history that speaks to me.” The tables (each is different — all have stained-glass tops; some have contemporary/industrial bases; some are more traditional) are lit from within to showcase the colorful glass, and they come with a card that explains their heritage. eclecticasa.com


Very Fine Vinyl

Armstrong’s new vinyl flooring features good looks — and easy care. New shapes and sizes add dimension beyond color and style in the popular Alterna line. Like stone and ceramic, it’s incredibly beautiful and durable, and a comfortable surface makes Alterna tiles warmer to the touch, softer underfoot, and easier to care for in any room of the home.

“I love vinyl flooring and it performs well,” says Shirley Maddalena of Birmingham-based Maddalena Design. She shares studio space with designer Jeffrey King. The two, in fact, just installed Armstrong flooring at their studio. Adds designer Rima Belau, of Plymouth-based Rima Designs, “Vinyl flooring has come such a long way. It’s resilient and practical — a great option for basements, mudrooms, and rec rooms.” Armstrong’s dynamic new sizes allow for staggering and pattern installations. Available at Riemer Floors in Bloomfield Hills and other locations at armstrong.com.

Color Corner

Made-in-the-shade designs call for 2014 paint colors

The Cleveland-based Sherwin-Williams Color Forecast 2014 draws influence from fashion, nature, pop culture, and global traditions. “From our interest in math and science to feminine-charged colors and fabrics of the runway, the palettes are a representation of these influences and the moods they create,” says Jackie Jordan, S-W’s director of color marketing.

The four palettes include Reasoned (blacks, grays, and whites —  “great for home offices, studies, or modern kitchens”); Diaphanous (milky, sandy hues — for “bedrooms, living rooms, and bathrooms”); Curiosity (plums and browns — fitting for “dens and romantic bedrooms”); and Intrinsic (Capri blues, for example — “for a celebratory family room, kitchen, or kids’ room”). Find Sherwin-Williams color resources at sherwin-williams.com/color.