Serving up Style

FURNISHINGS | inspired designers




WHO: Friends Laura Zender, in photo on right, and Tiffany Edison, left, collaborated on a project at the Michigan Design Center (MDC) in Troy. Zender, of Laura Zender Design, is an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers and has degrees in interior design from Chicago’s Harrington Institute of Interior Design and the University of Michigan. Specializing in residential design since 2005, she has firms in Chicago and Ann Arbor. Edison, of Persnickety Interior Design, graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in psychology, and also studied interior design. She was the proprietor/resident interior designer at Persnickety, a home accents retail store in Adrian, for nearly 10 years before moving to Ann Arbor three years ago.

DESIGNER’S GOAL: The women were asked by Schumacher to design a vignette for the 2017 Celebrations Around the World event, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the MDC. Inspired by a jazz-themed painting, the duo was drawn to its rich hues and French and Creole influences. “We wanted to portray what one might find in an upscale blues club in New Orleans,” Zender says. “Our spaces always incorporate treasures and art collected along the way, warm textures and color, and a mix of vintage and new items.”

INFO: Tiffany Edison, 517-902-8705; Laura Zender, 734-369-8251,


Designing for Dining: Tips from Tiffany Edison

• Switch it up. A silver champagne bucket is a fun stand-in for a vase.
• Be sure those with different personalities/backgrounds sit next to each other. It will make the conversation more interesting.
• Consider the scale of the space. We used art to fill a space.
• Make things personal and intimate with special touches, such as a monogram.

“Avoid being matchy-matchy in paint colors, patterns, or style. Mix it up!” – Laura Zender


A. Moorea in Lava black, price upon request, Schumacher, Michigan Design Center, Troy
B. Mughal Leaf in Imperial, price upon request, Schumacher, Michigan Design Center, Troy
C. Anna Damask in rouge/Prussian blue, price upon request, Schumacher, Michigan Design Center, Troy
A. Jay Blue paint, Sherwin-Williams, metro Detroit-area stores,
B. Privilege Green paint, Sherwin-Williams, metro Detroit-area stores,
Galerie cocktail table in antique brass, price upon request, Schumacher, Michigan Design Center, Troy


WHO: Wanda Brown, owner and interior design director at West Bloomfield-based Wanda Brown Interior Design, has a B.S. in interior design from Western Michigan University. Certified by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) for 25 years, the designer’s résumé includes experience in luxury residential and kitchen and bath design, and hospitality design in Five-Star hotels and casinos. Her career began 27 years ago at the illustrious Hudson’s Interior Design Studio, where she honed her design skills as a senior interior designer for 13 years. Brown’s work has been featured in many Michigan Design Center vignettes, as well as several Designer Show Houses throughout metro Detroit.


DESIGNER’S GOAL: Brown, shown below, wanted to transport a few close friends to the south of France for her bridal brunch-themed vignette for the 2017 Celebrations Around the World open house at the Michigan Design Center in Troy. “I used a large-scale wall mural to create the effect of overlooking the south of France, as well as French-inspired furnishings and accents,” Brown says. “You can almost feel the breeze coming in off the water!” To further immerse visitors in the experience, located in the Gardner Builders showroom, Brown chose elements that complemented each other in creative ways — such as a large contemporary painting, turned on its side, above a traditional fireplace with a hand-forged metal fire screen flanked by a carved-wood chair. She also juxtaposed a ceramic charger from the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center with crystal glasses on the countertop.

INFO: 313-690-0791,


Designing for Dining: Tips from Wanda Brown

• Instead of using bright or light colors on the walls, select deeper tones, even if it’s a small space. That makes a space feel more dramatic and creates a sense of intimacy.
• Lighting must be functional, yet create an intimate atmosphere. Instead of lighting the entire space with a single overhead light source, I use several different light sources and position the lights strategically to light the table and the tops of surfaces, and to highlight artwork, furniture, and accessories.
• Mixing finishes, periods of furniture, and various types of accessories within a space gives it a more interesting and collected feel. Don’t be afraid to try mixing different elements within your space. Just remember, the pieces you select must complement and relate to each other in some way.

“Both the large-scale carved-wood chair and the circular banquette seating built into the island invite you to relax and to linger awhile.” – Wanda Brown


Dark Olive paint, Benjamin Moore, metro Detroit-area stores,
Palecek alabaster jar, $518, RJ Thomas Ltd., Michigan Design Center, Troy
Untitled reproduction print, to the trade, $897, CHC Art, Marge Carson carved wood Marguerite chair, $6,468, RJ Thomas Ltd., Michigan Design Center, Troy