Design Tips

Elizabeth Jones of E.W. Kitchens suggests maximizing vertical space when designing a pantry.
Elizabeth Jones of E.W. Kitchens suggests maximizing vertical space when designing a pantry.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Refresh and Rejuvenate

Now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays have passed, there is no better time than the new year to get organized. Whether it’s a butler’s pantry or a walk-in closet, these multi-functional spaces offer great storage solutions that help create order for the homeowners.

“A functional and organized pantry is one of the most significant pieces in your kitchen remodel. The secret lies in maximizing your pantry’s organizational capabilities so that you can keep it fully stocked and functional. Whether your space is large or small, consider the following ideas: Organize with shelves and racks (think spice racks), maximize vertical space (for storing that seasonally used small appliance) and invest in canisters, jars, and baskets (hide all the mess in an aesthetically pleasing way).”
– Elizabeth Jones, Showroom Manager at E.W. Kitchens

“This large pantry is an essential staging area for the whole operation of the kitchen. The pantry is built off the kitchen and there is an entrance from the garage, so it’s easy to drop off groceries on the island before having to put them away in the cupboards. There is a lot of storage – including a pull-out drawer for shoes and another for coats. The sink is used to make floral arrangements and for prepping for parties. There is a small beverage refrigerator in this pantry island. There are also smartphone device chargers built into some drawers. Venetian plaster was applied to the ceiling in the pantry to add depth and to balance the visual weight of the floor. A casual knob was selected for the cabinet hardware to complement the sink and faucet. The floors are hand-scraped walnut. Windows were added above the counter to let natural light in.”
– Jane Synnestvedt, Jane Synnestvedt Interior Design Inc.

This laundry / mudroom, designed by Lucy Earl of Jones-Keena & Co., is part of a whole home new-build construction on Torch Lake, Michigan. The space follows much of the theme of the home, particularly the nearby red/white/black kitchen. The entrance to the room is through a sliding red barn door. Metallic tile lines the walls; hand-crafted metallic grass cloth reaches above the cabinets to the ceiling. The counters and sink are warm soapstone. The clients are both veterinarians and doggy-details mattered. Look closely: their pups are both lounging in their specially designed, custom-built kennels!

The butler’s pantries in these kitchens, designed by Jennifer Taylor of Jennifer Taylor Studio, both display her clients’ substantial collections of crystal. The upper cabinet interiors are well lit and highlight the crystal's beauty, creating an eye-catching glow. The clients have additional pantries for food staples, so these lower cabinets serve as storage for large serving pieces. The counters offer staging space for food and a surface for pouring beverages en route to the dining room.

Design by Jones-Keena & Co. | Photograph by Beth Singer
Design by Jones-Keena & Co. | Photograph by Beth Singer

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Value of Hiring an Interior Designer

Some people know they could use an interior designer’s expertise, but they just don’t know where to begin. Michigan Design Center is here to help. Our pool of Featured Designers are the experts who can help you realize your design dreams.

Have a clear idea of your wants and needs. Are you looking to renovate a kitchen, update a bath, or would you like your entire home to be refurbished? To get a sense of designers’ specialties, as well as to see a portfolio of their work, go to and the Find a Designer tab. MDC also has a complimentary Designer Referral service to help you narrow your search. Contact Emily Crawford at 248.649.4772 or

One of the benefits of hiring a designer is that, along with their skillful planning and exclusive resources, they know the most capable tradespeople to bring on board, so you can avoid costly mistakes. Many designers offer a complimentary consultation. Once you decide to hire a designer, he or she will discuss the budget for your project with you – and try to keep within those boundaries.

Some people worry that a designer will impose his or her tastes on you. But good designers listen to their clients and create spaces tailored to their unique personalities and needs. You’ll be delighted with how a designer can make your home comfortable, livable – and personal.

The Agnes Pendant in three sizes by AERIN for Visual Comfort, available at City Lights Detroit.
The Agnes Pendant in three sizes by AERIN for Visual Comfort, available at City Lights Detroit.

Monday, December 3, 2018

What’s In / What’s Out

With the new year just around the corner, we asked Michigan Design Center’s showrooms to let us know which design trends are emerging for 2019 and which are on the way out.

Looking ahead to 2019, Maria Kramer, Gallery Director of City Lights Detroit, expects chandeliers to continue to take a back seat to oversize pendants. “Pendants typically have been used in smaller areas such as an entry or in groups over a kitchen island, but larger-than-life statement pendants work wonderfully in dining areas. The pendant’s single light source is a nice change.” Mixed metal, brass, and matte black finishes will continue to be popular, while Kramer believes polished and antique nickel are on their way out.

“From trimmings to metallic accents, designers are making statements with ornamentation. Designers venture into glam and dream up maximalist spaces that push the boundaries of design, using fabrics and wallcoverings that draw visitors into the room. Trim has been on the forefront of this movement. Interior designers are using tassels, beading, embroidery, and cut velvets. From the affordable to the aspirational, adding unique details and touches of personality through ornamentation is definitely a prominent trend.” – Loree O’Sullivan, Digital Marketing Manager for Fabricut (Available at Designer Furniture Services + Fabrics)

“Kitchens are esthetic showpieces that are the center of family gatherings, intimate moments, and collaborative work. Some of the up-and-coming superstars are dark wood islands with white painted perimeter cabinetry, Euro-style cabinetry, modern and exotic wood veneers, and painted Shaker cabinetry with accentuated glazes. Outdated cabinetry trends include arched cabinet doors, partial overlay cabinet doors, golden-stained maple, and red-tone stained cabinets.” – Elizabeth Jones, Showroom Manager at E.W. Kitchens

“After meeting with sales rep Ned Baker from Tamarian Carpets, a hand-knotted Tibetan rug line, we see a trend in colors going toward the warmer neutral color palette such as gold, copper, and rose gold.  Grey is still represented, but adding the warmer color palette gives it an updated look.” Coralyn Eddy, Showroom Manager of The Ghiordes Knot

“Is grey gone? No! But we are receiving new tiles in many colors, with blue being prominent. Textured tiles emulating fabric are popular options for walls.  Patterned tiles have been popular choices for powder room, bathroom, and mudroom floors, but are also being used for backsplashes and feature walls. Hexagon and chevron shapes have a modern yet retro vibe.” Jan Grudzen, Showroom Manager of Beaver Tile and Stone

Jackie DiSante, sales associate at Rozmallin, says that large-scale wallpaper is in. The Matthew Williamson collection for Osborne & Little and the Christian LaCroix collections for Designer’s Guild have some big, bold patterns as well as patterns from Innovations Wallcovering and Peter Fasano, which are soon to be on display in Suite 60.

Steven Irish, Showroom Manager at Baker-Rozmallin, sees a trend in products with clean lines and traditional forms with minimal details that are adaptable and transition well. For example, Thomas Pheasant’s Paris Sofa used to be tufted but now has a cleaner look. He feels that fussy trims and frilly fringe are on their way out.