Design Tips

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 Outdated cabinetry trends include arched cabinet doors, partial overlay cabinet doors, golden-stained maple, and red-tone stained cabinets.”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.

Amy Weinstein used twiggy foliage with orange buds and berries for a fall event. | Photo by Beth Singer
Amy Weinstein used twiggy foliage with orange buds and berries for a fall event. | Photo by Beth Singer

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Be Our Guest!

With Thanksgiving just weeks away, the holiday season is upon us! Many of us will be hosting friends and family in the coming weeks, so we asked top designers to share some of their favorite dining room designs, go-to entertaining tips, and delectable recipes.


"This dining space is ready for a party! These colors lend themselves to a beautiful fall event, and with a tablescape that includes twiggy foliage with orange buds and berries, plenty of low votives, and smoky glassware, it will look smashing, festive, and seasonally appropriate."
– Amy Weinstein, AMW Design Studio


“In this era of open floor plans and eat-in kitchens, formal dining rooms may seem passé. Entertaining has become more relaxed and informal; however, many homeowners still love the idea of a separate dining room. There is something special and elegant about entertaining in a space devoted solely to the purpose of dining. It brings back memories of family sit-down dinners and delicious holiday meals. I have several clients who have and prefer to use separate dining rooms. Because these areas are not used every day, they can handle darker walls, elegant furniture, and lavish drapery treatments. For instance, in the dining room pictured here, we used my client’s favorite color, emerald green, to create a dramatic yet relaxing and soothing atmosphere. We used this tone on the walls, chair fabric and draperies, accented by brass and gold. Formal dining rooms make every meal seem special and are not going away anytime soon.”
– Linda Shears, Linda Shears Designs


“Don’t just use table decorations like vases and candlesticks; pull from other things you may have around the house that could bring an element of surprise, color or texture. We did a table setting for an evening of watching the stars using a small antique telescope. We made papier-mâché orbs and painted them yellow like the moon, and placed electric tea lights in them for a soft moonlight glow. We pulled these yellow vases for their texture and some round metal orbs from a rock shop to complete the tablescape. People were thrilled to find small compasses on the place settings as their take-home gifts.

Print the menu. Nothing says great expectations for guests as much as when they see a beautiful table and a printed menu. Type up the menu in a nice-looking format and then place in in a great frame. The menu can be placed wherever you have drinks before the meal, or on the buffet or side table. Or make small, unframed menus and put them on the place setting. It’s a big impact for a small amount of effort and cost.”
– Dan Davis, Dan Davis Designs


Jones-Keena designer Heather Duggan worked with Birmingham clients to glamorously upgrade their dining room – just in time for Thanksgiving! The star of the room is the elaborately hand-painted walls in silver leaf with gold accents and variations of climbing purple cherry blossoms. A floating shelf lines the rear wall which makes a convenient buffet for holiday meals. The dining chairs were reupholstered in an elegant velvet, and silk curtains with detailed beaded trim were added. The traditional chandelier and wall sconces provide the perfect lighting for entertainment.
– Heather Duggan, Jones-Keena & Co.


“Creative centerpieces can be the star of any dinner party. I like to use unconventional materials as part of the design, and I layer fabrics, mix and match china and linens, and add lots of texture. Try stacking pedestal plates for added interest. Hit the dimmer and add a mix of candles in varying heights for perfect party lighting. Choose unscented candles so the smell won’t compete with the food. Plan a playlist and have the music on and candles lit before the first guests arrive. Go-to favorites that you keep on hand will make impromptu get-togethers a breeze. I always have ingredients for Mystic Crab Dip and Baked Brie on hand, and wine and Pellegrino in the fridge just in case friends stop over.”
– Cynthia Evans, Cynthia Evans Interiors



Baked Brie (recipe provided by Cynthia Evans, Cynthia Evans Interiors)

  • 1 puff pastry sheet
  • 1 large round of Brie
  • 1 small green apple, chopped
  • ¾ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions: Combine the apple, walnuts, cranberries, brown sugar, and melted butter in a mixing bowl.

Roll the pastry sheet into a circle. Cut the round of Brie in half horizontally. Place the bottom half of the cut Brie in the center of the pie crust. Spoon half of the apple mixture onto the Brie. Place the top half of the Brie on the mixture, and spoon the remaining apple mixture on the top of the cheese. Pull up the edges of the pastry to the center, creating the illusion of a drawstring pouch.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until browned. Serve with your favorite crackers and grapes.


Mystic Crab Dip (recipe provided by Cynthia Evans, Cynthia Evans Interiors)

  • 1 can crab meat, drained
  • 1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley

Directions: Blend the cream cheese, mayonnaise, and horseradish in an oven-proof dish. Add the onion powder, garlic powder, and parsley, and fold in the crab meat. Cook for 20 minutes at 350 until lightly browned. Garnish with a sprig of parsley and serve with crackers and grapes.


Aunt Cathy’s Famous Coleslaw (recipe provided by Anne Strickland, PORT Mfg. & Design)

  • 1 head Napa cabbage, very thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 packages ramen noodles
  • 2 oz. slivered almonds
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • ½ stick margarine


  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

Directions: Sauté noodles, almonds, and sesame seeds in the margarine until brown. Spoon onto a plate with paper towels to drain and cool. When you are almost ready to serve, put the cabbage and scallions into a bowl and add the cooled noodle mixture. Mix up the dressing and pour over cabbage. Toss well and enjoy!

Earthscape Home Products are 100% organic with natural latex, wool, and cotton for a healthy night’s sleep.
Earthscape Home Products are 100% organic with natural latex, wool, and cotton for a healthy night’s sleep.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Rest Easy

While there are many different factors that affect one’s ability to get a good night’s rest, one of the most important is the bed itself. We spoke with showroom managers David Orlando (Hästens Detroit, Suite 111) and Ted Metas (Earthscape Home Products, Suite 95) and asked them to share what makes a quality mattress, things to consider when testing and purchasing a new mattress, and what to do to create a better sleep environment within our homes.



David Orlando, Hästens Detroit: There are 3 things that make up a quality mattress:

  1. What materials the bed is made of – Quality mattresses use the finest natural materials.
  2. How those materials are put together – The care and precision of how the bed is assembled dictate the quality of the bed.
  3. How the bed performs to provide you with a deep refreshing sleep. This is a combination of the materials, the craftsmanship, and the engineering.

Ted Metas, Earthscape Home Products: A quality mattress starts with the right ingredients. The highest quality materials in the bedding industry today are 100% organic natural latex, 100% organic wool, 100% organic cotton, and pocketed encased coils. Buying a certified organic mattress ensures that there are no harmful chemicals, flame retardants, or formaldehydes, which are commonly used in conventional synthetic mattresses.



David Orlando, Hästens Detroit: Spine alignment and pressure-point relief. If your back is not straight, you can not only deprive yourself of a deep regenerative sleep, it can also give you back pain. Additionally, when we do not get enough pressure-point relief we toss and turn. Maybe not enough to wake us up, but enough to deny a great night’s sleep.

Ted Metas, Earthscape Home Products: Getting the right level of surface firmness, combined with postural support, is very important. The choices for consumers allow for a wide variety of surface comfort levels, from firm to soft and the option of firmer or gentler support levels. Temperature control is a big issue for many customers, so I look for products that are heat dissipating, which sleep cooler than conventional synthetic mattresses that absorb heat. Also available are adjustable power bases that can greatly improve sleep quality and provide a place to watch TV, read or work on a laptop or tablet.



David Orlando, Hästens Detroit:

  1. How does your spinal alignment look and feel?
  2. If you sleep with a partner, how does the mattress feel when one of you rolls over?
  3. Can you lie next to the edge without feeling like you are going to roll off?
  4. How is the temperature?
  5. Test a bed with a good pillow.
  6. Plan on spending some time in the bed to get the true feel.

Ted Metas, Earthscape Home Products: The first thing is to identify what your individual support and comfort profile is. This is accomplished through progressive sampling, which is a technique we have developed to help our clients determine the right combination of components to optimize their sleep. Other factors include mattresses for couples that will minimize motion transfer, which can cause one partner to interfere with the other’s sleep.



David Orlando, Hästens Detroit:

  1. Make your room as dark as possible
  2. Keep the temperature cool
  3. Avoid noise
  4. Get into a routine

Ted Metas, Earthscape Home Products Creating a better sleep environment starts with replacing materials in the bedroom that have VOCs that contain toxic chemicals. This starts with the mattress, but also extends to mattress pads, pillows, sheets, blankets and comforters. Additionally, many MDF (medium density fiberboard) or veneered bedroom furniture can emit formaldehydes. The paint and flooring insulation can also contribute to a list of indoor pollutants. Replacing the synthetic products and materials in your bedroom with all natural and organic ingredients, is the best way to create a healthy sleep environment.