Design Tips

This large bonus room by CLOTH & KIND was transformed into a modern-day speakeasy. | Photo by Sarah Dorio
This large bonus room by CLOTH & KIND was transformed into a modern-day speakeasy. | Photo by Sarah Dorio

Monday, April 2, 2018

In the Dark

Light and airy rooms are very welcoming and accommodating, but they sometimes lack the warmth and sophistication that a well-done, dark and moody space offers. Read more about how several of the area’s top designers incorporated these dark hues into their clients’ spaces.

“We aspired to transform this massive bonus room, situated above a three-car garage, into a cozy, dark and moody 'modern day speakeasy.' The soot black walls were specifically chosen to help make this vacuous space feel infinitely cozier. We incorporated the use of lighter accents and interesting layers to keep it from feeling too heavy, and the abundance of natural light helped as well. In large and small spaces alike, we never shy away from dark and bold walls - and our clients are always happier for it!”
– Krista Nye Nicholas and Tami Ramsay, CLOTH & KIND

“The clients let me design this space exactly how I wanted. We get a good chuckle as we have dubbed the room 'Amanda’s bathroom.' The goal was to create a moody lower level that had a little edge to it. There is an incredible bar, amazing artwork, and lots of gaming, so we wanted to approach the bathroom with a dark and moody feel, but still a little playful. We immediately fell in love with the Dia de los Muertos design from Detroit Wallpaper Company and had it scaled so that the eyes of the skulls were peeking out over the mirror. The lighting emits a soft glow out of smoky gray glass from Tec Lighting above a custom concrete trough sink. An espresso cabinet with all-black plumbing and hardware adds a soft, slick look on top of the bold tuxedo and charcoal-colored zig-zag (Sterling Row) Walker Zanger tile from Virginia Tile. The colors work seamlessly with the rest of the lower level and the subtle details keep you looking around the room for more.”
– Amanda Sinistaj, Ellwood Interiors

“This is the Ladies’ Powder Room in the Governor’s Residence, referred to as the 'Power Room.' The view from the window was of the parking lot, so we selected a treatment to block the view, as well as contribute to the dark, moody effect in the room. Since the room is small and there is no natural light, we took advantage of those characteristics and went dark. Contrary to what many people think, a small room can be powerful with dark finishes. A palette of deep green, gray, and charcoal was selected to coordinate with the main spaces of the residence. To provide visual relief from the intensity of the intimate space, framed photographs from the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame were selected not only for their historical interest, but to provide a 'lift' from the deep-green grasscloth background.”
– Kathleen McGovern, Kathleen McGovern Studio of Interior Design

“Here is a special powder room entirely clad in a pewter metallic glass tile. The room was designed to create the mood of an atmospheric lounge in a trendy nightclub. I love dark spaces that are a bit edgy, and add mystery and intrigue!”
– Terry Ellis, Room Service Interior Design

“The Dressing Room walls were painted black, contrasting with crisp white woodwork and windows, reminiscent of a classic little black dress adorned with pearls. The art over the sofa was the inspiration for the room done by Rene Gruau, a famous Parisian fashion illustrator. The dark walls and draperies were a perfect backdrop for the white furniture, vintage 3-way mirror, and accessories. We added the touch of yellow for a pop of color. There were places to display handbags and shoes, dressing area, and a desk for a snack or computer. The room was designed so you could sleep, work, or entertain. What woman wouldn’t want this private sanctuary?”
– Phyllis Whitehead, Fifi & Coco Interiors

“Our clients wanted a dark and moody bedroom that still displayed playful elements. We chose jewel tones to play off the almost black walls, and an eclectic blend of traditional and mid-century modern lines. The Fornasetti plate collection adds to the mysteriousness of the space. They almost have a voyeuristic presence. The large mirror reflects the light from the window and is also functional for dressing. These clients are creative people and have a dark and funny sense of humor. With all of the spaces we have done for them, they wanted them to be unique, fun, and beautiful.”
– Dan Davis, Dan Davis Design

"'When in doubt, wear black.' The inspiration for this powder room renovation was the framed nude sketch the client already owned. The dark patterned wallcovering in shades of gray created a dramatic backdrop. Bubble glass pendants were chosen for their simplicity. Brass and polished nickel accents add a dose of sophistication.”
– Toby Sneider, Snieder Custom Interiors

Dark woodwork in this traditional home was painted white to blend with the walls and ceiling | Photo by Michael Raffin
Dark woodwork in this traditional home was painted white to blend with the walls and ceiling | Photo by Michael Raffin

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Into the Mix

If you’ve been decorating your home under the impression that all design elements need to match, you’ve been missing out. Some of the most stunning spaces are ones that incorporate many different design styles; however, it is possible to overdo it. Read about how a few of the area’s top designers seamlessly incorporated multiple design styles into their clients’ spaces.

“The design concept in the great room featuring the gold ottoman was 'Seamless Style.' The architecture in the house was quite traditional, but when the clients moved in they wanted the look to be more transitional. One way we accomplished this was by painting all the dark woodwork in the house white to blend seamlessly with the walls and ceiling. We mixed complementing traditional with sleek-lined pieces to help change this once-dated room into a space the client was proud to show off. Overall, the house had a color palette that was quite neutral. Pops of citron gold were intentionally placed throughout the large social spaces in the house to create interest and eye movement. 

The traditional Moroccan motif on the rug mixes well with modern fabrics in the living room featuring blue painted built-in shelving. The horizontal lines on the Roman shades and the clean lines of the settee style sofas, combine effortlessly with the star-shaped ottomans in an up-to-date faux leather. The raised leaf pattern on the pillows and the grass cloth on the walls give this room an earthy feel with a current bold color palette.”
 – Jill Schumacher and Michelle Mio, Rariden Schumacher Mio

“With bold strokes of pattern and color, the great room above is a celebration of the mix! Classical elements, such as the iconic Greek key, mix well with the multi-tiered crystal chandelier, the colorful damask pillow fabric, and the whimsical dotted upholstery and oversized planted palms. They recall themes found in the tropics, as well as stately Art Deco interiors. The underlying theme is classical, but the interpretation is modern.

I believe what ties the bedroom above together is a common thread that all the furniture and accessories share. Everything seems as though it has been touched, or created by, human hands, possibly female hands. There’s a certain nostalgia and comfort with this mix of genres. The dark green, grey, and white color combination is refreshing, and anchors the design intention nicely.” – Amy Miller Weinstein, AMW Design Studio

“We were hired by one of our clients because of our reputation for working with existing pieces to achieve an eclectic mix. They love mid-century modern and tasked us with how to combine that style with some existing folk art, some family heirlooms, and some recently purchased contemporary art. The client already owned the two traditional rugs. She specified a new mid-century style sectional and did an eclectic art mix on the main wall, making the mix of styles front and center. The older pieces really pop against the modern lines of the house and the bright pops of colors.

Another client asked for a distinctive and fun approach to their new home. We combined vibrant colors with rustic surfaces and pieces that mixed multiple styles, sometimes even combined in one piece. The chandelier has a very traditional style, but the fact that it is all black chain makes it modern. The painting is a traditional equestrian, but the abstract treatment and colors make it feel more playful. The dramatic scale and the fact that we chose to lean the piece make it feel very unexpected in the space. Also, the client loved the pairing of the tufted chaise, which is very traditional, with the playful Buddha occasional table.

Another client wanted a dramatic and powerful bedroom, despite the small size of the space. Our client wanted a mix of masculine and feminine and unexpected fun. It all started with a Clarke & Clarke wallpaper from Duralee, a traditional subject matter done in an unexpected palette. Our client loved the playful wallpaper as a backdrop for the iron bed and the industrial light sconces. We combined a traditional rug and a cork floor in warm caramel tones. The dark grey walls and crisp white shutters make a well-grounded backdrop for all the pops of colors. We took a small-scale vintage chair and gave it new life with this playful fabric found at Tennant & Associates by Jim Thompson Fabrics. Pillow fabrics are from Robert Allen." 
– Dan Davis, Dan Davis Design

Custom furniture and luxury fabrics in the new Designer Furniture Services + Fabrics showroom.
Custom furniture and luxury fabrics in the new Designer Furniture Services + Fabrics showroom.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Introducing MDC’s Newest Showrooms!

Michigan Design Center welcomes you to visit our three new showrooms: Designer Furniture Services + Fabrics, Suite 22; Lighting Resource Studio, Suite 18; and Theodore Alexander, Suite 30.

Designer Furniture Services + Fabrics, Suite 22

Designer Furniture Services has expanded into Suite 22 and is pleased to introduce luxury fabrics to their product lineup.  Browse fabrics, trims, and drapery hardware from Fabricut, S. Harris, Stroheim, Vervain, Trend, Stout, Alaxi, and Silver State.

Lighting Resource Studio, Suite 18

Lighting Resource Studio presents the grand opening of The Gallery, featuring cutting-edge lighting designs by Sonneman, Corbett, Troy, and Hudson Valley. New galleries include Crystorama and fine art curated by M Contemporary Art.

Theodore Alexander, Suite 30
Theodore Alexander will be redesigning their “showhouse within the showroom,” featuring new furnishings from classic traditional to upscale contemporary, for every design need.

In addition to our three new showrooms, Fifi & Coco Interiors will be opening this spring in Suite 27.