Friday, August 28, 2009

a house of salvage at TANK gallery

I'm smitten with Clint Snyder's installation at TANK (check it out on facebook TANK/425), the practical art school and gallery at my husband's studio. It's a mini house of salvage. I've always said we could build a whole house of salvage with the stuff strewn about this city and Clint's mini one is a good start. I particularly love that it was built for an artist's designed putt putt golf course in Detroit at the Caid Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit, curated by Graham White and called "Puttopia." Clint's letting me "decorate" the place and tonight he'll be unveiling it. Clint's a serious painter, in a silly clown kind of a way, and a passionate Detroiter. Rick and I have a painting I really love of his. It's of a rundown house in Hamtramck done on recycled lumber. We had to pay him in trips to Arizona and New York City with my mother (do we drive a hard bargain or what) and possibly that's why he's calling this show "taking bad ideas to necessary conclusions." I don't know, but we can all find out tonight. He's teaming up with a Roeper student and you know how smart those kids are so I think this is going to be a good one. See you at 7pm

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A restaurant thrives in Detroit

You should have seen the smile on Dave Mancini's face as he celebrated the one year anniversary of Supino's pizzeria in Eastern Market. There he was hosting a party at the Farnsworth community garden, sharing the wealth. Already one year in and on his way to a beer and wine license yahoo! a solid following paying off that $$italian brick oven and the foundation in place for his outdoor oven at Farnsworth gardens courtesy of Molly Motor chef/gardener/ceramicist extraordinaire. I'm sure all the high five's from the diva's of food in the media didn't hurt (even yours truly got a plug or two for the Detroit found object interiors). I took the whole family down and we noshed on fresh food and veggies from the local garden/farms, drank Motor City Beer from the keg, cruised across the street to the Yes Farm theatre/gallery ( to watch a sweet 20 minute short film by Nicole MacDonald about the city and then cheered my 10-year old Wyatt on as he played soccer on the vacant lot adjacent. This is how community should be: block parties, all ages, potluck of healthy food and people playing a game together. The suburbs should take a page outta of this handbook.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


It's always fun to hunt for pieces for "theme interiors." Longtime customer Rafat Mandwee and his brothers are opening an Arabic restaurant and lounge in Kalamazoo by their wine/convenience store called Tiffany's (it's also right by the original Heritage Company). The name Zooroona means "visit us" in Arabic and the goal is to create an interior that evokes a typical middle eastern cafe'. We took advantage of the competitively priced, locally sourced salvage that both Heritage Companies supply and mixed warm rustic pieces with new materials in sun-baked colors of the region. Raf recently had me over to his house for an authentic Iraqi breakfast to go over our shopping list. I loved the sweet cardamom tea, the warm bread with a fresh farm-type cheese and honey. He, my husband and I had worked on this house and his jewelry store together years ago. He loves to entertain in a style typical to his culture so out went the traditional living room and in went sitting cushions on the floor with low tables. A baptismal font I'd salvaged from a church became an altar with fountain. A beautiful old picture of his now deceased father hangs above it and he looks every bit the beloved head of a large Iraqi family. A lucky find of mosque windows were turned into table tops, an old rug was cut up and "framed" in an oak church railing. The earthy colors throughout, traditional textiles, painted and worn woods, old glass tiles and lace metal work we selected provide just the right backdrop for hosting Raf's multi-ethnic friends. One typical evening, my husband and I met people from Egypt, Lebanon and Iraq. Raf provides these beautiful leather Morrocan slippers we put on the minute we arrived, leaving our shoes at the door. It was a kick smoking the fruity tobaccos in the beautiful Nargila (means hookah). These and the delicate glass tea cups he serves his tea in will be sold in a retail area of the new restaurant. Raf has a gift for hosting and entertaining and he's a great ambassador for all things Middle Eastern. His attention to authentic detail and design flair will create just the right ambience and I predict Zooroona will be a favorite hangout in Kalamazoo. Look for it to open this fall and say "merhaba" (hello) when you see the brothers Raf, Saad, Habib, Talat.

Living and Loving the Local

Just a few more reasons to love our local riches....The other night downtown Royal Oak hosted a "kid's cruise" in tandem with the Dream Cruise where millions of folks line Woodward Avenue to watch vintage cars cruise by. Only a 6-block bike ride and our family was downtown for fun and games in the parking lot across Main Street from my shop. Wyatt, a budding musician, was keen on the kid's rock bands playing on an outdoor stage. Then we spread a blanket in the parking lot and watched a movie, Hotel for Dogs, on the big screen. How cool is that? All for free too.

How about finding good local places to eat, where you know you are a supporting a local family or families, and the food is good, fresh and your kid likes it too! Here's Wyatt and I (he's the little imp far left side with the smiley face on his cheek) in the very tiny, very cool and inexpensive, Noble Fish sushi counter within the Japanese grocery store of the same name. It's right on 14 Mile Road near Main Street in Clawson. Lunch is served until 2:30 then they close and reopen just before dinner. Free green tea! Great sushi, and wyatt gives the japanese candy by the check out a thumbs up.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hurray for Hollywood

Nothing but glamour and glitz at the heritage company. Yes hollywood has discovered me and would you believe, my stuff isn't grungy enough for them? Finally, my people have come to claim me!! Am now scrounging the city for more rusty, bombed out metal objects for the movie Red Dawn. In the meantime, set designers are calling for objects for the Little Murder set. Stay tuned for star turns etc. .