Sunday, April 25, 2010

Salvage Slave Agin', Keeps on ragin'

Can't deny I'm seriously middle-aged now, but rather than face it. I just tried to outrun it(mixed results). Started the week out playing/shopping in NYC, then it was home to work on a new design project with all those fresh ideas brimming, my regular Detroit scavenger hunts, opening show at TANK and gala fundraiser for Waldorf School/Gleaners, run the shop. I need an assistant and a nap. Anyhoo, it's movies, movies, movies in Michigan. They're getting ready to roll film on Sucker, Salvation Boulevard and SWAT. Love this group of set decorators and buyers, Taryn, Danika, Nancy and my bff Selina...I thought I worked hard! Thanks to the Michigan Film Office for that nice bit of press, the film people manage to find my offbeat place

I can't sleep for thinking about this cool couple's house in Grosse Pointe Park and all the possibilities. Just love the aesthetic, very serene old south of France and the house is one of those stately brick tudors, yum! Have these gorgeous 1800s doors I want to use, maybe as an unexpected window covering; a little Detroit industrial repurposed as furniture; build out a closet with salvaged lumber; keep and just refresh grandma's chair and dress up all those incredible arched windows with velvet, linen and silk coverings.

TANK opening Friday night at my husband's Richard Gage Design Studio was a big success!! Lulu was the perfect artist to open the season with. Her work is so fresh and accessible. Even though I was beat, I couldn't resist jumping in with the kids to do her collage workshop this morning. Show's up for two weeks, mon-fri, check in for hours. Very affordable, and from a designer's and collector's standpoint, adaptable to modern or eclectic interiors. Even though she's living in Missouri, she's local to us (and promising to move back, thank god).
The Gleaners ( and Waldorf School ( fundraiser Saturday night served up the best tasting soups in the city. What a collective of the brightest, most generous and interesting Detroiters. All that energy translated to much needed funds for the institutions that keep Detroit vibrant. So proud of my husband who made this beautiful award, a spoon that wasn't (i.e. a big hole in it), to symbolize the undone work of educating children in Detroit and feeding the hungry. My gal pal Jackie Victor was on hand in that vintage Oscar de la Renta dress (worn as her designer insisted with cowboy boots and a jean jacket..I love it when they listen to me) representing sponsor Avalon Bakery. Left in time to have that all important Spanish coffee at Roast with artists Clinton Snider and Yuen Hom All this talent in one town....I'm getting a little ferklempt, talk amongst yourselves....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bitin' the Big Apple

It's pure flow when I get cruisin on a good tack and nothin but me the boat, water and wind. It can happen anytime you are doing what you love. This, my friend and client Jackie Victor tells me is what we were experiencing on our whirlwind weekend to New York City. She ruled on all things to eat, owner of Avalon Bakery and voice of food in Detroit. I took over when it came time to shop. Spring has brought in new business for the shop ( and that's all the excuse I need to shop. We hit the Brooklyn flea. Yelp was right, yummy spot for street food. We scored a few items, but my favorite is still the Chelsea garage flea market. Apparently it, or we, were infectious. I spied some decidely disturbing items in a back booth and made a beeline to them. You know I'm obssessed with creepy, and vintage negatives of crime scenes just sent me into orbit. As if we needed it, these three dealers just fueled the fire. Oh, was I smitten with Adam, Andrea and Peter. Obviously sent from central casting, Adam is a bold buyer and the ringmaster who whips up the crowd. All he needs is a sparring partner; I volunteered my services. Andrea is the laid back wife who quietly keeps the train on the rails, knows her town and graciously let us in on the secret. Peter is the sidekick, photographer and artist, who directed my eye to the tragic beauty of the 1940's crimes and their victims trapped in the images. These people need their own t.v. show. I Couldn't get enough of them, we make plans for dinner. Moving right along, Jackie and I swoop in and out of booths, snapping up things that reminded me of the Paris flea markets, elegant deco decoratives you can never find in the Midwest, sumptuous velvet runner all trimmed and tasselly, sassy prints. Made Jackie buy a slinky embroidered vintage Oscar de la Renta dress and Gaulthier tattoo blouse, because I'm the designer and I said so! We all met up at the very cool Ace Hotel (if the heritage company was a hotel it would look like this) turns out Adam and Andrea know their food and we headed uptown to Bukhara Grill. We eat like sultans. Refusing to get off the ride, we send the men to bed and Andrea takes us girls to http://www.marlowandsons/ in Brooklyn. Come on, the server is hot the mood is sultry, I can't keep out of the desserts and I sure couldn't stop drinking the cocktail. We tear ourselves away for one more stop at Otto's Shrunken Head on the lower eastside. Gritty blues is playing, I got room for one more set. Everybody looks like Keith Richard's family member, the singer is older than dirt and sounds like Wolfman Jack. I fall into bed like a three year old. This Eve has bitten the apple and she won't rest until she gets some more, gonna have to score those $9 spirit fares and head back stat.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Shuffled off to Buffalo

Spring Buffalo? Hey the slave goes where the salvage is and it just so happens that Buffalo is a beautiful old city (Detroit could take a page out of this book on the saving of old buildings and reusing them, so that I don't have to keep seeing the wreckage in the new york times please!!) and the weather was spectacular. We took off on Monday and hit Toronto for a quick refresher on how a really creative city pulls it together. Check out the new bohemian hotspot on west queen. The artists took over a couple of old hotels and tweaked them, each room a different artist. Kept the old as found look, added a few bits, mostly salvaged and voila. You sooo wanna stay there, all the beautiful people were there My favorite store, commute home always wows me with curated salvage, the things they make from found objects, and the healthy price tags. Then onto Buffalo, my peeps here are crusty characters uber smart, artistic and their eye is lethal. Loaded up on early letterpress, not just letters, whole words! carved wood and stained delicious, 8' theater light super mod, 3 kinds of industrial lights you will want over your kitchen island, 3 kinds letters 2 of which you've never seen I promise, an early dress form, a 50's deco dresser (I'm so flirting with the upcoming modernism show) and the piece de resistance: the giant longhorn head (flocked plaster a must have). I cannot do that commute home display cause I am packed to the rafters...threw it in and hung out back in the sun drinkin beer.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Carpe Diem

Whatta great day, I'm on my bike first thing, head over to my new pool at LA fitness, windows lookin out at the Zoo's water tower, this rocks! The weather is fantastic and it’s my junkin’ day. I set out for Hamtramck. I describe it as Detroit’s version of Brooklyn. Do you know they speak 27 different languages there? The houses are practically touching and right up on the street so people can actually have conversations with their neighbors, walk in to town for a bite, a drink, do a little shopping. I dig that old Polish sausage shop with all the plants in the windows and weird items for sale from the old country, not to mention the best sausage and prices. My friend Michele has a yoga studio on the main drag, The Yoga Suite (, which she shares with her partner Mark’s law office with only a curtain separating them. The space is a 100 year-old store front and she has fabulous taste, perfect chillin’ vibe for getting down into some relaxation posture. She’s got stuff to peddle and I know this will be a good junkin’ day. A HOT I mean HOT pair of matching burgundy mohair velvet settees, metal cabinets, blackboards, wire basket, planters, industrial shelves, carts, tables, chairs… I gotta make trips! We hit Maria’s up the street for some yummy Mexican food and swing by a building that she is currently designing a BBQ restaurant in. We talk about using some lab tables I have for seating, stools, lights etc. I pitch a fit cause they don’t want to expose the full 20’ ceilings with original tin. People, you gotta know it just don’t feel right eating under fluorescent lights and drop ceilings, no! Design matters to a restaurant’s success, success anywhere. I say we’ll save them money on a cool salvage look, so spring for the extra utilities already. I gotta split, I’m back downtown later for a really rockin concert. It’s the kind where you know all the words to the songs, and you and 1000 other fans are all dancing and belting out the tune together, well that’s how I roll anyway. My buddy Tim who owns Zumbas Mexican Grille (coupons online) down the street from me is always my date of choice. I kill two birds, have a good time and get a little gorilla marketing, Detroit style, in. I don’t have to do anything: Tim knows everybody and is introducing me while bragging on my store. The Stone Temple Pilots is a band I love live and it’s at the Fillmore, a gorgeous old theater in one of my favorite blocks. Around the corner is Cliff Bell’s, which mixes a killer martini and hosts cool events, my favorite being “The Moth” the open-mike story telling thing. We make last call at the Bosco in Ferndale to hear Crowned Heads, some swanky live duo and I fall into bed at midnight. Carpe Diem Dude!