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    Undisguised beauty

    A volunteer-led initiative to restore an iconic theatre is a labor of love. By R. Collins Vaudeville-style in Detroit is hard to imagine if not witnessed first-hand. Vaudeville was the birth of a brand new strain of theatre life as well as an era that sparked many notable and often tumultuous careers. Judy Garland took to the stage with the Gumm sisters for the first 13 years of her career, and Harry Houdini’s act was picked up by one of the most sought-after agents at the time. Vaudeville fused entertainment with big business for the first time and, as a result, the movie palace was born. The Redford Theatre on…

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    Sustainable preservation

    When walking up the path of the historic mansion at the Felt Estate Historic Home & Gardens, one can almost hear the 1920s roaring back to life thanks to a community-driven sustainable preservation and restoration initiative that began more than 15 years ago. The mansion, which was completed in 1928 on more than 750 acres of land near the Saugatuck Dunes State Park in Michigan, features more than 12,000 square-feet inspired by the classic design, symmetry, and decorative features of Georgian Classical Revival Style architecture. Original text by: R.J. Weick Photos courtesy: Felt Estate Read more in the print edition

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    Living in history

    Featured in Volume 1: Issue 2 Chicago’s Wright Plus 150 brings modern day living and historical architecture together for a unique experience in Oak Park, Illinois. Later this month, nine private residences will open their doors allowing visitors and architectural enthusiasts alike a glimpse into the rich architectural background and design history of the homes. The residential tours not only offer a look at iconic Prairie-style architecture, but also launch a year-long celebration commemorating the 150th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s birthday. Original text by: Chelsea Slocum Photos courtesy: James Caulfield Read more in the print edition

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    Illustrating spaces

    Straight Line Design’s team of professional designers and staff carry their company motto with them every time they walk into a new client meeting. “Our tagline is ‘it’s your home, make it great,’” said Randy Ruter, owner of Straight Line Design. “We believe it. We are honored to be asked to help with the design and the creation of a new space. The [staff] have a passion to help people create a space they can love and live in for year to come.” With two locations in Spring Lake and Holland, the full-service kitchen and bath studio is able to provide its services to homeowners and builders along the lakeshore…

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    An architectural movement

    An organization takes steps toward raising public awareness about architecture throughout the state.   Since 1957 the Michigan Architectural Foundation has dedicated its efforts to promoting and preserving architecture as a fine art. Originally established by the Michigan Society of Architects—now known as the Michigan Chapter of American Institute of Architects—the foundation not only serves as a resource for educational programs, information, and funding, but also strives to raise public awareness and appreciation for architecture. “The Foundation’s mission is to make the public aware of how architecture enriches our lives,” said Robert P. Washer, president of MAF. Washer has a civil engineering background, is a Fellow at the Engineering Society…

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    Modern Legacy

    A historic preservation initiative is opening the pages on Michigan’s storied role with modernism. Michigan, while recognized for its prowess in shaping the automobile and furniture-making industries, is not often credited for its integral role in influencing modern design and modernism in America. The Michigan State Historic Preservation Office became acutely aware of this fact while undertaking a major initiative more than eight years ago to research, document, and promote the preservation of buildings that had originally been constructed between the 1940s and 1970s. “We saw a trend of buildings coming of age from the historic point of view, where those buildings were either up for major rehabilitation, some major…

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    Elements of design: an architect’s perspective.

    Cornwell Architects, an architectural design firm located in Traverse City, has been leaving its mark in the region since 1948. Throughout the years, the firm has worked on a number of notable projects, such as: the TACS Boathouse on Boardman Lake, the renovation of the historic Miliken Place building, the TBA Credit Union Corporate Headquarters, Elmwood Township Fire Hall, and the Elk Rapids Village Memorial Park. While the firm is known for its architectural design work in the commercial space, the team has also worked with clients on residential projects throughout Traverse City, Leland, Eastport, and Leelanau County. Now in its 68th year of operations and third generation of ownership,…

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    Wood canvas

    A family-owned company in the region brings unique hardwood flooring and staircase solutions to residential and commercial spaces. There is a classic elegance to hardwoods. Its timeless appearance, durability, and functional performance add warmth and style to a home. While the applications of hardwoods are endless, it is often found in hand-crafted furnishings, rich trim around the perimeter of the interior spaces, flooring, and staircases. Delivering innovative and distinctive solutions for clients in custom hardwood flooring and stairs is a specialty RT Baldwin, a West Michigan-based company, has been providing for more than 20 years. Located in the greater Grand Rapids area—a region with a rich history in fine wood…

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    The architect planners

    A Grand Rapids-based firm builds with client relationships and traditionally-based style. Since its establishment in 1995, Sears Architects has worked with private homeowners, historic residential associations, private developers and joint-venture partnerships to create visually stunning and award-winning residential and commercial projects throughout the state and across the country. The West Michigan-based boutique architecture and planning firm’s work ranges from homes and cottages in Michigan, and neighborhood planning in Harbor Springs, to mixed-use and hospitality projects as far south as Gasparilla, Florida. While the firm has experience in both the commercial and residential field, Founder and Principal Rob B. Sears said the team specializes in custom residential and accounts for 85-to-90…