• Featured,  Form

    Naturally nautical

    Among the many unique—and sometimes unexpected—happenings associated with homebuilding, one of the most intriguing can be a finished home’s likeness to those who caringly coax it into existence. A lakeside project finished in Bridgeman, Michigan by the residential restoration, renovation, and new construction firm known as Mark Scott Homes enveloped the personality of one homeowner as a serene and hospitable gathering place set atop a Lake Michigan dune. “The unique thing about our portfolio is that there are really no two houses that are alike. We have a wide variety of styles,” said Jason Fischer, project designer at Mark Scott Homes in Niles, Michigan. “The personalities of the homes usually…

  • Craftsmanship,  Design,  Featured

    Redesigned palette

    Lakeside Surfaces Inc., a Midwest fabricator and installer of countertop materials, has offered quality products and leading industry services equipped with state-of-the-art digital templating technology for roughly 25 years. Recently, Lakeside Surfaces has redeveloped its palette of stone and solid surface lines to offer options for customer at every price point, which becomes even more budget-friendly during its Black Friday Sale on November 19 through November 24, 2019.  “We used to sell exclusively premium products. There were a lot of customers who had less in their budget for countertops or had invested it in other areas [of renovation],” said Ray Schelhas, marketing director at Lakeside Surfaces. “We realized by offering…

  • Travel

    Reinvigorated essence

    Text: R. Collins For many northern Michigan businesses and organizations, the serenity of the area’s natural environment—composed by sandy bluffs, fresh water, dense deciduous forests, and awe-inspiring seasonal changes—often inspires the design of retail and gathering spaces. When it came time for Spa Grand Traverse, a full-service spa within the Grand Traverse Resort in Acme, Michigan, to receive an upgrade to its interior design, aesthetics inspired by northern Michigan’s natural assets were incorporated during the remodel to not only encourage relaxation, but also a sense of separation from a guest’s external stressors upon reopening. “[We were] looking to find that same balance that is found in nature and wanting to…

  • Design Spotlight

    Commerce Design: Detroit

    The inaugural competition announces 10 winning projects in a celebration of design and highlight of innovation in business across the city’s neighborhoods. Text: R.J. Weick   Design Core Detroit, a non-profit organization championing design-driven businesses, and AIA Detroit officially announced the 10 winning projects of the inaugural Commerce Design: Detroit competition during a special ceremony held Oct. 25, 2018 at the Garden Theatre on Woodward in Midtown. The competition not only recognizes brick-and-mortar commercial projects submitted jointly by business owner and design team, but also celebrates entrepreneurism and the value of design throughout the City of Detroit, Highland Park, and Hamtramck neighborhoods in the last five years. Of the 37…

  • Creative Endeavors

    Mediterranean air

    Text: R. Collins  When designing the interior for a new Byron Center, Michigan home—which would be featured in the Home Builders Association of Greater West Michigan’s annual parade—Julie Wynalda, founder of True Vine Creations in Hudsonville, Michigan, looked no further than the Mediterranean aesthetics of the homeowner’s childhood living spaces in Israel and her design firm’s own principles.  “My style is literally rooted in my love for nature,” Wynalda said. “Somehow that environment opens my thoughts and ideas. I tend to really enjoy neutrals on neutrals and then adding layers of texture rather than color.” True Vine Creations is a West Michigan-based commercial and retail interior design solutions company also…

  • Design Spotlight

    Iron and ivory

    “There was something consistent no matter where I studied and that was the principles of Vitruvius, who was an architectural philosopher in the Roman Empire. He really stressed good design is focused around three main components, which is feasibility, beauty, and durability; so essentially function, beauty, and strength,” said Kayla Pongrac, principal, designer, and co-founding partner of Iron and Ivory in Ontario, Canada. “That is the philosophy behind our brand.” Iron and Ivory is an interior design firm with a collaborative environment led by Co-Founding Partners Pongrac and Rnea Garrah from its two locations in Ottawa and Toronto, Ontario. At its core, the small firm embraces a philosophy inspired by…

  • Creative Endeavors

    Tactile language

    In the 1990s, Founder and Artistic Director Iris Wang noticed sunlight through a cascade of maple leaves outside of her kitchen window, which doubled as her studio at the time for the humble warehouse operations of Brentano Inc. It would serve as the catalyst for the small company as Wang then blended a painted Japanese-inspired maple leaf with a series of sketched horizontal lines derived from bamboo shades—putting Brentano in the black and well on its way to becoming the international textile house and fabric source that it has become today.  “In the past there were a lot of fabrics that were only pretty to look at, but you couldn’t…

  • Travel

    Motion in choreograph

    “We are an idea-based firm. We can pivot off of any design problem and I think program is really just a vehicle to test ideas,” said Dwayne MacEwen, AIA, principal and creative director at DMAC Architecture P.C. in Evanston, Illinois. “Whether it is a hospital or a restaurant, I think you need to understand how it functions and it works, but it is still a vehicle to test some ideas and what is a food design for that particular problem or space.” When the Midtown Athletic Club and the Hotel at Midtown opened in 2017 at the intersection of Elston, Damen, and Fullerton Avenue in Chicago, Illinois, it reflected a…

  • Creative Endeavors

    Prospective learning environments

    Text: R. Collins  As technology and modern knowledge become intensely packed into our personal spheres, grade schools and collegiate institutes—the spaces we tend to rely on to make sense of it all—carry an immeasurable importance in the present and future of learning. Whereas in the mid-twentieth century teaching practices promoted linear, regimented teaching styles, which popularized images of front-facing desks bolted to the ground, school design now must cater to the ways in which different types of students absorb and interpret information, explained Peter Baldwin, AIA, NCARB, president and principal at AMDG Architects in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  With a diverse educational design portfolio featuring projects in West Michigan school systems—such…