• Design

    Valued stone

    Text: R. Collins  As timeless components of many interior spaces, stone products have grown in quantity and quality as a result of development in fabrication techniques and becoming increasingly customizable for individuals and businesses.  Great Lakes Granite Works in Comstock Park, Michigan, is a designer, retailer, and fabricator of fine stone products, pursuing customer satisfaction and a diverse range of quality materials since 1992. The drive to provide clients with natural solution for architectural and commercial needs has solidified the firm’s position as one of West Michigan’s top fabricators and installers of granite and quartz. Now with access to more than 300 granite colors, as well as an assortment of…

  • 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…

  • Design

    The seasonal garden

    By: R.Collins  As autumn continues to envelop Michigan landscapes, the time has come to prepare for the winter months and the blooms to come after the snow thaws.  Sarah Sella, landscape designer at Alfresco Landscapes LLC in Grand Rapids, Michigan, said introducing seasonal plants to the garden in the fall when the rainfall is cool and steady and the hot temperatures have dissipated, allows plants a gentle environment in which to take root.  “Now is the time to plant your spring flowering bulbs,” Sella said. “Sometimes people want daffodils in the spring time and then, suddenly, it’s spring already and you’ve missed your window of opportunity. They have to be…

  • Design,  Design Spotlight

    Traverse City Tuscan

    Text: R. Collins For many, the home is a dwelling space, which enables those inside to be their truest selves every time they return—a permanent fixture accumulating important artifacts from everyday life, which in turn tell an individual’s story. This was true for a condominium unit project nestled along the scenic Boardman River in Traverse City, Michigan and its owners, who contracted local interior designer Angela Goodall to create a comfortable home environment showcasing their international taste. As a founder of the project-based, Traverse City-based design firm known as Kitchen Choreography, which has more than 800 projects completed, Goodall is experienced in producing creative solutions for each project to allow property owners the fullest utilization of…

  • Design,  Travel

    Traverse City’s East end

    Text: R.Collins  During the last several years, downtown Traverse City has developed as both a local and tourist destination filled with an eclectic assortment of eateries, venues, shops, and bars, leaving areas like the city’s eastern side less noticed. More recently, the East side has grown into having a similar reputation for locally-renowned venues and businesses that showcase the best of northern Michigan. In effect, every new addition has expanded the city’s downtown landscape to include what was once outskirts; making more pieces of Front Street and its frontage on the East arm of the Grand Traverse Bay economically and culturally integrated.  For more than 25 years, Prout Financial Design…

  • Creative Endeavors

    Park project

    Text: Kyle Gandy The Grand Rapids Department of Parks and Recreation, located at 201 Market Ave. SW, is a perennial division of city government responsible for the myriad of parks meticulously woven into the urban metropolis of the city. Their latest project is a $250,000 reconstruction and modernization of Coit Park, which is tucked away in the northeastern region of the city neighboring the Medical Mile and the Belknap lookout.  This particular project is a part of a comprehensive revitalization strategy, which began in 2013 following a park agreement that was passed to bring $28 million to all 74 parks in the city. Coit Park’s upgrades comprise an improved playground,…