• Featured,  Form,  Interiors,  Residential

    The crafted climb

    With a well-tuned eye for detail developed by an early introduction to the art of carpentry and further honed by a 15-year specialization in stair systems, Matthew Conrad, design and installation specialist at Stair System Specialists in Saginaw, Michigan is no stranger to the craft. From compelling works of art designed to last and engaging stair systems unified with—and enhance—the architectural personality of a space, Stair System Specialists works to create solutions aligned with space, budget, and a vision blending beauty and function.  While initially pursuing carpentry before working specifically as a trim carpenter for a regional high-end custom home builder, Conrad developed an affinity for the grand entrance of…

  • 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…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Design,  Featured

    Screen solutions

    As a small family-owned distributor of Phantom Screens in Michigan and Indiana, Retractable Solutions, Inc., has provided the Midwest with the comprehensive Phantom Screen product line for more than 20 years. Retractable Solutions has partnered with Phantom Screens since 1992 and both firms strive to develop product lines and installation techniques satisfying a variety of customer needs.  One of the newest products in their portfolio, the Phantom XL Retractable Screen, is a solution for oversized openings, multi-paneled door systems, and folding glass door systems. The product and its options for installation combine modern technologies with the classic customer care and cultivated expertise that Retractable Solutions has provided since its inception…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Travel

    Art on theMART

    By: R. Collins On September 29, 2018, theMART, formerly known as The Merchandise Mart, will host a series of curated digital artworks projected across nearly 2.5 acres of its exterior riverside façade after dusk around 7:15 p.m., launching an inaugural program known as Art on theMART.  The inaugural exhibition will showcase the works of renowned artists Diana Thater, Zheng Chongbin, Jason Salavon, and Jan Tichy; exploring genres and subject matter while using the digital model as a springboard for visual arts in the 21st Century. The artists were selected and commissioned by Art on theMART in consultation with a curatorial advisory board shaped by theMART and the City’s Department of…

  • Architecture,  Form

    Bright farmhouse

    With its intentional use of natural, light materials, this farmhouse shines with timeless style. Text: R. Collins Familiar with modern design trends and imbuing a sense of timeless style, Visbeen Architects and full-service interior design firm Vision Interiors by Visbeen reworked midcentury design concepts blended with the equally classic residential style often known for its use of raw wood and natural materials: the country farmhouse. Perched amid Kalamazoo, Michigan’s shaded woodlands, the Holloway House—finished in 2017—overlooks a ribbon-like stream and bountiful natural beauty that is complemented by the home’s refined, rustic-inspired appearance.  “While the exterior is more of that contemporary farmhouse, [the homeowners] had a midcentury theme that they wanted,…