August 1, 2014 at 1:00 am

Smart Solutions

Out-of-the-box party spots can fit the bill

An art gallery such as Studio D in Birmingham can be rented for an event that you don't want to hold in your home. (Robert Dempster)

Whatever the occasion, hosting an affair at home is not always the best-case scenario. You might be short on time or space or have a last minute change that makes your original plans fall through.

In any case, heading to the nearest banquet hall isn’t your only option. Luckily, we have some unique local venues that come to the rescue by offering rentals by the day.

One such spot is Studio D in Birmingham’s Rail District. When the distinctive space is not on loan for a private party, it serves as an art gallery and community think tank for artists and performers.

“We’re a place that’s almost like a town square; anything for arts and music basically,” says owner Robert Dempster who describes himself as an “artist, musician and somewhat of a businessman.”

His studio has been the site for charity events and Gilda’s Club turned to Dempster when their pipes broke. “They came here as a temporary place for their members to meet,” he says.

After that, Studio D held a benefit for Gilda’s Club. Another recent event that took place there was an art show and auction for Gleaners.

“People love the space,” says Dempster. “It’s like SoHo, New York-style with a little funk and sophistication.”

Rental rates range from $650 to $1,500 for the day.

At one point, automotive industry professionals held art classes at Studio D, while another time a group of women turned the space into a bazaar to sell gifts.

As Dempster explains, they have the ability to show movies, hire caterers and feature live music. “The space is very open. It’s eclectic and artistic,” he says.

Details, such as cleanup duty, can be negotiated when renting. Free parking is among the perks.

The atmosphere is a definite draw. “It’s for that person who wants a unique setting and they don’t want to have their event at home,” says Dempster. “It has that artistic environment for those who want that.”

Two long bars that create convenient conversation areas are part of the charm, and the layout is conducive to entertaining. “The openness allows you to rent tables and move them around for that elegant evening event,” Dempster says.

Professional lighting can be adjusted to suit any occasion, and custom T-shirts are available to go along with your theme.

“We do it all,” Dempster says. “We even have a disco ball.”

The space is ideal for around 30 to 60 people. “It’s intimate,” he says.

Featured artwork rotates on a monthly basis. “We have unique pieces of art and we support local artists,” Dempster says. Works by Nancy and Jason Unger, Jim Stella and Jacqueline Drake are among the current displays.

The vibrant surroundings offer a visual departure from the norm. “It has a wow factor. You feel like you’re in a loft in New York or Europe,” Dempster says.

The fact that you don’t have to clean your house before your guests arrive is just an added bonus.

For information, contact Studio D at (248) 398-9999 or visit

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at