Welcome Mat: Home events, news around Metro Detroit
Designer Alexa Hampton discusses Hickory Chair collection
As she celebrates her 10th anniversary collection with Hickory Chair, well-known New York designer Alexa Hampton has an analogy for how her style has evolved over the last decade and she likens it to a changing wardrobe. “When you’re younger, and you’re just starting out in business, maybe you wear a lot of grown-up clothes. As you get older you start wearing younger clothes. And then you wear a Gap outfit, such as I’m wearing today,” she says with a laugh. “It’s where your head is at. You think you embrace whatever you imagine adulthood to be. And then you start to figure it out.” Her 10th anniversary collection, which debuted at the spring High Point Market in 2015, is an example of how Hampton’s style has evolved, with a mix of high-end sofas and tables with beautiful metal details. “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve evolved, stretched and grown,” says Hampton, who visited the Michigan Design Center this week to talk to local interior designers about some of her projects. “There are some edgier lines, some metal pieces. I embraced the fact that I can be a classicist and have a modern piece that fits within my classicist taste.” Hampton also signed copies of her 2013 book, “Decorating in Detail.” Much of Hampton’s collection is available at the Henredon showroom at the design center, 1700 Stutz Drive. Call (248) 649-4772.
Cranbrook grad on Ellen design show meets with students
If you’ve been watching “Ellen’s Design Challenge” on HGTV this winter, there are not one, but two, Detroit connections. Detroit designer Kyle Huntoon is one of the final four competitors on the show created by comedian and furniture lover Ellen DeGeneres. Another competitor, metalsmith and designer Vivian Beer, also has a Detroit connection: She’s a Cranbrook Academy of Art graduate. Beer, who graduated with a master of fine arts in 2004 and now lives in New Hampshire, returns to her alma mater Tuesday as a visiting artist to speak with students and receive an Alumni Achievement Award. Beer, who describes her work as “sexy industrial,” planned to study sculpture at Cranbrook when someone suggested she meet the head of the academy’s metalsmithing program, Gary Griffin. Griffin toured the campus with Beer; soon, she was sold on the program. “I was very attracted to Gary’s point of view, the way he ran the program. It had so much latitude as far as what you made. It was all over the place. As an artist, “that was this missing link that he was really able to articulate,” says Beer. Beer, who makes furniture from a variety of metals and is now making a public art sculpture for Arlington, Virginia, says her time at Cranbrook helped shape point of view as an artist. A decade later, her work “is an understanding of how things interconnect,” she says. Beer also will give a public lecture “Refining Landscapes” at Cranbrook Art Museum at 6 p.m. February 17.
Workshop offers hardwood flooring from old fire headquarters
Workshop, a Detroit-based furniture company that makes tables and other pieces from wood reclaimed from old houses and buildings, is now offering hardwood flooring from an old Detroit fire headquarters. Made of solid maple, the flooring was reclaimed from the historic former Detroit Fire Department Headquarters building in downtown Detroit, according to Workshop’s Facebook page. It’s available in limited quantities. Call (313) 318-9029. Workshop is at 3011 W. Grand Boulevard, Suite 105, in the Fisher Building.
Pick a theme for a special Valentine’s Day dinner
Valentine’s Day is on Sunday and if you want to plan something special for your sweetie, designer Tiffany LeBlanc of LeBlanc Design in Boston has some ideas for creating a sweet atmosphere at home:
■Line the room with candles or consider installing Edison bulbs into decorative fixtures like a chandelier.
■Arrange a unique tablescape with jewel tones and red accents; bring in texture with linens.
■Take one element and overdo it in a fun way, like hanging florals from the ceiling.
■Pick a theme for gift giving, such as everything in one color.
Insulate gaps, keep temps between 65-68 to prevent burst pipes
As winter rears its ugly head (hopefully) one last time – temperatures are expected to be in the teens this weekend – make sure your pipes hold it together. Alana Hart, an associate at Home Depot in Orion Township, says to try to keep your home around 65-68 degrees to avoid freezing pipes. If there are airy gaps in basement or crawl space, “you want to make sure there’s insulation so that the big gaps are sealed,” she says. If you need something other than insulation, Hart says there are heated cables ($15-25, depending on length) and “it’s something you run a long your pipe and you attach it to your pipes. It has a thermostat,” she says. There are also special blankets you can buy for your hot water heater, Hart says. “Water heaters in the winter are the second biggest user of energy behind space heating in the winter,” she says. If your pipes do burst, rule No. 1: Turn off the main water supply. Hart says depending on the seriousness of the break, Home Depot does carry a pipe repair kit called Shark Bite. “If it’s more than 12 inches, it would be best to call a professional,” says Hart.