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Guide to feathering an urban nest








If you haven’t noticed already, we here at Model D are kind of into that whole local, indie thing. So when it came time to set-up our new office in Midtown Detroit, we set out to furnish it with local finds from some of our favorite area shops and vendors. Inspired by our neighbors at the Green Garage, we also wanted to reuse old furniture and fixtures whenever possible. As the saying goes: "Old is the new new."
 
As we traversed the city for gems and deals, we took a few notes to share with anyone looking to feather their own urban nest. What follows is hardly a comprehensive list, but we hope it’s a good start. Happy nesting, city birds!
 
Patrick Thompson Design
485 W. Milwaukee, Detroit, 313-820-3268
Before we even signed a lease, our first call was to Patrick Thompson Design. We knew we needed expert help, and we loved the work Mr. Thompson’s interior design firm had done for several residential and commercial projects around the city. We shared Pinterest boards, we got out our measuring tapes, and we drove all over metro-Detroit hunting for basics to create an old-world publishing house feel on a micro-media budget. We can’t recommend PTD highly enough.
 
Heritage Co. II Architectural Artifacts
116 E. 7th Street, Royal Oak, 248-547-0670
For our main meeting room table, we wanted something old-school – like what you might find in a library or literary salon. After scoping out a half-dozen shops and warehouses in the city, our friend Melinda of MeMe Design & Events reminded us: "Call Marisa!" Marisa Gaggino is the spunky proprietress of Heritage Co. II, an architectural salvage and antiques store specializing in reclaimed materials. When we showed up one Saturday morning, it was love at first sight: handsome sturdy wood tables from a Girl Scout camp up north. Marisa delivered three later that evening, and it was almost like they belonged there.
 
Nest & City Bird
460 W. Canfield Street, Detroit, 313-831-9776
No Detroit home or office is complete without a little something from Nest and City Bird, the two side-by-side shops run by the sister-brother duo, Emily and Andy Linn. Multiple visits netted us many unique local accoutrements for our new digs, including the popular Detroit neighborhood map by Allied Fabrication Systems; photographs by Marvin Shaouni and David Lewinski; super cool terra cotta planters; a shower curtain with old-timey illustrations; McClure's Pickles and Bloody Mary Mix to go with our Valentine Vodka (which came in handy during the Marche du Nain Rouge); and a few barware basics to get us started. We will be back. 

Detroit Hardware Co.
6432 Woodward, Detroit, 313-875-0838
Long live the mom & pop hardware shop! Dozens of these neighborhood gems still exist in the city, from Busy Bee Hardware in Eastern Market to Third Avenue Hardware in the Cass Corridor. Detroit Hardware in New Center is the crème de la crème, with a second floor stocked with all manner of basic home goods you might miss if you don’t venture upstairs. Next time you’re about to trek out to one of those ginormous big-box stores for a skillet or a trash bin, try here first. You might just find what you’re looking for.
 
Bargain Office Equipment
5203 Loraine Street, Detroit, 877-588-3888
One of the first people we turned to for advice on finding quality reused furnishings was Jason Peet of the Green Garage. Our friends at GG had done such a lovely job outfitting their historic building with refurbished school and office fixtures, and they were super generous sharing sources and ideas. One tip led us to Bargain Office Equipment, located in a huge old warehouse just off of Grand River on Detroit’s near West Side. The folks at Bargain Office couldn’t be nicer, walking us through lofty rooms chock-full of recycled chairs, tables and more. We walked away with two stacks of charming school chairs at a better-than-IKEA price.
 
Pot & Box
220 Felch Street, Ann Arbor, 734-368-2130
If you haven’t been to Lisa Waud’s lovely floral & gardening studio in Ann Arbor, you’re missing a treat. Lisa is one of our very favorite people to work with, and our not-so-secret hope is that one day she’ll have a studio in Detroit. In the meantime, she goes out of her way to spend time in the city, partnering with local retailers like Hugh and Nest, and working with local brides and grooms to make their wedding dreams come true. Soon after we gave Lisa a sneak peek of our new digs, she brought us branches and flowers. Thank you, Lisa.
 
Salt Labs
Long ago we spied a very cool Detroit Atlas pillow made by a local design studio called Salt Labs – named for the salt mines that still exist under the city. Our front window seat needed some new cushions, so we called Robbi to make us some beautiful pillows with historic maps of the Great Lakes and a few of our sister cities. They are gorgeous, we love them. If you like geography and cartography, you’ll dig them, too.
 
Savvy Chic
2712 Riopelle, Eastern Market, Detroit, 313-833-8769
Have you been to this hidden retail gem? If not, go there now. Not only is proprietor Karen Brown one of the coolest dames in Detroit, she has created a little slice of Paris right here in the Paris of the Midwest. Savvy Chic was one of the first stops on our journey to find odds & ends, and we’ll definitely be back for more. Karen has everything from candles to coffee presses to chairs with a French twist.
 
Detroit Antique Mall
828 W. Fisher Fwy, Detroit, 313-963-5252
With a dozen dealers under one roof covering 12,000 square feet of space, Detroit Antique Mall is filled with vintage finds, from Art Deco to mid-century furniture, collectibles and architectural artifacts. On one visit, we bumped into our landlord digging through a bin of historic hardware for our building’s great old wood doors. We left with a pretty sweet dartboard for breaks between meetings.
 
Pure Detroit
Fisher Building, Guardian Building, Renaissance Center, 313-873-7873
For some finishing touches, we dipped into our own collections -- art, books and such we had gathered or been given over the years from shops around town. Turns out, many of them came from Pure Detroit, including a beautiful Estaban Chavez print of Michigan Central Station. And, of course, no Detroit office is complete without copies of The Detroit Almanac and the AIA Detroit Guide to Architecture, both on the shelves at Pure D.
 
More local antique & vintage shops:
 
Architectural Salvage Warehouse, 4885 15th Street, Detroit, 313-896-8333
Eastern Market Antiques, 2530 Market Street, Detroit, 313-259-0600
Showcase Collectibles, 3409 Cass, Detroit, 313-831-6397
Mantra, 3401 Cass, Detroit, 313-657-0728
Xavier’s 20th Century Furniture, 2546 Michigan, Detroit, 313-964-1222
 
Now your turn. What shops and services would you like new Detroit residents and businesses to know about? Where have you had luck furnishing your home or office in the city? Email tips and suggestions to feedback@modeldmedia.com.

Read more articles by Claire Nelson.

Claire Nelson is the founder of Urban Consulate, a network of parlors for urban exchange. Most days you can find her in Detroit or New Orleans.
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