The D in Decor | Detroit Dwelling, Design, & Culture | The Personal Blog of Margarita Barry Welcome to the D in Decor! This blog is a member of the D in Detroit Network

Happy Birthday To Me!

Today I’m 25 and I’m currentlyĀ  in a life transition! Working on launching a business, as well as other projects. When I get a new place I will be back to decorating and my usual musings.

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Thanks for your support and see you in 2010-ish!



Living Room Progress!

July 2nd, 2008

My Living Room

If you want to know why I have been MIA, it’s because I have been cleaning up my house, and I officially started my new job…I recently left my job as a Graphic Designer for the Michigan Business Review and now work as a Web Editor/Webmaster for the local CBS Radio station here in metro Detroit..which I love, because I am a web geek at heart. I still get to do graphic design, but I also get to work with CMS and code..which is cool. Anywho I can’t believe all of the progress I have made so far with the living room in the past few weeks…

My Living Room

I donated a bunch of useless junk to the Salvation Army, including some larger furniture pieces and newer accessories…and thank heavens I got rid of the hideous blue sofa and loveseat set! They will actually come out to your house with a truck if you have tons of stuff–which we did–so that was a huge weight off of my shoulders (literally). Hopefully someone out there will put everything to good use.

Do you remember the before? I admit it doesn’t look much like my inspiration room yet, but you know it’s a start..and I never intended to copy the look entirely.

Above is Lula on our Pier 1 Rattan sofa, which I decided to keep in the living room for now – at least until I settle on a sofa. I will be covering the cushions–I’m thinking of using just a plain white or natural colored linen. The pillows I have been collecting for a while now. The pillow on the far left with the flowers is by inhabit, the two blue & white patterned are from Target, and the the naughty or nice pillow with all of the words is by Jonathan Adler (buy it here).

My cat Norman!

Above is my other cat Norman, whom we call affectionately call Normie Swarmie or “Norm Swarm”. This console is another Pier 1 product, the globe is from the Cool Plant Lady’s garage sale a few weeks back, The lamp base is a vintage find from the Salvation Army, the linen shade is from Anthropologie, the print/frame combo is from T.J. Maxx, the neon green pillow is from Big Lots, and the little plant habitat/ceramic pot combo was on sale for $3.99 at Kroger! Let’s see how long it lasts.

Again, I am a bargain shopper, so everything mentioned above was either on sale or clearance…you know how I do!

The book shelf has yet to be decluttered and organized and I’m sure the items on the console table will change, but I think overall I’m making good progress.

Recycling away my youth

June 23rd, 2008

I’m sitting here still with my “spring” (ha ha that’s a joke) cleaning, and I’m on to the recyclables. Even as a teen I was a magazine whore, so you’re looking at a few of dozens of 90’s era magazines that I have to sadly part ways with. Looking back at my old YM’s, Seventeens, Teens, and their clones (Jump, All About You, Twist, etc) I can’t help but yearn for those days when Freddie Prinze Jr. was at the top of his (incredibly cheesy acting) game, Sarah Michelle Gellar was slaying vampires, Britney Spears wasn’t crazy yet, and Brandy was still Moesha. It’s going to be hard saying goodbye to my youth, which is what this feels like. I feel so old. I’m taking this week off, see you next week!

Weekend Wrap-Up

I’m officially wrapping up week 3 of the D in Decor blog, yipay!

This week:

* I briefly introduced to you my kitchen, and my literal boo boo kitty Lula (well. maybe not the boo boo part).

* Bureau of Urban Living was featured as our first shop guide.

* I also got a chance to sit with Bureau’s shop owner, Claire Nelson, for a more in depth interview.

* Craig’s List has got you covered in the seating department.

*You got linked in for the first time.

* And…lots of cool events happening this weekend!

Monday. Be there or be square.

Craig\'s List Finds: Modern Seating Options

It’s Friday, you know what the means! Yeah I’m ready to swang, but it’s also the day when I scour Craig’s List for the best used goods for you to pick-up in your uncle’s truck this weekend.

This week I have not one, not two, not even three, but four modern seating options for you to peruse:

* Walled Lake: Modern Sofa from Bright Ideas.

* Dearborn: Black, Leather, & Chrome. $50. Two available. Need I say more?

* Detroit: Model Six Stools by Jeff Covey produced by Herman Miller, currently showing at MOMA. Not just functional, it’s art! Own them.

* Ann Arbor: Room & Board sofa, and it’s less than a year old! Probably worth the drive.

Events This Weekend

* Last weekend to see the “not necessarily functional furniture” exhibit at Design99.

* The Glass & Clay festival is on this weekend in Downtown Royal Oak.

* I will be attending the Allied Media Conference this weekend, featuring alternative media makers, artists, and social changers. This will be my third year attending, but my first in Detroit.

* Model D is having their Speaker Series & 3rd Anniversary Party featuring Claire Nelson, whom I interviewed earlier this week, Hamtramck’s HATCH artists will be showing.

* CB2 is having a Summer Sale up to 50% off.

* Eurway has 20% off of everything!

Linked In

Here’s a little feature I’m going to call “Linked In”. It’s simply a way to show love to my fellow bloggers, online pubs, and other sites by linking to related news.

* Metro Times: Going Green in Southeastern Michigan and Frank Bank$ lives in a Loft

* Shout out: Girl in the D and her husband, welcomed their first baby on June 13th! Congrats!

* Casa Sugar: Ryan Phillipe buys a Zen Place.

* Design Sponge: Business Advice from Creative Business Owners.

I had a chance to sit down with Claire Nelson, owner of The Bureau of Urban Living recently, and boy did we have a lot to talk about. Her store, which she co-owns with her husband Francis Grunow, has been open for a year now and Claire has all kinds of plans in mind for the City of Detroit plus helpful advice for aspiring shop owners in the area.

City Speak: Claire Nelson

The D: So tell me a little bit more about the Bureau of Urban Living.

Claire: Well I live upstairs with my husband. And there’s like 35 lofts in this building. Some time around the time that we moved here and were getting married, I remember thinking that it was kind of evident that we didn’t have many shops downtown that catered to the people that were living and moving here. I moved here from New York in 2002, I lived in Brooklyn last and I just loved the little shops in Brooklyn throughout New York and Chicago.

Bureau of Urban Living

You do have a bit of a NYC vibe going on here.

Thanks, that’s the nicest compliment.

You’re welcome.

I just wanted to see more shops like this and I figured I may as well try it. It just worked out really well that this space was owned by a friend of ours, and since I live upstairs it was so nice to be able to start it here. The inspiration was kind of like, a modern general store for people in the city, where they can get gifts for their home, but also to share general information about what’s happening. I want to see more spaces where you can walk in and find more information about events in the city, like real estate for instance–people looking for places to live come in once in a while.

I saw on your website, that you guys even throw your own events.

Yeah we do something called ā€œFirst Thursdaysā€, we stay open late every first Thursday, and give a percentage of our sales to local non-profits that works to improve the public realm. Organizations like City Scape Detroit, and Preservation Wayne. You know, people who care about the physical city in particular. And you know, we’ve done other events too. We have events where local designers showcase their artwork.

Who are some of the local designers that you work with?

We have a few. City Bird is one of the labels that we carry, the brand by Emily and Andy Linn, who are brother and sister team and are really passionate about The City. They make all of the stuff that has Detroit maps on it, like votive candles holders, plates, there’s a new tote bag, they do soaps that are really popular that have Detroit maps on it. And they keep making new stuff, they hand make it allā€”their great! They both have other jobs and do this on the side, but they do it because they really love the city and want to spread that love.

Bureau of Urban Living

We also work with other artists. Like the panels above were done by a designer friend of ours, who also makes the orange bags up front made out of salvaged construction fencing.

Carl Oxley is another artist who lives out of Hamtramck. We sell some of his pillows and baby items that have the monkeys, bunnies, and animals on them. He does murals, heā€™s a painter, but he works with his wife to do textiles as well.

More after the jump…

Read more »

Shop Guide: Bureau of Urban Living

Bureau of Urban Living
460 West Canfield Street
Detroit, MI 48201
Hours: Tues-Sat 11-7

Claire Nelson, Owner of Bureau of Urban Living in Detroit

Only a year old, and Midtown’s Bureau of Urban Living is everything you could ever want in a modern home accessory shop. But what really makes this shop special, is the love of community instilled in its owners.

Bureau is owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Claire Nelson (pictured here) & Francis Grunow. Grunow, a native Detroiter, is the Executive Director of Preservation Wayne, and one of the founders of Detroit Synergy. Nelson, who is from the Chicago area, is a graphic designer and co-founder of Open City. They launched Bureau to fill what they saw as a major void in Detroitā€™s retail landscape.

“It was kind of evident that we didn’t have many shops downtown that catered to people that were living and moving here and living downtown, ” says Nelson, in an interview with The D in Decor. “I moved here from NY in 2002, I lived in Brooklyn last and I just loved little shops in Brooklyn through out NY and in Chicago.”

Bureau of Urban Living

Bureau of Urban Living

More after the jump…. Read more »

You should see my living room right now, its jam packed full of crap. I started “Spring Cleaning” (I know Summer officially starts this week). The Salvation Army truck is coming to pick up everything on Wednesday, including our hideous blue sofa and loveseat so I’m excited to finally be rid of it. I refuse to take a photo of the chaos, but what I will do is introduce you to my kitchen, which for the moment, is the only room that doesn’t look like a massive earthquake hit it.

My Kitchen

When we first moved in, I painted it this heinous muddy brown, trying to imitate a kitchen that I saw in a home decorating magazine. Much like the sofa set, the kitchen started driving me insane so I painted the whole thing white and did a quick makeover using cheap accessories I found at Ikea, UO, and Target.

I wanted it to feel bright, fun, and kind of kitschy, so I filled it with cute prints, lots of light colors – pinks, blues, and greens…you can’t see the sink here but I painted the back splash the same yummy green that the lamp is.

We replaced a giant contemporary dining table with a smaller modern table set (seats 4 but came with 2 extra chairs) I found on Craig’s List, and I’m so happy with it. We almost never eat on it, but when our nieces and nephews come over they just adore sitting at it. It’s the perfect size for the space.

I said I was going to introduce you to my cats sometime soon, well that’s one of two–my little Lula sitting on the shelf. She is much bigger now, and all of those Ikea plants have unfortunately died. My first foray into house plants and I failed. I think I gave them too much plant food. Oh well.

The makeover is not incredible, but it is a temporary solution that serves its purpose. Eventually I would like to invest more time in decorating it: tile the back splash, and replace some of the $1 store art work with prints that I have been eyeing on Etsy. The point is now I can cook and be happy. It’s so true that a room can change the way you feel.

P.S. This week I have lots of cool stuff in store, including my first shop guide tomorrow. Stay tuned!

P.S.S. I was just kidding, I don’t cook.
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