Bulletin Board: House Calls
Dining traditions, furnishings inspired by Detroit, gift ideas, and more
BULLETIN BOARD // IN RESIDENCE / DÉCOR SHOWCASE
RAISING THE (LATKE) BAR Annabel Cohen’s “latke bar” for a family Hanukkah gathering
puts a new twist on a December tradition. Turn the page to discover how she creates it.
PHOTO BY CJ BENNINGER
One Potato, Two Potato ...
A longtime caterer gives her latkes new flavors at annual Hanukkah gathering
BY CJ BENNINGER;
INDIVIDUAL BOWL PHOTOS
COURTESY OF MERCHANT;
TOP IT BOWL STYLING BY
TANYA ZAGER CHISHOLM
LATKES, THOSE DELICIOUS potato pancakes that originated in Eastern Europe and are traditionally served at Hanukkah (the Jewish festival of lights) celebrations, will once again hold the place of honor at Annabel Cohen’s Hanukkah party. “I create a ‘latke bar’ at my mother’s house in Bloomfield Hills,” says Cohen, right, the owner of a catering company in Walled Lake called Annabel Cohen Cooks Detroit. “The meal consists of latkes, bagels, and lots of different toppings,” adds the Bloomfield Hills resident. She recently stepped out of the kitchen to tell us more about her latke bar.
Q: What are latkes made of?
A: Traditionally, shredded Idaho potatoes, eggs, salt and pepper, a little bit of onion, and lots of oil. Some prefer to use sweet or mashed potatoes. The pancakes can be baked or fried. There’s nothing like latkes that are fresh out of a frying pan. They’re Jewish soul food.
Q: What are some popular toppings?
A: Sour cream and applesauce are the usuals; I include smoked salmon, olives, capers, tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, red onion, roasted red peppers, shredded cheeses, and artichoke hearts.
Q: What’s new and different at your latke bar this year?
A: This time, for an Asian flavor, I’m including sesame seeds, sauteed pea tips, red bean paste, and more.
annabelcooksdetroit.com — By Judith Harris Solomon
A variety of small bowls for toppings adds style to a latke bar. Here are a few favorites.
Birch pinch bowl, $5.95, Crate & Barrel, Troy
Sponge This Up!
Brillo products are made right in our own backyard
BRILLO PRODUCTS ARE among America’s most recognized cleaning supplies. But did you know that Brillo was acquired by Armaly Brands, located in Walled Lake? And that’s where Estracell sponges are made. With a history of selling sponges since 1926 to many iconic Detroit businesses, including the S.S. Kresge Co., Armaly Brands is a leading U.S. manufacturer of consumer and industrial cleaning products.So why is the locally made Estracell sponge a must-have for kitchens? The quick-drying Estracell is actually made of a material that doesn’t allow bacteria to feed on or survive in the sponge fibers. The unique cell structure rinses cleaner and dries out faster.
brillo.com — By Honey Murray
Detroit’s in His Designs
LOS ANGELES-BASED furnishings designer and native Detroiter Michael Berman (he grew up in Oak Park) was recently in town to present his Califolio furniture line for Theodore Alexander, a new showroom at Michigan Design Center. Michael Coyne Design recently partnered with Theodore Alexander for what is one of the most gorgeous showrooms in the Midwest, thanks not only to the furnishings (some are pictured below), but also to the clever vignettes created by Detroit Home Design Awards Rising Stars. (Read more about the opening in this issue’s House Party section on page 76, which features the recent Variety, the Children’s Charity event, held at the new showroom.) Here, Berman, right, sheds light on his inspirations.
Q: When did your passion for design start?
A: My dad and uncle owned Acme Auto Parts, a salvage company on Woodward in Pontiac. My brother, Billy, and I hung out there, admiring the details of all the streamlined parts. Dinnertime conversation was always about cars or fashion (my dad was a snappy dresser). The auto culture stuck — from the womb, it’s inside of me. At age 6, my mom sensed I loved design and had me select all of the finishes when we remodeled. Later I worked in a cool frame shop in Berkley and spent all my money on vintage furniture and decorating books. This was my calling. My parents saw it, and encouraged me to follow my own path and walk my own steps.
Q: How did you break into the design world?
A: I left Detroit in 1979 to go to art school (Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design L.A.), but was sidetracked for a year in New York, where I worked as a dancer at Radio City Music Hall. After art school I worked for the great industrial designer Angelo Donghia, but (I have to say) most of my training and knowledge is self-taught.
Q: What specific Detroit elements influenced your style?
A: The Detroit Institute of Arts and Cranbrook, but also Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. That was my Disneyland. Also, growing up in the 1960s, the auto culture, music, art, fashion, architecture, and interior design (made an impact on me). The connection is tight. My Ogden Club Chair is aerodynamic, with futuristic cutouts on the side and elongated arms. In other pieces I use channel tufting and topstitching, like the classic cars.
Q: You’re also a classic car collector?
A: Yes, and I come to Detroit every year for the Dream Cruise. I own several classic cars, including a 1964 black-on-black Oldsmobile Starfire. It smells like 1964, with its leather and metalwork, and memories of Smoky Robinson and the Miracles on the radio. I’m going to be buried in that car.
Walls Do Talk
WALLS DO TALK PHOTOS BY CJ BENNINGER
ARTIST JULIE ALBANESE’S creative murals tell a veritable story through color and form. Albanese, seated at left with interior designer Angelina Battaglia of Dakato Blue Design, says that while visiting Il Duomo, the iconic cathedral in Florence, Italy, her artistic light went on. “That’s where I saw real decorative art for the first time and I realized that was what I wanted to do,” the Royal Oak resident says. She ended up spending a year at the Pardon School of Specialist Decoration in London. "My teacher had done decorative work at Buckingham Palace and he taught us the old-school way of doing decorative art. When I first moved back to the Detroit area in the early ’90s, faux painting, marbling, sponging, and rag-rolling were in style,” she continues. “That morphed into murals, gilding, ornamental plaster, and chinoiserie.” Her materials include acrylics, oils, glazes, metal leaf, and standard latex and oil house paints. Recently, she came down from her ladder for a few minutes to talk about some of her top projects.
Q: What’s the most unusual artwork you’ve done?
A: A wall mural with a Titanic theme for the bedroom of an 8-year-old boy. I ended up painting it as though he were actually standing on the ship looking out to the North Atlantic sea, and the icebergs and stars glowed in the dark. The mural is really cool and it ended up being super peaceful as well as dramatic.
Q: Is there a project you’re especially proud of?
A: A formal Italian-style decorative ceiling for the dining room of a home in Brighton (the designer is Battaglia), shown in these photos. The painted ceiling utilizes classical Italian patterns; it’s very old world. It took eight weeks to complete.
Q: And your favorite project?
A: Whatever I’m working on is my favorite at the time. I truly love my job. I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”
firstname.lastname@example.org — By Judith Harris Solomon
Good for You!
Straight out of a local lab come candles and products for the body that are Michigan-inspired and toxin-free
WHEN HEATHER ROSENCRANTZ’S daughter, Harper, was born in 1994, she had a difficult time finding natural products. “We couldn’t find lotions or powders that I felt were safe for her body,” Rosencrantz, left, says. “So I played with some formulas and decided to make things for her.” Today, Dirty Girl Farm offers some 400 products, and Harper oversees the company’s shipping department as well as its website content. “Our lotions, hand wash, creams, candles, and more are safe and phalate-free — no toxins, no chemicals,” Rosencrantz says. “Many people with allergies thought they couldn’t have products with fragrance and scents, but then they found our products.” Stepping out of her lab (based in Davison), Rosencrantz, who studied botany at the University of Alaska and now lives in the Thumb area, recently told us more about her business.
Q: Where are your ingredients from?
A: We try to get a lot of what we use in Michigan. The lavender, for one, is grown in my yard.
Q: What’s a great holiday-inspired product?
A: The Fraser Fir hand wash. It’s orange-like, with pine. I wanted to capture Michigan’s woods, and I finally did. Also, the classic Be Merry scent (shown) — it’s happy, festive, and comes in hand wash, body wash, and body lotion, as well as a candle. Our White Poinsettia is taking off like gangbusters, too.
Q: What’s your favorite product?
A: The rosemary and mint items. They have a very strong rosemary note and the candle is so true to the plant, reminiscent of that piney undertone you smell when cooking with rosemary.
Q: What’s in store for the future?
A: We’re expanding our homecare line and are working on formulas for washing dishes
Royal Oak Farmers Market and online at dirtygirlfarm.com — By Megan Swoyer
Just What I Wanted!
This issue’s subjects tell us about their favorite gifts,
plus we show a few of our own | By Megan Swoyer
WHAT’S ONE OF THE BEST HOLIDAY PRESENTS FOR THE HOME YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED OR GIVEN?
GIFTS FOR THE HOME STYLING BY GIUSEPPA NADROWSKI
STYLIST’S PICKS: OUR FAVORITE GIFTS FOR THE HOME
A. Celestial bowl, $875,
B. Marble salt keeper with
acacia wood lid,
$30, metro Detroit-area Sur La
Table stores, surlatable.com
C. Constellation salad plate,
$12, West Elm, Birmingham
D. Blox hi-gloss small square
navy planter, 9.95, cb2, cb2.com
E. Hex large teak serving board,
$79.95, cb2, cb2.com
F. Marble tic-tac-toe game,
$199, Restoration Hardware,
Troy and Ann Arbor
A hand-thrown planter from my mom that she made. It’s a small, cobalt blue pot for succulents that she made in a pottery program at the Flint Institute of Arts.
— EMILY BERGER-CRAWFORD
EE BERGER PHOTO | DETROIT
This year, I’m giving Simon Pearce Mini Coupe bowls — perfect as salt cellars. I’ll pair them with my favorite sea salt, Sal de Ibiza Fleur de Sel, from Spain.
— LYNN WITMER
WITMER DESIGN | BLOOMFIELD HILLS
Last Christmas, one of our guests (for Christmas dinner) gave us an antique copper oyster steamer/boiler — freshly polished and filled with huge red poinsettias. The contrast between the copper and red flowers was stunning! I give Christmas handwash/lotion sets as a hostess gift. I like to pamper the chef/cook and take care of their hands.
— HEATHER ROSENCRANTZ
DIRTY GIRL FARM | DAVISON
Shaped wood cutting boards. I use them as charcuterie platters, countertop décor, part of my tabletop vignettes, and more.
— GRETCHEN DIVER
GINGHAM GIRL DESIGNS | CLARKSTON
I’m very close to the women in my extended family and we have a tradition of making each other ornaments and exchanging them at Christmas. When I decorate my tree, I use ornaments that remind me of each of them. That makes my tree feel special.
— JULIE ALBANESE
DECORATIVE PAINTER | ROYAL OAK
BOOK SMART: Plymouth-based interior designer Rima Belau, right, will soon launch her design how-to book, Therapy for Your Home. Check out therapyforyourhome.net.
• • •
EASY TO SEA WHY: Sherwin-Williams (sherwinwilliams.com) named Oceanside, left, its Color of the Year for 2018, explaining that it’s a collision of rich blue with jewel-toned green — a color that’s both accessible and elusive. Its complex color offers a sense of the familiar with a hint of the unknown.
• • •
GIFTS THAT DON'T GATHER DUST: Those who remember — or have yet to discover — Sydney Bogg’s (sydneyboggs.com) handmade, delectable candies (Berkley) can enjoy gifting hosts and others with decorated artisan boxes that won’t add to home clutter because they’re made of chocolate! The beautiful creations hold confections like turtles, caramels, creams, and nougats.
• • •
PILLOW TALK: Hastens (hastens.com), the renowned Swedish luxury bed-maker, opened at Michigan Design Center in Troy. The company features ultra-luxe mattresses, bed linens, headboards, and more, shown below, all made with natural materials.
• • •
HERE — AND GONE: Nadeau Furniture with a Soul (furniturewithasoul.com) in Birmingham offers wholesale pricing for its ever-changing inventory of farmhouse, traditional, industrial, painted cottage, and other styles of hand-produced furniture and gifts. “If customers see something they like, I tell them ‘Get it now!’ because the pieces are one (or, maybe, two) -of-a-kind,” says manager Deborah Pelto.
• • •
SHOW HOUSE IN DETROIT: The Junior League of Detroit (jldetroit.org) has announced that its biennial Designers’ Show House will be held in Detroit for the first time (Sept. 13-Oct. 7, 2018). It will showcase the Boston-Edison district’s Fisher Mansion, below, which was recently purchased by actor Hill Harper. — By Honey Murray
FISHER MANSION PHOTO BY JEFF GARLAND