America The Beautiful

Mix and match our nation's colors — a great way to add aFourth of July spark to your homescape... all year long


The Detroit Arrow single-speed bicycle, $1,000, Shinola, Detroit,

Sea Aster soap, $7.50, Jayson Home,

Alessi opus centerpiece, from $250, Artloft, Birmingham, 248-647-4007,

Striped Nixon alpaca throw, $295, Jonathan Adler,

Imax striped vase, $65,  Leon & Lulu, Clawson,

Statue of Liberty bust, $99.95, Crate & Barrel, Somerset Collection,Troy,

Thomas Fuchs handblown tumbler, $100, Saks Fifth Avenue, Somerset Collection, Troy,

Rings water glass, $55,  Simple Life Istanbul,

Pom pom napkin, four/$64, Kim Seybert,

Geneva Sound WorldRadio, $300, Saks Fifth Avenue, Somerset Collection, Troy,

Le Creuset medium serving platter, $55, Plum Market, Bloomfield Township,

Check This Out

Gingham is right at home, whether in a couture house or your house

From left to right: Robert Allen’s checkered-out, $70.20/yd., Calico Corners, metro area stores, calicocorners.comColefax and Fowler’s seacroft check, to the trade, Rozamallin, Michigan Design Center, Troy; American beauty, $57/yd., through Duralee, Michigan Design Center, Troy.


Gingham — the classic summertime pattern of colorful checks — has staged a comeback. Relegated to tablecloths and burger basket liners in recent years, the pattern was heralded as the print of the season for summer 2015, with designers like Oscar de la Renta and Altuzarra reimagining the traditional squares in fresh color palettes and sophisticated style pairings.

This new look is much more polished and much less picnic. When considering adding gingham to your interiors, experts suggest taking a page from the runway and juxtaposing it with modern graphics. Interior designer Kristen Armstrong, of KCID, LLC in Birmingham, prefers pairing the fabric with “zesty abstract prints.”

“A crisp gingham check always brings renewed freshness to the design and unites past with present,” she says. “Gingham is a summertime classic because it reminds us of picnics and playtime. I use gingham all the time as a trim fabric. It adds detail and depth to large-scale florals.” For kitchens and bedrooms, she suggests gingham can be incorporated in your décor via window treatments, chair upholstery, pillows, and even decorative accents like trays and flatware.

​Imomi gingham red Lucite tray, $278, Neiman Marcus, Troy,

Jennifer Mayer, merchandise manager for fabric at Calico Corners, which carries a variety of gingham and check patterns, believes the fabric’s retro look adds to its appeal. 

And while gingham is usually thought of as a smaller pattern, Mayer says the current designs in fashion and in the home are trending toward the larger-scale versions.

Whether you’re slipping on a cushion cover in red gingham, a serene sky-blue valance, or even a pink frock à la Brigitte Bardot and her 1959 wedding to actor Jacques Charrier, gingham in all its patterned glory is sure to refresh your home with a sunny, cheerful spin.

Alessi Mediterraneo paper plate holder, $78,  Artloft, Birmingham,

3D structure tealight holder, $7/ea., BoConcept,Birmingham,

Appliqué star pillow, $35, metro area Pier1 stores,

Jo vases, from $335, Ligne Roset, Birmingham, 

Mast bistro table, $248; chair/$199 ea., West Elm, Birmingham,

Hillhouse Naturals boathouse diffuser, $28.20, Detroit Garden Works, Sylvan Lake,

Vietri seahorse charger, $112,The Italian Dish, Birmingham,

Weber Q1200 portable gas grill, $219, Bordine Nursery, Rochester Hills,

Errol lamp, $300, Arteriors,

Cayenne ribbed chest, $1,153, Scott Shuptrine Interiors, metro area stores,

The Tradition Continues

A family's longtime annual gathering brings on the red, white, and blue

This Fourth of July will mark the 18th year that Karen DeKoker of Bingham Farms will host her “Lobsterfest” at her vacation home in Shelby, on the shores of Lake Michigan. She and her sister, who has her own cottage about 10 miles south of DeKoker’s home, roll out the red, white, and blue for everything from fabulous picnic food to great decorative touches that include driftwood, flags, napkin rings, plates, shells, and more. “When we (DeKoker and her husband, Neil) found this property, we had the notion that we wanted a spot that our families could come to every year — a place to connect,” DeKoker says. Between the two sisters, there are some 30-plus family members ranging in age from 3 to 81. “We have races on the beach, sandcastle competitions, water games, you name it,” DeKoker says. “No one misses this event, ever.” This year, she and Neil will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary … in true red, white, and blue style. 

Fired Up for the Fourth: Clockwise from upper left: The DeKokers collect red, white, and blue decorative accents, including pillows. The deck, which overlooks Lake Michigan, can hold several tables that provide intimate gathering spaces. Even plant centerpieces bloom with patriotism. Some of the family members are from Canada, so there’s a good bet you’ll see some flags from the nation’s border country, as well! Homeowner Karen DeKoker likes to use pails and buckets for table adornments. Not only do Fourth of July celebrants bask in all things patriotic, but they wear it, too, which made for this special portrait (Karen DeKoker is in the front row, second from right) at a “Lobsterfest” in the past.

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