Interiorssneak peeks

sneak peek: honor & folly

by Amy Azzarito

Meghan McEwen is one of the co-founders of Designtripper, a design and travel blog. We got a sneak peek into her Detroit home last year. Now, she’s unveiling a new project, Honor & Folly — a small-scale B & B in her own city. Meghan was inspired by the places she found for Designtripper — those small, unique spots that give you the experience of a neighborhood, where you can go downstairs and talk to the shopkeeper or coffee store owner and feel part of a community scene. Staying in intimate spaces that tell a story about a city is how Meghan likes to travel, and she wanted to bring that feeling to Detroit. Honor & Folly is a two-bedroom apartment in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit. Guests have access to the entire apartment, which was decorated with thrift-store finds and objects made by local designers. They’re opening this week! Thanks, Meghan, and thanks to Marvin Shaouni for the lovely photos! — Amy Azzarito

Image above: I stacked these vintage suitcases — one from my personal collection, the others from thrift shops around Detroit — to make a nightstand. And I trash-picked the headboard on bulk pick-up day. The front side (which I turned to the wall) is made of wood veneer and pretty hideous, but the backside (which I faced forward) has a nice, clean-silhouette look. I wanted to keep the bedrooms simple and cozy, so I tried not to overdecorate. You can’t see it here, but above the bed, there’s a feather sculpture by local artist Meghann Rotary hanging from a pulley and oversize nail. It’s the only shot of bright color in the room.

Image above: This is my favorite corner of Honor & Folly. I collected the mix-and-match antique piano stools and chairs from local vintage shops over the course of a few months. I started knitting seat covers for all of them, but after ripping off the aquamarine floral cushion from the black-legged stool, I found a beautifully worn, white wooden seat. And I ended up liking the purple needlepoint seat of the stool on the end, so I left the green, knitted cover unfinished to display a little peek of the handiwork beneath. I like how it looks like a work in progress. My brother-in-law built the table; the worn, weathered bench was lent to me by a friend; and the art is by Megan O’Connell, who recently moved to Detroit from Portland, Maine, to direct the new print shop, Signal Return.

See more of Honor & Folly after the jump . . .

Image above: Guests are welcome to use everything in the space — from the old cooking utensils to the handwoven Chairworks picnic basket. Some of the goods are for sale, like this collection of beautiful ceramic dishware by Abigail Murray. On the top of the old, teal-painted pie case, there’s a plate full of vintage skeleton keys, a fitting symbol for Honor & Folly.

Image above: This is a built-in wine rack filled with little bits and bobs, including some handmade pinch pots from a friend and refurbished brushes from the Brush Factory in Cincinnati.

Image above: It’s difficult to see in this photo, but beneath the vintage, linen-backed quilt is a blanket made with wool from a Michigan sheep farm. It’s the softest woolen blanket I’ve ever felt, and H&F offers a range of colors for sale. Hanging above the bed is a leftover piece of burlap that I painted and threw together at the last minute, inspired by an insignificant little poem that I sometimes read to my kids called “Ornithology for Beginners” by Dorothy Parker.

Image above: The front living space gets the most beautiful light all day, and I love how the panes of salvaged colored glass throw orange and blue across the brick.

Image above: I found this early 1900s daybed covered in dust and buried in the deepest corner of Detroit’s Eastern Market Antiques for a song and had it reupholstered in a discontinued P. Kaufman fabric called Jacob’s Ladder. My friend, Amy Bem, made a few pillows for Honor & Folly with the same fabric. The bag is from the Brush Factory, and guests are welcome to use it for their Saturday morning market haul.

Image above: Portraits greeting guests at the top of the entry stairs.

Image above: Vintage lamp on a beat-up old stool. In between, a stack of small-press magazines like Anthology, Apartamento and Kinfolk. I’ll try to keep a rotating collection for guests, which will help justify my habit.

Image above: I’ve loved this wallpaper by Chicago designer Casey Gunschel of Palace Papers since I wrote a story about her five years ago for Chicago magazine, and I finally found a home for it — on the front of this cement-topped kitchen island. The stools were built by Zeb Smith, who’s the super-handy exhibit coordinator for the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.

Image above: Honor & Folly guests will have complete access to the big, fully stocked cooking kitchen. And once a week, local chef Tenley Lark will lead a cooking class, covering everything from mastering knife basics to making seasonal soups with local ingredients. There will also be guest appearances by local sausage makers, pie bakers, jammers, cocktail shakers and anyone else we can round up.

Image above: I filled this old wooden box from a local farm with old wooden cooking utensils, some with handles or stripes I painted pink, gray or red. I was planning to sell them, but I’ve grown quite fond of it all, so I’ll probably keep the entire collection in the B & B, so I can admire it from time to time (and maybe, eventually, bring it back to my own house to live happily ever after). This Japanese-inspired, selvedge denim apron was designed by Benny Saginaw of Detroit design collective Bourgeois Walker for Honor & Folly.

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  • I love this…it reminds me of my old Bucktown 1-bedroom with its tall tall ceilings and brick walls…I miss that place…but couple notes: Love the idea of the knitted seat covers, great way to get rid of stash yarn. And the ball of yarn on top of the seat is cute and clever…And that vintage lamp has an incredible base…I just want to press felt on it and make a hat out of my pressed felt!

  • This place reminds me of my old loft on Lafayette! I love Detroit, older than the US itself and so full of architectural beauty! Good luck with H & F, and check out the Willis Village co-op for some Detroit-based artists too! ;) You make me want to move back to the Mitten…

  • as somebody from detroit, i especially loved this post. many people think detroit is an awful city, when really there are so many charming things to be found there. i love everything about the feel of this place; everything is rustic and vintage and perfect (i can’t wait to find the perfect suitcases to stack up for use as a nightstand). i would definitely enjoy spending a night there!!

  • i am in awe. the whole concept is amazing, and the design in this space is simple, fresh, and visually stimulating without feeling overly trendy [as many smaller indie places are apt to be] kudos, truly.

  • I just moved to Detroit 2 years ago from Washington D.C. As someone new to the city, I’ve fallen in love with it and find myself trying to defend it whenever I can to the outsiders who want to demonize it. I love the Corktown area and wish I lived there – there is so much going on! I really want to check out H&F as a home away from home – what a great place! I’m glad it’s getting buzz on my favorite blog :)

  • Beautiful & exciting! Thank you to Meghan for bringing this to life! (And gorgeous photos, as always, Marvin.) Lucky us!

  • Absolutely stunning! I am so happy with the regrowth of my home city. Thank you for doing something magnificent there! Cannot wait to come stay with you!

  • @ Emme — Yes, move back to the mitten!
    @ Erin — would love to have you. We’ll actually be offering cooking classes after the first of the year, so you don’t even have to spend the night.
    thanks, everyone!

  • what a beautiful space. it’s just prefect, really – what with the daybed ,the turned-around bed, the quilt, and the white porcelain dinnerware! i love it all.

  • Can you maybe provide a list of some of the vintage and antique stores you visited? I live in the Cass Corridor and have been trying to find truly quality vintage furniture but have been having a hard time finding sources (aside from the street of course)

  • YEA ,Such a beautiful B&B , Iam a Detroit gal and I love the city and all of the super talented folks who make it so hip. Way to go , I will have to check you out on my next trip home. Big success to you in your endeavor


  • Where did you get that vintage quilt? My grandmother had a couple of quilts that looked just like this one!