before & after: detroit design studio

I keep hearing about cool design and small business-related happenings in Detroit, and consequently, the city has rocketed to the top of my must-visit list. It’s a city with many beautiful old buildings, and designers are flocking there to turn neglected, empty spaces into thriving creative communities. This is one such space, and I love what Claire and her team at Model D have done with it. They’ve kept many of the original touches intact but lightened and brightened the space, bringing in a mix of modern and salvaged furniture to add warmth and personality to the room. Nice work, guys! — Kate

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See the full post after the jump . . .

Time: one month

Cost: $5000

Basic Steps: We whitewashed the walls; dusted off the mantels and moldings; found vintage furniture, art and accents from local Detroit shops; and swapped out the dark shades for white curtains. The space had beautiful features — two handsome fireplaces, gorgeous old wood pocket doors — but the muddy wall colors made it feel dark and dingy. By lightening the walls and opening up the windows, we brightened up the space without losing its historic charm. No major alterations were made, just some simple touches to breathe new life into a great old space.

Shop local, buy reused whenever possible, keep it simple. Over time, I’m sure we will add more art and fixtures, but keeping it spare makes it feel more spacious and elegant. Enlist the help of local merchants who can help you find unique odds and ends. Be willing to do a little refurb or repair in exchange for a good deal. And if you’re relying on the generosity of friends for cleaning and arranging (as we did), it never hurts to have good tunes on the iPod and beer in the fridge!

We wanted it to feel like an old-school publishing house or literary salon in a London townhouse or Parisian apartment, but with local Detroit artifacts so there’s no mistaking where you are! The clocks, pillows and prints all express our midwestern geography, which was very important to us. — Claire

MB@YarnUiPhoneAppv2.3

I wish I could see close ups of the pillows…I love old ephemera printed up on fabric. These look like they’re from a vintage atlas. So cool. I’d print up old knitting patterns. What fun that would be….

Sitch at SonicSF

This is gorgeous. I love the airiness and the asymmetrical clock arrangement. I have a weird question though: where is that accordian (sp) style notebook holder from? I could use one in *my* studio!

joquena

My house was built in 1940 and we’ve put a lot of work into it. I’m so glad you kept the original flooring. What’s the fireplace made of? It’s a very interesting color. Is it marble?

Alice Stone

Love it – the clocks, print over the mantel, the white table by the window – is that from Ikea? Great floors and love how much lighter the space is now!

Courtney

Oh that is gorgeous. I really love the window seat – what a great way to take advantage of those amazing windows + the natural light.

Crystal

Always great to see a before & after coming out of my home state! There are so many great things happening in Detroit!

Amanda @ Heart Tree Home

My town! Glad to see the old house being used for something instead of vacant. It’s truly beautiful now; I’m looking forward to more and more people doing the same.

Samantha

Claire herself is a gem. Everything she has done and continues to do in Detroit is illuminating and refreshing. The space reflects the big smile she always has. Thanks for showing space from Detroit!

Giulia

I want the flower pots!!!!!! Any idea where to get them?

Cathy

Like the multiple clocks thing going on. Looks like they are all set to the same time, but could not read the labels underneath – what do they say?

Libby

How lovely!
The windowseat – was that made specifically for the reno, or was it existing? It is beautiful. What a bright nook.

Heidi (AlpineGypsy)

This is a make-over I definitely love…wow. I love the fact that they didn’t alter anything too much – just took a space that wasn’t being optimized and added bright touches to bring out its natural beauty. Stunning!

Heidi

Riva

Model D is awesome and so is Claire! They are doing an amazing job of promoting Detroit and all of the creative Detroiters here. Our city is alive and thriving with many young and not-so-young independent entrepreneurs, artists, thinkers, and do-ers.

Cindy

I read in model D that you can get the terracotta pots at Nest Housewares around the corner. City Bird is also around the corner and I think I saw the pillows there on Saturday.

Danielle

Beautiful space! And it’s always great to read wonderful things about my hometown. Thanks for sharing!

Arlene Frank

So much creativity in the re-design…wonderful. Makes a hometown gal proud.

maria anne

I’m always so proud and excited when Detroit’s creative community is highlighted. Makes me miss my hometown so much more!

JEFF

WOW I LIVE IN TOLEDO WHICH IS AN HOUR FROM DETROIT SO GLAD TO HERE THINGS ARE HAPPING THERE. IT WAS SUCH A BEAUTIFUL CITY, AND I KEEP HEARING ABOUT PEOPLE FLOCKING THERE TO REBUILD HER.

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