Gwenn Rosseau has discriminating taste. When she hired Richard Ross of Richard Ross Designs to redo her home, she knew in her mind exactly what she wanted and together the two set out bring her vision to life.
“We had a difficult time finding things for my home,” she recalled. “So he and I became friends over the course of my project and now here we are.”
“Here” is R2 Home, a fine home furnishing boutique that specializes in a clean-lined, elegant design style, located at 22941 Woodward Ave. And it is one of several upscale home furnishing shops that have recently made a home in Ferndale. Rosseau and Ross co-own the store, which opened in June 2005. She runs the day-to-day operations, while Ross has built for himself an office out of which to run his design firm in the back.
“We call him the creative director,” Rosseau said. “He completely designed the store, including the custom made fixtures, which are reflective of his design style and talent.”
R2 Home is Michigan’s only source for Venini glass. In the store you can also find beautiful glass and dishware, stunning signed black and white photo reproductions, True candles by Joseph Thomas, the k.hall line of bath and body products and much, much more.
Also featured in the store is the handcrafted Nambe’ line, though Rosseau stocks “more of the crystal instead of the metal, which most people know better.”
Ferndale is the perfect place for such an original, service-oriented store, Rosseau said.
“I think the people that support independent businesses are more apt to come to Ferndale. We really wanted to do something different. You can find the same old crap everywhere.”
‘A little niche’
Personal and professional partners Keith Priemer and Dave Sutton came to Ferndale to live, and then last October decided to set up shop in the city as well. Contempo Home, located at 255 W. Nine Mile Road, specializes, as the name suggests, in contemporary living.
“We’ve heard a lot that people actually like not having to drive and having shops that they can patronize in Ferndale,” said Sutton. “If they need a last minute gift, they can just come out here instead of driving to malls in another city. They like the personal touch and the personal attention that you’re able to give them. You actually get to know a lot of the town folk that way.”
Knowing your customers, after all, leads to knowing how to please them.
“I think there was a little niche that wasn’t being serviced here in Ferndale,” Sutton said. “The houses are smaller, a lot of older bungalows that people want to decorate more contemporary and nothing was affordable close by. We looked in terms of what we wanted for our house and then we asked a bunch of our friends what they wanted. We kind of went with the combination of the European style of doing flowers and home decor together, instead of one or the other. We’re trying to get people to think of flowers as a part of home decor.”
In addition the store’s exotic floral arrangements, they carry the Blomus line of stainless steel decor, the Torre & Tagus line of home furnishing and rugs by Angela Adams. A popular item in the store these days is the new stainless steel ethanol burning fireplace that was recently featured on HGTV. Cocktail sets are another crowd pleaser, and the store is known for their candles, including the Bluewick line featured in the prestigious W chain of hotels and the locally owned Down To Earth candle company.
New to Ferndale this June is the city’s latest home furnishings and accessories boutique, and BeautifulHome, like the other two stores profiled here, has a niche of its own as well. Located at 22963 Woodward Ave., BeautifulHome features furniture made on the Ivory Coast of Africa of teak wood and mahogany.
“The furniture has a contemporary twist,” explained Violene Oliver, the store’s owner. “The design is clean and simple, and everything is handmade.”
The store also features artwork both from African and local artists, including an enchanting selection of African silk thread art, beautiful vases, colorful throw pillows, authentic African masks and an assortment of shelving. BeautifulHome has a store motto, which is simply, “Fine craftsmanship and creative use of natural materials.”
Like her fellow first-time storeowners, Oliver said that Ferndale was the logical place to her open her business.
“It’s very centrally located,” she said. “You feed off of Royal Oak and Birmingham traffic, and of course Detroit. Also, for what I’m doing, I think Ferndale is very open minded and open to new things. It’s not your typical furniture and art store.”
And that, in essence, is what makes her store so typically Ferndale.
“None of us is the same,” said Oliver of the other home furnishings and accessories stores in the city. “Everyone in Ferndale is doing something very unique that you can’t find anywhere else.
“I think that Ferndale is very vibrant, and it is what it is because people from Ferndale shop in Ferndale,” Oliver continued. “It’s a very tight, supportive community.”