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April 30, 2013

Fashion comes home in downtown Birmingham

By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer

BIRMINGHAM — Oftentimes, interior decoration and home improvement mean more than just a fresh coat of paint on the walls. Planning a room redo can be a complicated and trying process.

That process could be made a little easier, though, with some helpful tips from a few friends in the know. According to John Heiney, executive director of the Birmingham Principal Shopping District, there are nearly 50 retailers in the city’s downtown area that cater to home improvement and décor. That’s why, in recent months, the PSD has introduced Blueprint: The Birmingham Home Collection to promote Birmingham as a source for interior style.

“We formed this group because we looked around and realized Birmingham is really a center for these kinds of businesses. Great interior designers, architects and all of these combined make Birmingham a destination for people who want to improve their home,” said Heiney.

To present the Blueprint concept to customers, the PSD is hosting the Fashion Your Home Spring/Summer event May 2-4. More than a dozen designers, retailers and home improvement businesses are welcoming guests into their downtown shops with special promotions, sales and other activities to help motivate homeowners to makeover their space.

“These are all the home furnishing stores, home accessories, designers, kitchen stores and pretty much any store that has accessories or anything else for your home,” said Heiney. “Stores are doing different things, but the goal is for people to get ideas and inspiration for home improvement and accessorizing.”

Among the retailers participating are LaBelle Provence, which will offer a free 15-minute consultation with a professional designer from 2-5 p.m. May 3; Birmingham Design Studio, which will have a presentation at 11 a.m. May 4 on coordinating paint and home décor with oriental rugs; and Artloft, which will host a wine and cheese tasting from 6-9 p.m. May 2 while guests meet with representatives from Interior Innovations Creative Consulting, who will discuss home organization techniques.

Niki and Alisha Serras, better known in the Birmingham community as “The Kitchen Sisters,” are the owners of Scavolini by Cucina Moda, on East Maple Road. According to Niki Serras, the store will have a display sale in honor of the Fashion Your Home promotion, with up to 50 percent off of the kitchen models on display in the showroom. At the same time, the store will have an “Ask the Expert” session, where guests can get advice on their own projects in a low-pressure environment.

“When you redo your kitchen or bath, it’s a major construction project. So (Ask the Expert) is a way to come in and ask an expert, with no strings attached, if you have concerns or questions,” said Niki Serras.

She added that, while she hopes to bring new customers into her own store, which has been downtown for about three years, she hopes the downtown in general will get a little extra attention from Fashion Your Home.

“Birmingham is really becoming a design center of southeast Michigan or Michigan at large. There’s a lot of cool stores down here that people might not have seen before,” she said. “We’ll just be around here that weekend. We’ll have something served like Prosecco or something to welcome people into our showroom, and hopefully Birmingham, as an area, will have a good turnout that weekend.”

The event coincides with the PSD’s inaugural First Thursdays event May 2, which will host activities and promotions in downtown Birmingham to draw customers in for late-night summer shopping.

Information for both promotions can be found by visiting the PSD website at www.enjoybirmingham.com.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Tiffany Esshaki at tesshaki@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1095.