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Kendall Alumni Design New Furniture Lines For Art Van

Posted March 28, 2011 in Alumni

When Maria Havenaar (‚??05, Fine Arts‚??Painting) was attending Kendall, she lived in the nearby historic district, Heritage Hill, in a beautiful brick mansion that had been sub-divided into apartments.

Little did she know that her vintage apartment would inspire her designs for ‚??Grand Bay,‚?Ě Art Van‚??s H.O.M.E.S. line of Michigan-inspired furniture.

The 28-year-old Kalamazoo native works at Wheeless and Associates, a freelance design firm in North Carolina, where she does furniture design and illustration. She recalls, ‚??The mansion had a Mahogany staircase and lots of great moldings. I was thinking about those details when I designed this furniture.‚?Ě

‚??It was great to be able to work on something that connects you back to a wonderful place,‚?Ě Havenaar said. ‚??This is a pretty exciting collection.‚?Ě

Havenaar‚??s Grand Bay Collection is stylized after 18th century English design with a relaxed West Indies feel. Heritage Hill‚??s design influence is evident in the decorative beaded molding and cathedral mahogany veneers with antique finish hardware.

Havenaar is one of two Kendall graduates who have been tapped to design furniture as part of Art Van‚??s Michigan H.O.M.E.S. Collections.

Keith Binns, (‚??86, Furniture Design) designed the Rock Harbor Collection, which features hickory veneers, copper metal accents and bold geometric shapes. The rustic furniture line evokes Michigan small towns including his own, Romeo, 40 miles north of Detroit. He also drew from his memories summering up north in family‚??s cottage in Norwood, located between Traverse City and Charlevoix.

Binns, who co-owns Berry & Clark Design Associates in Hickory said Art Van gave him a lot of leeway in designing the collection. ‚??They pretty much let us do what we wanted,‚?Ě he said.

Grand Bay and Rock Harbor are the first new lines introduced since H.O.M.E.S. was unveiled in 2007, said Bob Price, Art Van‚??s senior vice president of merchandising for the Warren-based retailer. Muskegon native Dan Yates (‚??89, Furniture Design) designed the first collections: rustic Copper Harbor and the casual Grand Shores furniture lines.