Against the Grain

Two young woodworkers commit to keeping their businesses in Detroit







From Left to Right: 




// Octohedron concrete planter, $40, by Lady Lazarus, available at Lady Lazarus in the Rust Belt Market, 22801 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.

In an economy of cubicles, computers, and dreams of getting rich quick, it takes a bit of courage to be an artist. Sometimes, you just have to go against the grain.

But if you choose that route in Detroit, you don’t have to go it alone. It’s fair to say the art scene is flourishing. Consider this testament to the city’s allure: Galapagos Art Space, a for-profit arts space that’s been a crucial part of Brooklyn’s art scene for nearly 20 years, has chosen to move its headquarters to Corktown and Highland Park in 2016. New York has simply become too expensive to continue incubating young artists, Galapagos’ website says.

The two gentlemen featured in this month’s A-List — Jason Haselhuhn and Kyle Huntoon — never met before, but they’re kindred spirits. They didn’t come here to escape high rents, but both come from families of makers and creators, and both have chosen to establish their woodworking businesses in Detroit.

Pictured Above: 

// Desk by Iron & Oak Domestics, $1,800;

// Framed Detroit postcard, $25, City Bird, 460 W. Canfield St. #103, Detroit; 313-831-9146.

// Field Notes, County Fair Edition, Michigan, set of 3, $10.95, Rail & Anchor, 502 S. Washington Ave., Royal Oak; 248-397-8985.

// Leather leaf kalanchoe plant, provided by Pot & Box Floral Design, 3756 Plaza Dr., Ann Arbor; 734-368-2130.

// Antique suitcase, courtesy of Nest, 460 W. Canfield St. #103, Detroit; 313-831-9776.

// Le Feu Phthalo Bleu candle, $62, Willys Detroit, 441 W. Canfield St., Detroit, 313-285-1880.

// Wall print, $20, West Elm, 215 W. Maple Rd., Birmingham; 248-593-8200.

// Tea towel (as runner), $15, Nora Detroit, 4240 Cass Ave., #109, Detroit; 313-831-4845.

// Moleskine journals,

// Detroit 1968 book by Enrico Natali, $49.95; Rail & Anchor

// Octohedron concrete planter, $40, by Lady Lazarus, available at Lady Lazarus in the Rust Belt Market, 22801 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.

// Palomino Blackwing pencils, $19.95 (box of 12), Rail & Anchor, and clear container, $14, Nest

// Industrial Task table lamp, $99, with Edison bulb, $10, both at West Elm

// Orange enamelware cup, $3, West Elm

// Langly Alpha Pro backpack, $249,

// Wooden 6-Pack beer carrier, $40, Hunt and Noyer, 2914 Cass Ave., Detroit; 517-914-6259.

// Detroit: 138 Square Miles book, $65, City Bird // Sweater wool rug, $249, West Elm.

Iron and Oak Domestics was started in the spring of 2014 by Jason Haselhuhn, a young man who has been a creator for most of his life. He began cutting up wood in his dad’s garage at age 7, and is also a talented painter. When his day job as a property manager wasn’t cutting it, he decided to go back to what he knew he was good at. After making his first table for himself, friends asked for pieces of their own, and through word-of-mouth, Haselhuhn’s business has grown significantly. The majority of his home furnishings are custom-made pieces commissioned by strangers who have fallen in love with his style.

“I try my best to let the wood design itself to a certain point,” he says. For this particular desk (shown above), the slab was massive, wide, and ideal for doing a “waterfall” style table. As a jack-of-all-trades, Haselhuhn also welded the other set of legs out of steel, a common style he incorporates into his pieces. The desktop and right side legs are made of maple, with black walnut details. All his wood comes from his personal mill or other mills in metro Detroit. The artist has been everywhere from Texas to Thailand, but he considers Detroit his home. “I have no intentions of leaving; I can’t imagine being anywhere else in the world, especially being a maker and creator.” You can find his work at Ferndale’s Rust Belt Market.
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Pictured Above: 

// Cali side table, $900, Hunt and Noyer

// Blue vases by Judy Jackson, $28, Nora Detroit

// Icosahedron concrete planter, by Lady Lazarus, $16, available at Lady Lazarus in the Rust Belt Market

// Terrarium, $50, Nest

// Concrete lamp, $50, Edison bulb, $30, Rail & Anchor

// Brass love object, $29, West Elm

// Leon Cookbooks, $30, Nest

// Hedgehog porcelain lamp, $96, Nest

// Sweater wool rug, $249, West Elm

Hunt & Noyer got started in spring 2013 when Kyle Huntoon returned from a fine furniture making program in Rockport, Maine. The University of Michigan grad had a job as a civil engineer, but felt a calling to create. The fourth-generation woodworker grew up inspired by the work of his relatives, and based his business in Detroit because of the city’s rich history in manufacturing and its growing community of makers. Although he still works as an engineer, his biggest passion is making home goods — and his signature 6-Pack beer carriers. “Doing work that is tangible, functional, and beautiful brings somuch happiness to my life,” he says. Most of his work is made to order, and he prefers domestic hardwoods selected for color and character. The Cali side table (pictured) is made of solid walnut cut from the same tree, with maple drawer sides. “The Cali series is inspired by my love of and respect for furniture and industrial designers of the early and mid-20th century,” he says. “I chose to highlight the joinery, because I think the finger joints  add a decorative element that is both aesthetically pleasing and telling of the piece’s longevity.”
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