For those seeking upscale solutions to interior and exterior design, Rex Todd Rogers Design Studio has opened in Fenton.
Rogers’ new business opened its doors earlier this month, at 106 W. Shiawassee Ave.
He has family ties to the area and has lived in the Fenton area and Washington, D.C. for several years, Rogers said. He employs the work of local artists and craftsmen as much as possible, a cause close to his heart, he added. In addition, Rogers travels to Manhattan frequently and obtains furniture and other décor from many sources.
For example, his new studio includes a bright floral painting by local artist Shelby Rae Gilbert. It’s mixed with concrete planters and decorative orbs from another area source, along with a chair of Italian design from the 1930s. And a mid-century photograph of an American desert scene, which Rogers had restored and framed, stands out in a corner.
When decorating, Rogers looks for high end, high quality furniture that’s made in America.
“I want something that will last,” he said.
He remembers an experience his father had, purchasing an expensive dining room table and Windsor chairs that the salesperson said were made in America. His father thought it was a good investment, Rogers said, but when he sat down in one of the chairs it broke. He found the “Made in China” etching, and said he'd never buy furniture that expensive again.
“I learned from that experience,” Rogers said.
When he's spending other people's money, he looks for furniture that will last so they can pass it down to the next generation or resell it later, he said.
One of his furniture suppliers is from Highpoint, N.C.
Rogers has been working with clients in Holly, Fenton, Milford and Flint. His projects range from adding rooms, to offering advice on how to make a space complete by moving furniture and adding or removing items.
When designing for a client, he can offer new ideas or create a space according to the client’s vision. Rogers can bring in items from big cities, or find local flavors that blend into a client’s style, he said.
His own preference is for clean and straight looks, with classy, modern lines. Rogers’ studio is being renovated, keeping the wooden floors and their metal grates for character, he said. The walls are white, with large pieces of driftwood and vintage sporting goods equipment accenting the room. Large windows allow a lot of natural light into the building.
The building will be handicap-accessible, Rogers added. The ramp will be painted white, and its side has metal poles to add a twist and blend into the surroundings in an attractive manner.
Speaking through an interpreter, Rogers, who has a hearing impairment, said he recently met a wonderful furniture maker who grew up in Byron, who would like to work with Rogers on a new line of furniture just for his studio. The furniture will include indoor and outdoor items, and the artist enjoys working with old oak and other hardwoods.
He will have furniture to be sold on commission, Rogers added. His goal is to make furniture specifically for each client, to the client’s own tastes.
Additionally, he can assist with re-upholstering furniture, and draperies, he said. Rogers has samples of fabrics and furniture at his studio for clients to view, and he is a member of The Design Center in Troy, where he can obtain fabrics and furniture clients would like, he said.
Many people have limited space available in their homes and are downsizing their living spaces or redecorating after children have grown, Rogers said. They might have too many items and wonder what to remove and what to keep. He is able to plan a space where they can socialize, use for multiple purposes, or just relax, he said. In smaller spaces, it’s useful to have an area that can be used for entertaining or the family, for example, Rogers said.
For the outdoors, he can design a garden area or a landscape in a limited space. In front of his studio, there is an urban feel, but the plants are attractive but simple and easy to maintain, Rogers said. Grasses can be beautiful and appealing all year without the need for frequent watering, he added. He recommends that people not cut their grass before winter, so it has a landscaped look during the winter. Then, in the early spring, Rogers recommends mowing it.
He is available by appointment at Rex Todd Rogers Design Studio, 106 W. Shiawassee Ave., Fenton, email@example.com. The studio is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and there is a city parking lot behind the building.