Strike up the Parade!

“Seventy-six trombones led the big parade

With a hundred and ten cornets close at hand.”

The Music Man

Each year, hundreds of thousands of people line Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit to see the famous America’s Thanksgiving Parade® up close, while millions more watch at home. This year the theme of the 84th annual Parade is “Celebrate the Spirit.” Yet, back in 1990, this beloved tradition almost ceased to exist.

Started in 1924 by the J.L. Hudson Company department store, the Parade is tied with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City as the second-oldest Thanksgiving parade in the United States. Over the years, it changed hands and names, and started suffering setbacks:

  • 1980 – Hudson ended its sponsorship
  • 1988 – National telecast was dropped, causing many corporate sponsors to leave
  • 1990 – After 66 years of bringing joy to countless families, the whole event was in danger of being permanently cancelled

 That’s when Art Van Elslander received a call.

With the simple act of writing a $200,000 check, Mr. Van operationally brought the Parade from the brink of death, and in the process inspired other businesses to get on board. The Parade went on as planned, and the following year Mr. Van announced that we would match the contributions of other business up to $100,000. From there, things really started to take off and the Parade once again gained momentum to continue the cherished tradition of bringing families together on Thanksgiving morning.

We are proud to say that 2010 marks Art Van Furniture’s 21st year of sponsorship with the America’s Thanksgiving Parade. In the wee hours of November 25th, Art Van employees from all over the metro Detroit area will descend upon Detroit to take their place alongside the “Knights of the Charitable Round Table” float and start assisting in blowing up the crowd favorite 48′ Flicker the Dragon balloon. And as a special treat this year, Deidre Hall, best know for her role as Dr. Marlena Evans on NBC’s daytime drama Days of our Lives, will be riding in the Parade with Mr. Van.

Charles Dickens once said, “Charity begins at home, and justice begins next door.” And as Mr. Van and Art Van Furniture have proven over the years, there’s plenty of room at our table.

To see more images from Parade’s Past, check out the Parade album on our facebook page: www.facebook.com/artvanfurniture.

For updates and facts about the Parade, follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/artvanfurniture


Appease Your Senses

Autumn is all about delicious meals, warm scents, and fabulous fall treats. But why let your taste buds have all the fun? Our Vice President of Visual Merchandising, Amelia Ellenstein, came back from Market in High Point, NC, with delicious designs and tasty ideas for transforming your home. One hot trend she hit on was the use of textures and patterns that are amazing for autumn—and seasons to come. So you can keep your home cozy and your style fresh with these suggestions that are delectable enough to satisfy any palate.

Animal Magnetism. Exotic prints aren’t just a hot look for this season—they can give your space vibrancy and panache year-round. A black and white zebra print accent stool easily wakes up a room, or go more subtle with leopard print pillows to complement existing neutral tones. Not feeling all that ferocious? A lavish faux fur fabric can soften your look while giving you a decadent spot to unwind.
Make Like a Tree. Get back to nature with leafy or floral prints. Accent items with these bold designs can bring together the colors in a room, or they can stand out and make a statement. Tree branch and leaf motifs offer understated, breezy appeal, while floral prints keep you in summery spirits. Try unusual color schemes like teals or fuchsias to avoid an overly feminine feel.
The Mod Squad. Abstract designs are a versatile way to liven up your space, blending well with other décors. Go for polka dot patterns or structured stripes to add eye-catching depth. Choose a lively color—like juicy orange—to fit with the season and keep your look hot all winter long.
What a Feeling. Like your favorite cable-knit sweater, textured fabrics add a new dimension to your home, which gives you just one more reason to love it! Rich tweed is especially appropriate this season, perfect for your favorite accent chair or chaise. You’ll love curling up in it! Leather also offers a luxurious look and feel, adding a touch of elegance that will sit well with you in every season.
Get Next to You. Sometimes fabrics are better together, and juxtaposing different patterns and textures can help you bring out the best of both worlds. A corduroy fabric alongside sleek leather gives you a combination that looks as good as it feels. Or try embroidered or brocade toss pillows to dress up a soft, casual microsuede sofa.

You’ll be surprised how easily a pattern or texture can wake up a room—try one of these tips today and give your home a real eye-opener.


Pick up a new fall coat

Nothing keeps those impending winter blues at bay better than a fresh coat of paint. And because color plays such an important role in our lives, we devoted Week Two of our design classes to showing how you can maximize its impact in your home.

Essentially, there are three main types of color schemes:  Monochromatic, Analogous, and Complementary. By understanding these basic combinations, you can be confident when selecting colors for your next interior design project. Let’s take a closer look.

Mono a Mono

Monochromatic colors are found hanging out right next to each other on the color wheel. All you need to do is use various shades of one color, for a space that gives off a relaxed and peaceful vibe. It’s simple enough that even the most designed challenged will look like a pro!

We Are Family

With Analogous, it’s all in the family. In this category, color schemes are “families of color” located right next to one another on the color wheel. For example, yellow, green, and blue. This is the approach you want to use when designing a harmonious space.  These color schemes tend to have more energy than its monochromatic counterpart because there is more interaction between colors.

 Opposites Attract

By definition, Complementary colors are found opposite each other on the color wheel. Choose a color and then use a straight line to find the color directly opposite on the color wheel.   A complementary color scheme contains one warm color, think fire colors, or the right side of the wheel, and one cold color, think ice, of the left side of the wheel. By pairing the two colors together, you can create high contrast and energy.

Take a spin around the Art Van Color Collection wheel, which features a medley of 64 shades created exclusively for us by Sherwin-Williams®. Expertly chosen by our most creative eyes, the Art Van Color Collection can be found on the walls throughout our showrooms.  You can also take color chip samples home, and receive a 15% discount on your next Sherwin-Williams purchase.

 What’s your color story?


50 Hours, 50 Charities: Art Van Million Dollar Charity Challenge 2

Since our 2009 Charity Challenge was such a success, we’re doing it again! From over 600 submissions, we’ve chosen 50 charities throughout the state of Michigan as grant recipients for our 2010 Million Dollar Charity Challenge. With so many amazing organizations doing good here in the Great Lakes state, it was a challenge just to decide!

Our 50 winners for 2010 will receive grants ranging in amount from $5,000 to $50,000, for a total of $1 million to be given away! These donations are set up as challenge grants, as well, to help maximize fundraising for the recipients. And on top of that, we’ve also given an additional $5,000 to all of our 2009 winners!

Over 50 hours, we’re announcing this year’s recipients in a series of five press conferences at various Art Van Furniture locations, with Founder and Chairman Art Van Elslander, President Gary Van Elslander, and Senior Director of Merchandising David Van Elslander there to make the exciting and heartfelt announcements!

And you can help! Learn more about the charities and vote for your favorites at www.artvancharitychallenge.com! The charity with the most votes by October 31 will bring in an additional $25,000 for their cause!

As our Chairman and Founder, Art Van Elslander, said, “It’s easy to make a buck, it’s a lot harder to make a difference!” So help us make a difference for these 50 charities and for the state of Michigan!


The Elements of Design

With week one of our fabulous fall design classes finished, we decided to give those of you who couldn’t make it a little recap. After all, as Michigan’s go-to destination for furniture and accessories, we want to make sure everyone has a home decorated to suit their personal style.

Shaping Your Style

At Art Van Furniture, we have four style categories: Casual, Contemporary, Rustic, and Traditional. Some people gravitate towards one style, while other folks like to combine a couple. There is no wrong answer, so which style are you?

CASUAL

Casual furniture is definitely made for relaxed living, which is perfect for active households because it is so comfortable, and pieces are often made with multiple functions in mind.

Since the mood of this style is all about inviting and neutral, look for soft blues, greens, and yellows to create a warm and welcoming space.

CONTEMPORARY

Think clean, simple and modern. Contemporary furniture is designed with an emphasis on shape and color. In fact, sometimes these pieces look more like art then furniture.

For the walls, try cool gray colors and various shades of white.

 

RUSTIC

Furniture in this category is charming and often nostalgic. Detail is important, so look for tell-tale signs like hob nails and tarnished edges.

To model this look in your home, incorporate warm tans, and reds along with blue and green accents. We’re particularly fond of Latte from Sherwin-Williams. It looks and sounds delicious!

TRADITIONAL

Offering a more formal take on decorating, traditional furniture is typically constructed of dark stained woods, plush fabrics and showcases lots of fine detailing, which suggests a handcrafted quality.

In keeping with that image, deep, rich colors such as merlot, gray blue, and taupe work well in traditional settings. Sherwin-Williams Storm Cloud is one of our favorites and really adds some major drama to a space.