• Renovations at Cornman Farms

     
    FROM THE Fall 2019 ISSUE
     

    This redesigned country venue makes you feel right at home. 

  • Renovations at Cornman Farms

     
    FROM THE Fall 2019 ISSUE
     

    This redesigned country venue makes you feel right at home. 

In 1834, a classic Greek Revival Farmhouse was built and three years later a gorgeous barn was constructed on the same property. That was the same year that Michigan became a state. Fastforward 185 years, and today the Dexter facility, called Zingerman’s Cornman Farms about 10 miles from downtown Ann Arbor, attracts meetings and special events throughout the year.

Recently, the quintessential farmhouse was given an interior makeover by former editor-in-chief of Domino magazine-turnedcreative-consultant Michelle Adams, and her design partner, Emily Schoen of The Maryn in Ann Arbor. Their mission was to take the farmhouse, which was basically a blank slate, and design purposeful rooms that made it feel like a home again.

Adams and Schoen redesigned seven rooms, including a cozy library that houses the owner’s cookbook collection. It’s just one of the many spaces that can accommodate members of an off-site meeting.

“The Farmhouse can accommodate 75 guests for a strolling event and 50 guests for a seated event,” says Jamie Gray, Zingerman’s Cornman Farms marketing and communications manager.

The end result of the redesign perfectly reflects the personality of the venue’s owner and executive chef, Kieron Hales, who hails from Devon, England. The eclectic interiors are representative of an English country estate, juxtaposing quirky antiques with sleek modern shapes.

Incidentally, in 2008, Hales joined food emporium Zingerman’s and became executive chef of Zingerman’s Roadhouse, then opened the current Zingerman’s Cornman Farms.

“The designers understood my personality and heritage and translated it into the design of the Farmhouse,” says Hales, whose career began in England at the age of 13, when he went to the Specialized Chefs School in Bournemouth. Upon graduating, he joined the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts at age 17 and embarked on a career that has taken him around the globe. Of note: The celebrated chef has cooked for the British Royal family and three U.S. presidents.

“Our venue hosts some very important events, and thus we wanted to keep the design very elegant and classy. Yet, I am often described as quite a quirky, energetic and sometimes nostalgic individual, and the designers wanted to reflect that. The end result is a quintessential English home with some wonderfully eccentric and whimsical accents,” Hales says.

Since the redesign, he adds, guests who’ve hosted or attended events here never want to leave.

"When you host an event at Cornman Farms, we want you to feel as if you are at the home of a family member,” Hales says, “a place that is always warm, welcoming and serving incredibly delicious food."

It began as the first Cadillac dealership outside of Detroit, then became a roller rink in the 1950s. Now, the High Five GR is reopened as a premier event space in downtown Grand Rapids. The original roller rink hardwood floors remain, as do the vaulted ceilings and oversized arched windows that showcase the city lights. What’s new is a state-of-the-art a/v system and an event team that can create custom floorplans and organize set up/teardown and load in/out logistics.

 

The Townsend Hotel has been stacking up kudos in 2021. Maintaining AAA Four-Diamond status throughout its 34-year history and earning a Forbes Four Star rating for the last eight consecutive years, the 150-room luxury property in the walkable neighborhood of Birmingham and just 20 miles from downtown Detroit, was awarded the Travelers’ Choice Award by Tripadvisor in May, recognition that its positive review and ratings over the past 12 months placed it in top 10 percent worldwide of all hotels.

 

The Winery at Black Star Farms is widely admired for the award-winning wines produced from its 160-acre vineyards on both the Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas. Now, the Black Star Farms is gaining kudos for its fruit-based brandies, too. At the 15th Annual Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition, held in Grand Rapids on July 28-30, Black Farm’s Spirit of Pear earned first place in the “spirits” division of the competition while its Spirit of Apple took third place.