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January 26, 2012 - Image 44

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-01-26

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Fine Renovations & Expansions Since 1978


Feeling Romantic?
Bestow One-of-a-Kind Jewels

New local boutiques, businesses and brands you may not
know — but should.

By Lynne Konstantin

lane Harris is awed by the fact that platinum or gold can be formed into a piece of
jewelry that might become a person's most treasured heirloom.
So when she opened My House of Style in Birmingham two years ago, it was not
only fulfilling a passion but also coming full circle in a path that seemed meant to bring
her there.
In the 1980s, Harris, 54, often went on buying trips and trade shows to choose artistic
jewelry, pottery, glass and collectibles for the highly regarded Ilona & Gallery at the Or-
chard Mall. She also soaked up all
the knowledge she could about
jewelry and the American craft
market before moving on to Pen-
timento Fine Jewelry, where she
learned about diamonds, precious
stones and high-karat metals and
drew sketch designs for pieces
that would be brought to life by
the bench jewelers.
But in recent years, she began
to notice a change in the jewelry
industry. "The traditional platinum
and diamond pieces were now
competing with pieces crafted of
different materials and designs
that were more unique and eclec-
tic,"says Harris.
So she made a list of 100 peo-
ple to invite into the Huntington
Woods home she shares with her
husband, Daniel, and two dogs,
for her first trunk show of one-
of-a-kind jewels, hoping for 25
to show up. "My entire street was
parked full of cars;' she says."My
home was filled with supporters
who had heard from others I was
going into business."
Over the next four years, Harris
developed an open-door policy
in her home. "Customers would
stop by for a cup of coffee and to
see what was new. Sometimes
we would serve lunch and just
play with the jewelry,"she says. In
her comfortable and welcoming
atmosphere, she grew a thriving
business "in the worst of times7
gaining referrals and hiring a staff,
until finally, in October 2009, she
grew out of her house.
"I had always fantasized about
opening a boutique filled with
unique pieces, by trendsetting
young designers, that expressed
the individual style of the clients;'
says Harris. "It was the most
incredible experience to see my
idea come full circle!'
Bringing the casual, cozy elegance of her own home to her business' new home, Harris
has filled My House of Style with welcoming chairs lit by a crystal chandelier and a help-
yourself kitchen while large glass candy jars lining the front walkway welcome guests
"I wanted to create an atmosphere as if you were visiting my home, and there just
happened to be hundreds of fabulous pieces of jewelry to feast your eyes upon and make
your own;' she says.
Reflecting the years of Harris' on-site education, travel to shows and interaction with cli-
ents learning what they really wanted, My House of Style
brims with a luscious assortment of fine diamond
pieces mingling with fashion jewelry, showcasing
national designers including Jordan Scott and
Lika Behar and hot local names like Michele
Saulson and Jolie Altman — as well as unique
gift items like jewelry boxes handcrafted
of inlaid wood, leather or lacquer and
handmade jewelry holders recycled from
antique dishes by Jennifer Kroll.
Harris also often works with customers
to create custom pieces or incorporate
heirloom elements into a piece that suits
the client's style. "I love to help my custom-
ers and talk to them, or help them style an
outfit. We encourage touching and trying-
on," she says.
"It's all about the experience here and
building trust in our advice," says Harris. "I am
in love with my store. I turn the lights on in
the morning, and it is every girl's dream come
true — cases filled with brilliant sparking jewels
and rich gorgeous colors, and where people leave


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February 2012

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MY HOUSE OF STYLE, 574 Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham (248-594-

7776; myhouseofstyle.com ).


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