Blue House, the craft studio and consignment gallery across the street from Michigan Stadium, still exists in a virtual kind of way, but the blue house for which it was named has been sold and will become rental property.
Siobhan Lyle opened Blue House in 2010. The house, property of her husband’s family, had long ceased to be a home: it was zoned commercial. She lovingly restored the interior to a pristine, Shaker-like simplicity and used it as a place to teach simple, homespun crafts like sewing, knitting, and collage.
Lyle was out of town and didn’t respond to email messages, but according to its website, Blue House is now Blue House Mobile Craft Studio. Lyle will now help you design a crafty party or workshop and bring it to your house.
Maru, the homey Korean restaurant in the shadow of the fourteen-story Zaragon West construction on East William, closed suddenly sometime in January, and owner Duck Ki Hong left without saying goodbye. None of the neighboring restaurants knew what happened. An owner of a nearby Chinese restaurant said she assumed he had closed for Chinese New Year, and then some weeks later realized he must be gone for good. A sign on the door says “under construction,” and one of the windows is boarded up. Inside, the tables, chairs, and cash register–even the dishes–are undisturbed.
Chang Lee, owner of Korean restaurant Arirang in Village Centre, says there’s no real mystery. In 2007, when Duck Ki Hong, who was then a cook at Arirang, bought the restaurant (then Seoul Korner), the business had a five-year nonrenewable lease on it. The lease is up, and Hong is now back cooking at Arirang.
Lee says no one knows seems to know what Maru’s landlord, Chun Mi Han, intends to do with the property. Han, who left the area in 2010, now lives in Washington state.
Emerald Dragonfly, the pretty little nature-themed gift shop and art gallery across from Zingerman’s, has moved out of the space. “Watch our website” says the sign on the door, but the website doesn’t say if there will be another bricks-and-mortar location. Owners Joe and Deb Kirk had the online store earthessenceshop.com before they opened their Ann Arbor storefront and will continue to do business on it. They didn’t return a call.