Do-it-yourself home decorators will discover finished and refinished handiwork, along with supplies and instruction, at A Curated Home in the Dexter Commerce Building.

Owner Trish Cooper offers several lines of DIY products, the guidance to use them, and an assortment of furniture and other decorative pieces created by her and a handful of consigning artists.

Trish Cooper sells her own upcycled furniture, and shows customers how to do it themselves with their own pieces. | Photo: J. Adrian Wylie

“It’s a place where you can come and get products to do or even take a class and learn how to give something in your house” a new look so that something you’re ready to get rid of instead “becomes a favorite piece in your house,” she enthuses. “And it’s an expression of your personality and your style.”

Various artistic paints, transfers, stamps, and stencils are displayed alongside finished examples of their skilled application for sale. Styles range from modern to traditional to the repurposed salvage of sturdy vintage furniture and other decor.

“So the furniture, people will come in and they’re like, ‘Wow, how did you do that?’” Cooper explains. “I can take them over to the shelf and show them these are the products that I use.”

She’ll have room in the basement for storage and perhaps a small workshop, but she expects to be out front offering ideas, techniques, and ongoing support to aspiring and developing DIY decorators.

For most of the last decade, she’s been creating, giving classes, and selling out of her Howell home base, where she lives with her husband Bob, who may help out at the store on occasion. Her painted furniture had been in stores near there and in Brighton and Chelsea, where she sold at Heritage Home Accents & Décor on North Territorial Rd.

“When that store closed and I was looking for a new area, I came out to Dexter and fell in love with the town. And I thought if I was going to be able to do it, this is where I would want to be.”

A Curated Home, 8007 Main St. (734) 679–3226. Thurs. 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Closed Sun.–Wed. and evenings unless “the light’s on.”

Opening a retail shop next to the post office has advantages both coming and going, the owner of Tiani Body Care is discovering.

Violet Tiani Raterman, who created a line of natural body care products five years ago, seems to have grown comfortably into her Baker Rd. space, just south of Ann Arbor St., since opening last November.

“We love it here,” she said, referring both to her brightly renovated storefront—her first—and the reception and traffic they’ve enjoyed beginning with that first holiday rush.

A former biochemist who grew up on the Whitney Farmstead, a longstanding family farm northeast of town, Raterman is married to an artisanal baker, Nick, and is mom to their toddler Daisy. She crafted something of a cottage industry with her soaps, lotions, salves, lip balms, and other “usable household products,” as she describes them. “Everything’s like, sensitive-skin friendly, kid-friendly, family-friendly.”

In addition to the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, Tiani’s wares have been available at area stores that emphasize natural and/or locally made goods, including Arbor Farms, Argus Farm Stop, BYOC Co., Vestergaard Farms, Agricole Farm Stop in Chelsea, and Thrive! Wellness Center and McPherson Local in Saline.

That need to keep its retail partners stocked—and online orders fulfilled—makes Raterman’s location all the more convenient. “We can just walk everything next door,” she smiles.

Tiani’s website has long offered pre-made gift boxes catering to various occasions and themes, but now customers can more fully personalize their creations in person with soap stamps and other customization.

“They have a lot of fun,” Raterman says. “We have people making all different sizes, they come in and just grab a box, fill it up with whatever they want. And we have all different colored ribbons and a lady makes us all types of gift tags for holidays or different occasions.”

It’s an expanded line of business that allows gift-givers to lend their own creative hands. Many a Dexter schoolteacher has been the intended recipient, Raterman observes. “They make good usable gifts because even people that are kind of particular kind of like our products.”

Tiani’s, which also offers related Michigan-made home products, as well as custom labels for showers and other events, employs two full-timers and a few others as needed to meet demand and keep staffing the Farmers Market.

Its name comes from Raterman’s middle name, which is her maternal family name of Italian origin. “My grandpa will be 102 this November actually. So he’s still been around to see his name on the building, and he loves that stuff,” she says, “They’re the side of my family that taught me a lot about living a healthy lifestyle, and kind of the creative side of our family.”

Tiani Body Care, 3170 Baker Rd. (734) 717–9410. Tues.–Sat. 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Closed Sun. & Mon.

Ohio-based Carnegie Companies announced the purchase of Dexter Crossing shopping center in April, and the city’s community development manager, Michelle Aniol, is encouraged. 

“This is a whole different ball game,” she says, adding that Carnegie appears eager to improve the 66,000-square-foot property and recruit more shops and service businesses there.

Terms were undisclosed. Oxford Companies, headquartered in Ann Arbor, had owned Dexter Crossing since acquiring it from the original developer in 2012. The strip mall’s retail tenants include Chela’s Restaurant and Taqueria, Food Zone Chinese Restaurant, Jensen’s Community Pharmacy, and Naughty Boy’s Ice Cream.  

The separately owned adjacent parcel of Noble Appliance, the former Country Market, is not part of this deal. After a prolonged closure for renovations, it was scheduled to reopen as the Community Guide went to press.

Noble Appliance, 7001 Dexter Ann Arbor Rd. (734) 593–1099. Tues.–Sat. 10 a.m.–6:30 p.m. Closed Sun. & Mon.