Watercolourist Kelly Ventura shares a look at her Milford design studio

Ohen artist Kelly Ventura had outgrown her painting space in her Milford home about four years ago, so she began looking for a new studio. After about a year, Ventura – a busy mother of three aged 12, 10 and 6 – passed an old building on the main street in Milford and looked up to see a skylight. Ventura did some research to find out who owned the building, discovered it had been vacant for about six years, made an offer in late 2017 to rent and renovate the space, and was painting in his new studio at first. of 2019.

“The building dates back to 1872,” Ventura says of the 1,400 square foot space. “The third floor, where we are, was called St. John’s Hall, and musicians, poets, theater companies and many others provided local entertainment. … When we first got it, there was a toilet in the middle of the floor. There were no walls. It was a mess.”

Today, from the beautifully renovated space, Ventura and her sister, Jen Walker, run Ventura’s art and design business, Kelly Ventura Design. It offers the Ventura brand range of wallpaper and fabric designs for retail licensing, as well as fine art prints and original artwork, all of which feature colorful and splashed watercolor designs in muted colors and organic shapes.

In addition to selling their own line of wallpapers and home textiles, the two collaborate with retailers on a range of products, from bedding and stationery to tableware and small gifts. Current business partners include Anthropologie, Blue Sky, Crate & Barrel, and Target.

“Creating patterns is a great way to express myself,” says Ventura, who has a BFA from the University of Michigan and two impressive internships in New York City for a custom wallpaper designer and a wallpaper company. carpet design to his credit. “I’m an introvert, on the quiet, shy side, so through color and texture, it’s a way for me to be stronger, to express myself, and to share it with everyone.”

Some of his works recall the landscapes of the Great Lakes State. “I think I’m inspired by traveling to northern Michigan, and maybe that’s where I find my blues,” she says.

Here, Ventura shows us where all the magic happens.

A Closer Look at Kelly Ventura’s Milford Studio

Tactile textiles

One wall presents around sixty models of textile samples with floral and abstract motifs. “Our fabric line is something we just launched less than a year ago,” she shares. “Some of the designs are woven for upholstery and drapery. Some are reversible.

Shiny and light

Natural light and 15-foot-tall ceilings were the building’s biggest draws, Ventura says. “Same on Michigan’s darkest days, it’s beautiful and bright here. Hanging are 12 pendant lights she purchased at West Elm.

stay a while

When you enter the studio, you are greeted with a rack of beautiful linen and cotton-linen blend pillows for sale, ranging in size from lumbar to square. It’s the backdrop for a cute seating area that includes two chairs (“$25 for two on Facebook Marketplace!”) reupholstered in Ventura’s own “Valley in Hazel” linen fabric.

green stage

Ventura has a green thumb, and it’s not because of his paintings. “My studio factories are like extra kids to me,” she says. Discovered on Facebook Marketplace and at estate sales, Ventura’s plants include a 60-year-old fiddle-leaf fig tree that is 15 feet tall and a rubber tree that is about 14 feet tall. “It’s nice to have a bit of the outdoors inside.”

beauty and the brick

“When we demolished the old plaster walls, we discovered that the entire space was brick, but felt we needed white walls as well (painted in Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly lace). We have retained two original brick walls, which adds nice warmth and character in the studio.

Stunned by the beauty

“Pine floors are, tomy knowledge, original to the building, and we recovered it,” explains Ventura. “We stripped the old finish, repaired the domains, and retained them. There are old chips and bumps, but it adds such character to the space.


This story is from the May 2022 issue of Hour Detroit. Click here to see more Detroit Metro interiors.

Joseph E. Golightly