don’t need to travel to New York City to find furniture and
accessories designed by leading-edge firms. Milwaukee is home to some
highly regarded design firms with reputations that go far beyond the
and Paul Georgeson founded Misewell in 2008 based on their shared
interest in industrial design and building furniture. Misewell (short
for "might as well") builds and sells furniture that focuses
on functionality but doesn’t sacrifice design. "Our style is
contemporary, but hints back to midcentury. We try to create furniture
that has a timeless style," Paul Georgeson says. Their pieces
include tables, chairs and lamps.
The brothers say
their company began as a conversation. "We are from Racine and we
went to UW-Stout, so there were some long drives home. We talked a lot
about the future and what we wanted to do." That, along with a
love of furniture-making inherited from their father, became Misewell
with a studio in Milwaukee’s Fifth Ward.
an international reputation almost by accident. "In 2009, a year
after we started the company, we decided to go to the International
Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York. We took along seven or eight
of our pieces and won an award for Best New Designer," Paul
Georgeson says. That show earned Misewell some admirers from around
the country and the world.
All of Misewell’s
furniture is manufactured locally using local and environmentally
conscious materials. "We work on a small scale with some really
talented craftsmen here in Wisconsin and in Minnesota. We’re trying
to focus on staying true to our values and making the best furniture
we can," Vincent Georgeson says.
Right now the
brothers are still working day jobs as industrial designers, but they
are getting closer to focusing on Misewell full time. They don’t
have a showroom, but their products can be viewed at www.Misewell.com.
"We’re busy at our Milwaukee studio designing some new
pieces," Paul Georgeson says.
1922, and headquartered in Milwaukee, GRAFF Faucets is hardly the new
kid on the block, but you won’t find their products in big box
stores. GRAFF has built an international reputation as a leading
manufacturer of high-end faucets and shower products for the kitchen
and bath industry. Their products have been described as
"discreet yet alluring cutting-edge luxury for the most intimate
rooms of your home, filling the most familiar moments … of daily
life with aesthetic vibrancy."
manufacturers, GRAFF is involved in every aspect of producing its
products. "Some companies are just distributors, but we create
the product and take it from conception through manufacturing. We
control what we sell," says T.J. Mullally, director of sales.
"That is what makes us one of the leaders in style and design in
organization, we work hard to stay on top of environmental issues and
values, Mullally says. "We’re always looking ahead to make sure
that we are aware of all of the latest regulations," he says.
"We’re very green conscious." GRAFF also does chrome
plating work for local industry.
Known for its
sophisticated cutting-edge designs, GRAFF recently released its latest
line of fixtures named Ametis. "This is one of the most beautiful
designs we’ve ever done," Mullally says. "It really is the
future of contemporary faucet design." GRAFF products can be
found in kitchen and bath design studios and on its website, www.graff-faucets.com
Design specializes in hand-block printed home accessories like
pillows, table runners, bags, kitchen towels and prints. Sisters
Sandra Dermond and Susan Peterson started the company in 2001, working
out of Dermond’s basement, but it didn’t take long before they
needed studio space to keep up with demand. "Susan does all of
the design work from conception to cutting blocks. Everything is made
in our studio in Milwaukee’s Fifth Ward," Dermond says.
The prints are
vibrant — red sea horses, a green octopus and blue starfish, just to
name a few of the colorful and vivid designs. All of the products are
block printed on high-quality cotton or linen fabric using
environmentally sensitive, water-based inks. And, everything is
washable and color-fast, to boot.
The products are
regularly featured in the pages of magazines like House Beautiful,
Decorating, Country Home and O, reaching consumers from around the
country. At first, the sisters’ products were only sold wholesale to
stores such as Crate and Barrel, but there is now a retail shop on the
company website, www.dermondpeterson.com.
You may have seen their work at the 2012 Breast Cancer Showhouse,
where Dermond Peterson provided pillows for the billiards room.
product line changes," Dermond says. "We have some new
designs for fall, including a dragonfly that will be available in
pillows, table runners and a print on paper. We’re always looking
for new things that will be beautiful and useful."