conley6.gif (2529 bytes)


Milwaukee represents


October 2012


You 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 Midwest.


Brothers Vincent 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.

Misewell gained 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 "We’re busy at our Milwaukee studio designing some new pieces," Paul Georgeson says.

GRAFF Faucets

Established in 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."

Unlike other 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 our market."

As an 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,

Dermond Peterson Design

Dermond Peterson 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, You may have seen their work at the 2012 Breast Cancer Showhouse, where Dermond Peterson provided pillows for the billiards room.

"Our 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."



This story ran in the October 2012 issue of: