By Kitty Golding
Kitty & Company will be conducting a series of short interviews with Chelsea Residents for 52 weeks, bringing to light differing personalities and design styles in our community. Perhaps you will meet someone new through these weekly interviews or perhaps it will be YOU! Stay tuned and follow us each week – we now introduce you to our first couple interview with Francisca Fernandez and Kevin Riley.
What is your current profession? We are the owners of the New Chelsea Market, located at 1070 S. Main Street, Chelsea, a specialty food and wine store. We bought the store in 2007, so we’ve been running it for 13 years.
Your family members: Alex Riley, a local business leader in Detroit.
People think of us as: Bold , but really we are Shy.
Where did you live prior to this? Prior to moving to Michigan, we have lived all over the place - in Ft. Lauderdale Florida, Mexico City, Mexico, Long Island, New York and Baltimore, Maryland.
What do you love about where you currently live? Our loft has beautiful brick walls, twelve-foot ceilings and a roof from which to watch the local fireworks.
If you could have a second home anywhere, where would it be? St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. The scenery and beautiful waters are alluring. We certainly wouldn’t turn down a flat in Paris either.
What three words describe your style? Eclectic, Flexible, Different.
What most influenced your design styles? Travels to Latin America and the Caribbean.
What are you most inspired by in your design/decor? Urban culture.
When entering your home, how do you want it to feel? Welcoming with the ability to be ready to entertain.
What is one trend in design you do not like? A Monochromatic scheme. We prefer a lot of color and visual stimuli.
Have you ever built a new home or remodeled an existing one? We built a home in Florida post Hurricane Andrew. We know all about what makes a home hurricane proof. Currently we are exploring and renovating a firehouse from 1887. There is a thrill behind every wall!
What is the biggest design issue you struggle with? We’d have to say, getting rid of things. It’s easy to get comfortable with pieces and is then hard to let go of them.
Have you ever sought professional help with the interior design of your home? No, we have always decorated our home piece by piece. Most of the time it works out fine. Sometimes it does not. The 20 by 20 foot living room we had with a 15 foot tall hand washed orange wall worked fine with a leather purple sofa but not so much adding a fire engine red sofa opposite it!?
If you were moving and could only select one item from your home to keep, what would it be and why? Our books. You can always pick up a good book and read them again. It’s like seeing an old friend.
No room is complete without: Lights.
Which room in your home gets the most use? Please give any explanation as well: The living room is the most used because it is comfortable, colorful and organized.
Name an item you purchased for your home that you regret buying:
We bought a sofa bed without measuring, and couldn't get it in the room for which we had planned.
If you are a pet owner, how has that influenced your choices in design, if it has?
Currently we have a staircase with 24 stairs. It has made us think about what size / type of dog would be able to navigate them, if we do get a dog.
By nature we are : Collectors of “things” !
Has any local venue particularly caught your eye - if so why?
We have found several unique pieces when the Detroit Design Center has their display sales. Lots of contemporary pieces offered at reasonable prices. If you find something you have to buy it, because it will be sold when you come back later.
What are you currently doing to pass the time during the COVID-19 State shutdown?
We run the New Chelsea Market 7 days a week. Between making deliveries, assembling curbside pick-up orders and keeping our inventory up, we have had very little down time. We try to keep up with the current news, eat well, and get plenty of rest.
A few of your favorite things!
Movie - Any John Waters movie. He has such an odd sense of humor and style.
Historical Place You Have Visited- Antietam National Park and Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Maryland.
Scent- Ground Coffee.
Musician– Diana Ross.
Meal- Dinner with a wonderful wine.
TV show- 1. Parks and Recreation 2. Homeland
Travel Destination - Cuba. Francisca hasn't seen Habana since she left when she was 6.
Things to Collect- Murano glass that I would purchase in Caracas, Venezuela.
Colors- Red or Cobalt Blue.
Museum- The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.
Design Trend/ Style- Contemporary.
Favorite hobbies- Reading.
Favorite Tree or Plant - Dogwoods on the John Hopkins Campus.
Favorite item on a bookshelf - A lump of coal Kevin picked up when he was down in a coal mine on a project.
Kitty’s note: I met Kevin and Francisca when my son raised and sold them chicken eggs. At that time, I also discovered what a gem the New Chelsea Market is. From conversations about how to cook salmon to what type of wine is best paired with a certain dish, it is obvious that they love what they do. Running a small business and renovating a historical building into a home are two full time jobs, making my jaw drop at the energy this entrepreneurial pair possess. I’ve not been in their home, but I imagine it is filled with culture, love and good food!