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 Holly Rutt.
What is your current profession and how long have you been doing this? I am the Founder & Creative Director of The Little Flower Soap Co. since 2010.
Your family members: I'm married to Justin Rutt, a Family Medical D.O. who works for Henry Ford Allegiance Hospital in Jackson, MI.
People think of me as: I'm not sure what people think about me and prefer not to meditate on it. I'm trying to discover who I am when not influenced by what people think. I suspect that feeling constantly seen and evaluated could stunt your creativity.
Where did you live prior to this? Justin and I moved to Chelsea in May 2016. We both grew up on the East Side of Detroit and met when we were both living in Ypsilanti in 2007.
What do you love about where you currently live? We love living on 2 acres outside of Chelsea because it’s the best of both worlds. We feel surrounded by nature with lots of room to grow food and flowers but also 3 minutes from a good latte, theatre, Farmers Market, library etc. It’s the perfect mix of culture and escape.
If you could have a second home anywhere, where would it be? Glen Arbor on Lake Michigan. We love camping there at DH-Day state park and daydream about having a cottage on the lake someday.
What three words describe your style? Earthy, Elegant, Eclectic.
What most influenced your design styles? My Nana on my Mother's side was a textile artist living in a swanky apartment in downtown Toronto. She had such an eye for color! She would tell me all about how well silk took dye giving them the name, "over-dyed" , and taught me about slubs and Dupioni and herringbone and cashmere and velvet. She could describe textiles in a way that made your mouth water. Later in college I would shop at the Salvation Army and pride myself on spotting the silk or cashmere from 10 yards back. Her design style was very European and had a wholesome simplicity to it that I like to think I picked up by osmosis.
What are you most inspired by in your design and decor? Nature.
As you think about the home in which you grew up, what elements did you like and do you think you have incorporated some of them in your own home?
The garden was my favorite part of our home growing up. Our house was on the garden tour and my Mom and Dad spent the better part of every warm weather weekend working in the garden while I read a book nearby. We went on every garden tour in a 20-mile radius and I picked up the flower names by accident as we went along. I remember my mom purchased an antique bird cage that was a giant brass hoop with brass cage hanging inside and put a cascading plant in the cage. I like the juxtaposition of hard and soft, old and new. These days EVERYONE has house plants but in the 80s we were the only ones on the block with plants in every window. My house is a Jumanji situation now.
Have you ever built a new home or remodeled an existing one? I did re-design the bathroom in our house and renovated the barn into a soap making studio. Most recently we've added a second barn next to the first!
What is the biggest interior design issue you struggle with? Editing! I need a warehouse to store half the design elements I’ve accumulated so they aren't fighting for attention. Sometimes I tell myself that I’m creating a texture with all these items layered on top of one another but other times I think I'm surrounded by conversation pieces trying to talk over each other.
Have you ever sought professional help with the interior design of your home ? Most helpful is finding a contractor willing to execute on my ambitious ideas. Finding a woodworker who enjoys a challenge and likes doing the math, solving the puzzle and spending the time to get the unique end results. I love everything to look built in so that it has character but becomes part of the house rather than looking temporary or like an afterthought. I'm lucky to know some really masterful woodworkers.
If you were moving and could only select one item from your home to keep, what would it be and why? The quilt my Nana gave us as a wedding gift. It's not a bed quilt it’s more like a painting. It hangs on the wall in our upstairs hallway ... it’s a close up of a flower and reminds me of a Georgia O'Keeffe painting.
No room is complete without: Plants.
Which room in your home gets the most use? Please give any explanation as well: There is a pop out wood burning stove in our family room on the back of the house. It was lit when we toured the house and it's what sold us on the place. We burn through 6 face cords of wood each winter and since our bedroom is above we rarely use the furnace. This room is #cozy.
Name an item you purchased for your home that you regret buying: I was a wedding florist and I have all kinds of props for wedding ceremony decor including 2 modern cement pillars that are SO HEAVY. I decided I didn't want to schlep them back and forth to weddings anymore so I put them on either side of the driveway and... I hate them. I know I'd prefer something living like lovely planters in that place but one side is full sun and the other full shade. This plagues me.
If you are a pet owner, how has that influenced your choices in design, if it has?
We've never had pets. Once a month someone says "We should get a dog" and the other person says "Yes I think it's time" and then..... we never do.
By nature I am a: minimalist.
Has any local venue particularly caught your eye - if so why? I'm so glad the building that is now Agricole, was restored. For whatever reason I smile driving past it. I also really love the brick wall that has a fading antique billboard for SOAP painted on and waring off, inside the Common Grill. It seems to me the terra cotta color of bricks is the earthiest building material. I like the way brick buildings blend with their surroundings instead of sticking out like sore thumbs.
What are you currently doing to pass the time during the COVID-19 State shutdown? I spent the first 5 weeks running my business single handed which was exhausting and the last 2 we've been closed so I've been spring cleaning and gardening. We are adding more and more cut flowers to the farm.
If you were given $1,000 to buy a new piece of art, what would it be?
A stunning traditional oil painting.
A few of your favorite things!
Movie – Dead Poet Society.
Historical Place You Have Visited- The Cathedral Church of Saint Paul, Detroit.
Scent- Lavender & Bergamot.
Musician/Music: I'm a huge folk music fan. I love old folk music from Pete Seeger and new folk music from I'm With Her, and especially local folk music such as the, “On the Tracks” series of concerts in the Chelsea Train Depot.
Meal- My inner child prefers grilled cheese and tomato soup and the grown up me loves Thai Food.
TV show- West Wing.
Travel Destination – Southern Spain.
Things to Collect- Vintage terry towels, vintage Catherine holm bowls, vintage pinnacle card decks.
Museum- The Louvre.
Season – Spring.
Favorite hobbies- Camping and gardening.
Favorite Tree or Plant -Trillium.
Favorite item on a bookshelf - A good book.
Kitty’s note: I have always loved the barn(s) and property that Holly is so fortunate to own. It is a slice of Heaven – so lovely and bright. I know that Holly is one hardworking and determined woman, having been featured on an Amazon commercial, Channel 7 News, Detroit Free Press, Fox 2 Detroit and more. Visit her website, littleflowersoap.com to see all the great products they make and sell. Look for the candle appropriately named, Toilet Paper , Great- American Crisis Survivor 2020- a classic for this time period for sure!