See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Ferndale lifestyle boutique can be anything it chooses 

click to enlarge Tanda Kasprzycki inside her Ferndale boutique.

Tony Lowe

Tanda Kasprzycki inside her Ferndale boutique.

Tanda Kasprzycki has long had retail dreams, but the General Motors advertising research analyst has been a little busy. But after years of fantasizing, and in the midst of keeping up with her full-time gig, Kasprzycki managed to make her storefront aspirations a reality.

Last month Kasprzycki and her girlfriend, Lauren Nocera, finally went into business. They opened up a small lifestyle boutique in Ferndale called Freespace Decor.

"We found this spot by chance," Kasprzycki says. The space is subleased from Smooth Vapes, but fits the needs of the budding operation.

"I felt like it was really important to start small. Eventually I would like to bring in larger pieces, but for right now we're working with the space we have. It was ideal to be in Ferndale," she says.

Despite having "decor" in the name, Freespace isn't exactly an interior design showroom. There are a few pieces of furniture, along with some well-made throws, pillows, and knickknacks, but we're not talking Magnolia Market here.

And that's a good thing. The space is cozy and uncrowded, yet filled with pleasant surprises. One table has pieces from a local jewelry line made with foraged porcupine quills. Another has bar cart and kitchen accessories — items like small flasks and ceramic salt and pepper shakers shaped like cacti. Cabinets hold a variety of candles with seasonally appropriate scents — a requisite for any locally owned boutique.

The eclectic selection of wares also includes hanging brass plant holders, mirrors with geometric metal frames, and exotic stools fashioned with rustic materials and leather cushions. She also stocks decidedly unfussy handbags, kitschy pins, and other small items.

Price points in the store are modest. Necklaces and earrings went for around $40, some cheaper. Kasprzycki says she'll be adding some bar carts and other larger pieces to her stock soon and those price tags will skew a little larger. However, she wants to keep things affordable.

"I'm still experimenting with price points. I try to ask myself what I would feel comfortable spending on something — I do that little gut check," Kasprzycki says. "I don't want people to feel like they can't afford anything in the store."

Kasprzycki designed the space herself and says she wanted to create a welcoming environment that makes people feel comfortable and at home. Dark gray walls and mahogany tables and shelving emit the kind of h0mey feeling that brightly lit, all-white spaces just can't achieve. She makes sure her staff — Kasprzycki still works full-time at GM — are just as gracious as she would be, and during a recent visit we found a staffer to be knowledgeable and attentive without being pushy. That's a difficult tightrope act.

The only drawback to the shop's design is that it's front door is located in the back. Shoppers can enter through Smooth Vapes on Nine Mile and walk all the way through to Freespace or enter through the door in the rear parking lot.

Like most downtowns, Ferndale has seen local shops come and go. In 2014, a little store called Naka closed its doors and Nine Mile's been missing something ever since. As Freespace manages to bring together impulse-buy-worthy items as well as more thoughtful purchases, they stand a chance of filling that void.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 28, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit