With a unique color palette and a nod to history, this 1920s sizzler is sure to impress
BACKSTORY: This kitchen, located in a home in Grosse Pointe Park that was originally constructed in 1927, was part of the 2016 Junior League of Detroit Designers’ Show House. What made the home different from most show houses is that a specific family was moving into it, and they paid for all of the renovations.
TOP SECRET: “The beautiful coffered ceiling with its bead board panel inserts isn’t just decorative; it also conceals the many holes that were punched in the ceiling during the renovation,” says the kitchen’s interior designer, Brian Clay Collins of Grosse Pointe-based Brian Clay Collins Designs, LLC. “That was an easier solution than repairing the old plaster, (which) had been damaged.”
MAKING A (BACK) SPLASH: For the glass backsplash, which was crafted by Reid Glass in Southfield, the back side was painted with a brilliant white to simulate the look of milk glass, a material frequently found in the service areas of old homes. “It’s practical, clean, and crisp, and it looks like it could have been original to the home,” Collins says.
SINK IN: The couple decided to retain the ‘German Silver’ sink, where it had always been located, in the butler’s pantry. In the kitchen work area, a new stainless steel double bowl sink has been added for daily use.
TALK ABOUT COOL: A Kelvinator refrigerator, complete with stained oak doors and original to the home, was refinished and updated.
HOMEOWNERS’ VERDICT: “We wanted to retain as many original features as possible. While the kitchen, butler’s pantry, and breakfast rooms are updated to … contemporary standards, they successfully appear very much as they (would) have (looked) when the house was new in 1927.”
—By Judith Harris Solomon
This Ann Arbor kitchen is well done, thanks to just one structural change and several new design elements
BACKSTORY: When Ann Arbor interior designer Laura Zender, of Laura Zender Design, first saw the home she now lives in with her husband and two children, she knew she had to have it. “The fireplace in the kitchen grabbed me,” Zender recalls. “We were in a bidding war and I just couldn’t let the house go — it was the fireplace that got me.” Zender, who has a 14-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son, has been renovating the home since the purchase. “We’re almost done — we’ve got the master and some exterior work, and then we’re done!” Her priority was to preserve the charm of the original 1955 Mid-Century colonial floor plan. “I’m a bit of a preservationist at heart, so when working with an older home, I try to maintain the integrity but bring in what’s needed.” In the kitchen’s case, light and more storage space were must-haves.
ALL ABLAZE: “I just love the fireplace in the kitchen. We have it on every morning in the winter when we eat breakfast,” Zender says. She had the fireplace transformed into a gas unit — not only to make things easier, but also to cut down on coal emissions from burning wood.
UNIFYING COLORS: Zender selected a putty color — Benjamin Moore’s Seapearl — for the kitchen. In the dining room, the cabinets are a sage tone with a chocolate glaze, inspired by the sage-slate flooring in a three-season space. “With a renovation, colors should reappear from room to room so it feels a little cohesive.”
LET THERE BE LIGHT: Zender says many designers would probably blow out an entire wall, but she wanted to maintain the integrity of the original design. Between the dining room and kitchen, she created a pass-through (3-by-5-feet), which allowed for additional light and a full wall of storage on both the kitchen and dining room sides. The pass-through also created a direct sight line all the way through the home to a beautiful window in the living room.
UNDER FOOT: “We chose cement tiles (Cement Tile Shop) for the kitchen and entryway partly because they’re a ‘green’ product (the tiles cure, instead of being fired in a hot kiln that requires a lot of energy). They’re also really warm and soft underfoot.” laurazenderdesign.com
—By Megan Swoyer
Walls were moved and removed and chic elements were added; now this 1920s kitchen sings style
BACKSTORY: When Patrick and Monique Dugan decided to renovate the kitchen of their Pleasant Ridge home, built in 1921, their challenge was to update the kitchen without having to perform major construction. They ended up pushing back the west wall of the kitchen about 12 feet, while the south wall of the kitchen was removed to open up to the great room. “The story was really about problem-solving,” says their interior designer, Jimmy Angell, of Birmingham-based James Douglas Interiors.
HI-HO, SILVER: The great-looking backsplash utilizes 2-by-8-inch, silver-colored glass tiles that feature a metallic foundation and are from the AlysEdwards “Man About You” collection.
SHELF LIFE: On a wall in the breakfast area (not shown), a narrow stainless steel, free-standing shelf holds several different photographs Monique Dugan took while traveling in Venice, Montreal, Vienna, and Paris.
FINDING YOUR NICHE: “Because the couple wanted and needed (plenty of) storage but not an overabundance of standard, typical cabinetry, we created open shelves within the niche that’s above the Viking range — a space that was originally the backside of the staircase,” Angell says.
RIDGES IN THE GLASS: Crafted by Extraordinary Works — Luxury By EW Kitchens, the room’s floor-to-ceiling black wood cabinets feature doors that have stainless steel frames and ridged glass inserts.
STAYING NEUTRAL: All of the walls were painted with a soft gray Sherwin-Williams color called Penthouse. “It’s just a beautiful neutral,” Angell says.
CHEERS!: A deep and narrow sink, integrated into the counter of the unit that separates the kitchen from the breakfast area, becomes a handy bar for entertaining.
HOMEOWNER’S VERDICT: “I love how simple, crisp, and clean it is, but also that it’s not too modern, because it’s an old house,” Monique Dugan says. jamesdouglasinteriors.com
—By Judith Harris Solomon
Light, White, and Just Right
In this Northville kitchen, the dark days are over and it’s now nothing but bright and cheery
BACKSTORY: Northville’s Jill Wagner wasn’t happy with her dark, disorganized kitchen; choppy floor plan; and useless cabinets. She wanted a pure environment that was organic and sunny. Royal Oak designer Jennifer Taylor of Jennifer Taylor Studio maximized the space, opened a wall, and added a buffet, dinette, appliances (Wolf stove and convection microwave, Sub-Zero refrigerator, Bosch dishwasher), two sinks, Rohl faucets, lavish dentil crown moldings, and classic cabinetry with copious drawers and organizers that utilize every inch of the L-shaped space. Today, this 16-by-25-foot (not including the bay window/kitchen table area) beauty is pure magnificence.
GETTING IT RIGHT: Taylor assessed every pot, pan, and tool her client wanted to put in her kitchen, and customized accordingly. Now Wagner can open storage areas and see everything in its place. More clean lines: She built a 48-inch TV into an upper cabinet, and added arched window valances that look like cohesive pieces of the millwork.
FRENCH DREAMS: Taylor painted the ceiling Wagner’s favorite French blue-gray, a color by Sherwin-Williams called Front Porch, and customized a quatrefoil motif in the moldings over the stove. Northville artist George Jewell created the same pattern in the pantry’s stained-glass door, shown at right, and crafted the other leaded-glass panels for the cabinets and rear-hallway door. The Niermann Weeks chandeliers and sconces are custom-finished French designs, and the sunburst mirror, from F. Schumacher & Co. (not shown), brings in extra light from the nearby window. “There’s a feeling of peace, like church,” Wagner says.
SITTING IN: The shape of the kitchen precluded adding seating, so Taylor designed an adjacent counter-height (36-inch) table with plush faux-leather stools (not shown).
HAPPY RESULT: “It is without exception the most beautiful combination of creamy-white textures,” says designer Taylor. “I love the play of light and shadows across the moldings and the twinkle of the marble mosaic against the countertop. Anytime you do anything white, you need that contrast.” jennifertaylorstudio.com
—By Patty LaNoue Stearns
They wanted a kitchen renovation without taking on a major gut job. This space now hums with a fresh and updated style
BACKSTORY: The Shelby Township house that Sharon and Mike Castellana built in 1990 needed an update. Unsure how much longer they would be in their house, they wanted to spruce it up for resale. Since their daughter was getting married and company would soon be coming, this was the time to freshen up the house — especially the kitchen, where Sharon cooks big Italian sit-down meals six nights a week. Enter Birmingham designer Sharon Kory, of Sharon Kory Interiors. Homeowner and builder Mike’s crew pitched in, too.
IN PROGRESS: Mike’s crew removed the white ceramic tiles throughout the main floor. “We selected an oversize taupe porcelain, to infuse more warmth,” Kory says. She also added a wooden island with lots of drawers and a glossy Macaubas quartzite top that wraps down the side, countertops of the same material, and high-end appliances — without altering the original floor plan. A soft gray/taupe (Sherwin-Williams, Agreeable Gray) was painted over the formerly white walls.
THE REVEAL: The Castellanas were able to save their white cabinets, Kory explains. The radiused ends on the uppers were replaced with square ends that builder Mike made, and the gray reveals were painted white. Above the cooktop, glass subway tiles were laid in a chevron pattern up to the ceiling, and a stylish vent hood by AKDY, shown below, replaced a high upper cabinet Sharon rarely used. “It’s like a work of art,” she enthuses. The rest of the backsplash, laid out brick-style, adds texture. Sharon adores her expansive Bosch cooktop, and the six burners that accommodate her Italian cooking style. She loves her super-quiet Bosch dishwasher; her metallic-gray, German-made Blanco sink, which blends with the countertop and stays spot-free; and her Dacor convection oven.
HOMEOWNERS’ VERDICT: “Everything is so nice in here, we’re staying at least three to five more years,” Sharon says. “After that, we’ll see how we feel.” sharonkoryinteriors.com
—By Patty LaNoue Stearns