All In The Family (Room)

Colorworks Studio

Who: Barbi Krass, design director and principal owner of Colorworks Studio, launched her business more than 30 years ago. Krass, who earned her degree from Boston University, has been honored by numerous publications and has taken home a first-place Detroit Home Design Award for custom furniture. Her work on a downtown Detroit loft was featured on HGTV.

Info: Michigan Design Center, Suite 102-A, Troy, 248-647-4000,

Family Room Goal: The aim for this gathering space? An open, yet inviting, feel. “The windows were added above the doorwall and the wall of the stairway was removed to keep the room flooded with light,” designer Barbi Krass says about this room in a Bloomfield Hills home. “The scale of the furniture was an important consideration, as the room is large and open, but it still needed to be conversational to the fireplace.” She chose a neutral palette to focus on art and glass collections. She also took the high ceilings and wood flooring into consideration. “The acoustics were important; I used an area rug, upholstered seating, and window treatments to help with sound distribution.”  As for the sofa, “Our client loved the comfort and the sleek footprint, and its classic style that’s updated with the walnut bases,” Krass says.

Stay Awhile: Thayer Coggin Tyler sofas (those in room photo feature custom fabric from Architex in Dressmaker Pebble), $6,735/ea., Colorworks Studio, Michigan Design Center, Suite 102-A, Troy.


Best Foot Forward: Davis and Davis wool and silk rug, in Tundra and Timeless Gray, $4,895, Colorworks Studio, Michigan Design Center, Suite 102-A, Troy. “Using a custom-size rug in custom colors adds texture and interest to the spacious room setting,” Krass says.


Table Talk: Matthews square cocktail table in walnut, Vanguard Furniture, from the Michael Weiss collection, $3,200, Colorworks Studio, Michigan Design Center,  Suite 102-A, Troy. “It’s a perfect table for display, with a sleek shape and a double-level platform.”

Ellwood Interiors

Who: An exciting turn in Amanda Sinistaj’s design career occurred when she  appeared on Food Network’s Food Court Wars, overseeing the remodel of two of the featured kitchens. Sinistaj, principal of Ellwood Interiors, has more than 10 years of design experience. Based in Birmingham, she has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University and is Foundation for Interior Design Education Research (FIDER)-accredited. She has also been highlighted in more than a dozen publications both locally and nationally, and she is the recipient of five Detroit Home Design Awards.

Info:  248-703-7157,

Family Room Goal: The goal for Neal and Paola Doshi’s Birmingham home was to “maintain an open and inviting floor plan, while incorporating a few different conversation zones,” designer Amanda Sinistaj says. The family room, left, is now contemporary, and with its soft, nubby upholstery textures and monochromatic palette of toasty gray tones, it evokes an air of comfort and sophistication.


Family Room Finesse

Amanda Sinistaj’s tips for a great space:

  • Create ample storage areas.
  • Consider enough seating for not only everyday use, but, if needed, for parties and larger family gatherings.
  • Don’t forget lifestyle zones for children’s play time, adult reading (which requires light), and entertainment — all with good traffic flow.

R&R: Dellarobbia Dania sectional (in room photo),$24,300, Designer Group Collection, Michigan Design Center, Troy, Above is the Diana model. Note the low back.


Uplifting: The Eurofase Cromo nine-light chrome and cut-crystal chandelier “adds pizzazz over the room’s nearby nook table, which is used every day,” says designer Amanda Sinistaj. To the trade, Lighting Resource Studio, Michigan Design Center, Troy.


Great Grays: Repose Gray (walls) and Snowbound (ceiling & trim) paints, Sherwin-Williams; and Robert Allen Willamantic slate fabric, $86/yd., for nearby chairs, Michigan Design Center, Troy.