Bulletin Board: House Calls

A grand tour, stylish senior living & dream baths



SHAPING UP A SHOW HOUSE The Fisher Mansion is this year’s Designers’ Show House for the Junior League of Detroit fundraiser.
Photo By Jeff Garland

History Repeats Itself

Junior League Show House’s owner and estate manager have a passion for preservation | Photos by Jeff Garland

THERE’S NOTHING LIKE expecting the arrival of a slew of guests to motivate you to get your house in gear. That’s exactly what’s happening in anticipation of the Junior League of Detroit fundraiser, the 2018 Designers’ Show House, to be held in Detroit for the first time at the historic Fisher Mansion Sept. 15-Oct. 7. Built in 1922 by architect George D. Mason, the Charles T. Fisher Mansion, 670 W. Boston Blvd. — originally constructed for the automotive pioneer and his wife, Sarah — is said to be the largest residence in the historic Boston-Edison district. At just under 18,000 square feet, the English Tudor-style estate boasts 13 bedrooms and 17 bathrooms, a pub, a private chapel, and more. (See its exterior and a light fixture detail here.) Some of the area’s top interior designers, historic preservation experts, and landscapers were invited to transform the home.“The home is a jewel of the city,” says estate manager Tristan Putnam, who has been working with the new homeowner, award-winning actor and author Hill Harper, for about a year. “A lot of effort (has been) put into getting the home open as a show house, and to (enable it to) function and be around for another hundred years,” Putnam says. He oversees the estate and handles some of the projects, like the solarium fountain restoration. The estate manager also recruits skilled craftsmen and artisans. “I’m very frugal and handy with a toolbox,” he says. Harper, meanwhile, is the perfect caretaker for the regal residence. “It takes a special kind of person to take this on. He’s a lover of history and preservation,” Putnam says. “We’ve gotten quite a bit accomplished that will blow people away.”

One example is the breakfast dining room, which was originally done in a Chinese theme in the 1920s and features more than 50 medallions with intricate, hand-painted artwork. In the ’30s, they were redone with different motifs, and in the ’40s they were covered with paint.

Some medallions are being restored to their original glory, and each one takes about 25 hours to complete. “This project is a little more complicated because it’s all hidden with layers of paint,” says Jennifer Lis, owner of Livonia-based Lis Art Conservation. She’s also restoring the plaster reliefs in the formal dining room that feature genuine gold leaf underneath the gold paint applied by previous owners. Additional efforts include 8-foot-tall French doors that were sent to a restoration shop to bring back the bronze flowerets. “We try to use anyone local whenever possible,” Putnam says. “It’s definitely a labor of love, and we want to use as much of Detroit as we can to return (the home) to its grandeur.” — Jeanine Matlow

Tickets sold at the door are $40. Information: jldetroit.org or jldshowhouse.org.

Home for Life

Ann Arbor estate is helping to heal the planet

Former math teacher and graphic designer Marti Burbeck and her husband, software industry executive Tom Burbeck, were just looking to build a little cottage on the property they had purchased in Ann Arbor. But their architect, Michael Klement, AIA, of Architectural Resource in Ann Arbor, introduced them to the idea of a permanent residence that was much greener and way cooler: a 3,400-square-foot home patterned after a 200-year-old Tuscan farmhouse, with a 2,400-square-foot barn and workshop, all built using sustainable materials and solar geothermal heating/cooling.

For the residence, now called Burh Becc at Beacon Springs, Klement organized a 20-person design/build team that included Bob Burnside of Fireside Home Construction in Dexter and Amanda Webb Nichols of Catalyst Partners, Grand Rapids. The end result is an estate that will be standing two centuries from now. It was recently honored by the International Living Future Institute as only the second residence in the world to achieve full Living Certified designation. The Burbecks are readying their 12.5 acres of depleted farmland for permaculture farming, creating swales and berms to retain and manage water, and adding plants, trees, bees, and a wide variety of crops, which will be shared with the community and the animals that inhabit the land. We caught up with the Burbecks to learn more about sustainable living.

Q: Why did you decide to build this way?
A: (Tom) We were working with the architect and the opportunity presented itself to do some good for the environment in our little corner of the world. Instead of just doing less harm to the environment, we’re actually making it better.

Q: What’s the insulation and cooling situation?
A: (Marti) It’s really, really tight. Good insulation, no holes, good exchange of air. (Tom) That exchange is done with a simple box. A third of the house is southern exposure. One-third of the south wall is solar-energy-harvesting, heat-storing, concrete Trombe walls materials; two-thirds of the south wall is windowed, providing direct-gain, passive solar energy. It’s designed with a 40-foot-tall cooling tower, where hot air rises through natural thermal buoyancy, and the venture effect creates a tremendous draft — there are no moving parts, and it’s extremely quiet. We haven’t had to air-condition yet.

Burh Becc (old English, meaning “dwelling by a creek”) at Beacon Springs has a large meeting room for up to 40 people. Tours are available. beaconsprings.orgPatty LaNoue Stearns

Plumbing Paradise

Advance Plumbing serves area builders and designers from new Detroit showroom | Photos by Nick Hagen


After 96 years on Grand River in Detroit (and with a full-service site in Walled Lake that opened in 1990), Advance Plumbing and Heating Supply Co. moved its Detroit location in 2016 to a new, Midtown location at 150 Parsons St. Recently, this new location opened the city’s first and only decorative plumbing showroom. Josh Moss, vice president of the fourth-generation business, is excited about the location, which has an expanded contractor counter (pipes, valves, fittings), added warehouse space, and the showroom, among other elements.

“Advance Plumbing made it through the Depression, the mass exodus, and building the Lodge expressway, which divided the city. We survived it all. Now we’ve opened (a location) where (it’s easy for) contractors, designers, and builders to get here from anyplace east of Telegraph.” Customers can expect to make their design and remodeling dreams a reality, Moss says. “They can see, feel, and touch the amazing plumbing fixtures — all of which we’ve vetted — and experience the latest plumbing technology.” There are 50 working shower heads, kitchen and bathroom faucets, toilets, and steam systems. Everything can be used and experienced. In 1990, at the age of 28, Moss’ father opened his showroom in Walled Lake. “Now I’m 28, and history is repeating itself as me and my brother, Justin Moss, who’s 26, open the Parsons Street location. (We intend to) have a long-running showroom to serve the community.”

Information: advanceplumbing.comHoney Murray

Senior Adviser

Interior designer creates a cheery environment for the aging population | Photos by Jeff Garland

If there’s anyone who knows about designing accessible living spaces for those with specific needs, such as the aging population, it’s Mary Meier Dakin, IIDA. Dakin, who runs Birmingham, Harbor Springs, and Naples, Fla.-based Dakin Design Inc., recently completed work on the new Lakeshore Senior Living in St. Clair Shores. Developed by Birmingham-based Cypress Partners, the luxury residence includes independent living options (one- and two-bedroom apartments) and a memory care area. Featuring a pub, arts and crafts room, and theater among its amenities, the three-story facility awash in jaunty blues and crisp whites is as refreshing as pretty Lake St. Clair just outside. Here, Dakin shares inspirations, challenges, and more.

Q: What inspired the interior design?
My father was living in an assisted living facility in Florida and it was cookie-cutter. Lots of those places want designers to use rust and brown colors. This residence overlooks Lake St. Clair, so why not go with bright, happy colors and focus on the water and where we are?

Q: Were there design challenges?
A: I needed to create an upscale beach resort-style interior while still adhering to ADA codes and providing a comfortable setting.

Q: What are some of the highlights?
A: The carpet in some areas has a wave motif, and there are lots of pretty blues in the library and parlor. The pub has a fireplace and features a custom-made bar. The kitchens are light and airy, with white cabinetry and granite in lighter shades. We designed all the custom millwork, including fireplaces, cabinetry, and trimwork.
Information: lakeshoreseniorlivingscs.com, dakindesigninc.comMegan Swoyer

Love Where You Live

Find furnishings, gifts, and more to fit your lifestyle in the heart
of downtown Holly | Photos by Hayden Stinebaugh

Shoppers are enjoying a new gem nestled in historic downtown Holly. Artichoke Interiors, 107 S. Saginaw St., a retail boutique and second location for owner and principal designer Dawn Jacobs is receiving a warm welcome from merchants and customers. Shoppers will seemingly step back in time thanks to Jacobs’ renovation, which re-exposed the original ceiling, floor, and brickwork. You’ll find everything from candles and kitchenware to furniture and architectural pieces. Of note are handcarved doors from India, shutters from France, bright-white kitchen cabinetry, and unique art. “We love to blend old elements with new, and we offer contemporary, traditional, modern farmhouse, boho, and urban,” Jacobs says. “Our passion is to learn about our clients and use their own items within unique designs.”

Growing up, Jacobs noticed décor and furniture placement at a young age. After doing design work for General Motors and a retail design firm, and following the birth of her third child, she opened a design studio in Clarkston — which lead to the opening of her Holly boutique.

Custom upholstery includes washable slipcovers and fabrics that are water-repellent, stain-resistant, and easy to clean. Jacobs also obtains products not found in the store. Artichoke Interiors’ designers help clients with staging, touching up a room, furnishing a home, and more. artichokeinteriors.netMarianne Gamboa


Some of the subjects featured in this issue reveal the elements
of their dream bath | By Megan Swoyer


A. Walker Zanger Studio Moderne Ambassador Deco In Moonstone glass crackle, by Michael Berman, price upon request, Virginia Tile, Michigan Design Center, Troy
B. Sansevieria zeylanica plant, Planterra, price upon request, West Bloomfield
C. Gabby Garnet sconce in silver, $328, The Home & Garden Shop, Troy
D. Victoria + Albert Staffordshire 15 showerhead, $2,451, Herald Wholesale, Troy
E. Diana vanity chair, starting at $3,975, Baker Furniture, Michigan Design Center, Troy
F. Victoria + Albert Hampshire tub, $2,490, Herald Wholesale, Troy
G. Nuheat membrane package, starting at $482 per 7.5-10 square feet, nuheat.com


It has a flat floating LED-lighted “Verdera” mirror/medicine chest by Kohler and a floor heating system that can be installed with a timer.


It has an incredible tile accent wall, such as Ann Sacks’ itai tile, an Opalia tub by BainUltra, and a Prescott Circa chandelier by Kate Spade.


Spa-like, it should have light-colored natural stone and, to give contrast and warmth, a natural wood. Also, a soaking tub and a shower for two.


It’s spa-inspired with a steam shower, a large soaking tub in front of a window with a view, a fantastic chandelier, marble tile, lots of plants, and a separate vanity area with a beautiful chair.


It has large-format stone tiles on an entire wall, preferably in a white marble. (There’s also) statement lighting and a claw-foot tub with hardware by Victoria and Albert.


There’s a zero-gravity doorless shower. It offers clean lines, nothing to bump into, and easier maintenance. Also, some cool tile — such as Walker Zanger’s Studio Moderne tile by Michael Berman — for the shower, with accompanying subway tile at the sink.


MIDTOWN MARVELS: At the heart of iconic Brush Park, in midtown Detroit, James Place Lofts, 262 Mack Ave., (jamesplacelofts.com) unites historic living with modern luxury. Eleven new-construction condominiums by Krieger Klatt Architects are slated to open this fall. The two-bedroom condos will feature both garden-level and townhome-style options.

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TIFFANY’S GREENHOUSE COLLECTION: The Tiffany (tiffany.com) store at the Somerset Collection in Troy has a variety of items from the new Tiffany Home & Accessories collection. The pieces, ranging from sterling silver greenhouses, below, to flower pots and glassware etched with floral designs, are delighting shoppers.

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BEYOND THE MOTHER-IN-LAW SUITE: “One of the biggest trends I’m seeing,” says Keller-Williams agent Mary Beckerman (marybteam.com), “is the buying, selling, and building of multigenerational homes.” Many 5,000- or 6,000-square-foot homes on the market have two or three master suites and living, working, and play space for all the family’s members.

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MOOD INDIGO: Macy’s (macys.com) brings the relaxed feel of deep blue denim to dinnerware with Lucky Brand Home’s first tabletop collection, below, an eclectic selection of plates, serving and salad bowls, flatware, pitchers, table linens, and more that mixes elements of pottery, wood, glass, and metals.

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PICTURE THIS: “The gilded look in frames — with traditional or contemporary design — is making a comeback,” says Bradley Gordon, owner of Art + Frame custom frame shop and art gallery (artandframe.co) in Bloomfield Hills. “The biggest trend we’re seeing is monochromatic-themed, in-home gallery walls.”

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CHOICE CHAIR: As Knoll (knoll.com) turns 80 this year, a lot of new introductions are coming our way, including the Newson aluminum chair, shown below, one of Knoll’s reimagined classics. Says designer Marc Newson: “Knoll’s modernist tradition provided the launchpad to imagine a chair for 21st century working and living.”

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EYES WIDE OPEN: With more than 70 percent of burglaries being residential (half of all Americans forget to lock their windows!), Ooma’s (ooma.com) smart security systems offer multilocational protection and remote alerts to trespassers — as well as to smoke, gas, and water threats — and can lead emergency responders straight to your safely surveyed doorstep.

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GARDEN COMES TO LIFE: Two life-size bronze sculptures of Henry and Clara Ford were recently unveiled in Dearborn at Fair Lane, the home of Clara and Henry Ford (henryfordfairlane.org) in the estate’s garden. They were created by the artists of StudioEIS, who captured the essence of the Fords through an intense yearlong process of sculpting and research.

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HOME, VIRTUAL HOME: Customers looking to buy or build in Pulte Homes’ (pulte.com) Nankin Mills location in Livonia can experience the most realistic visualization of the home’s layout — or the floor plan for a specific room — using VR technology and a single gaming controller and headset. The system provides an enhanced and realistic experience of what the rooms will look like, as potential homebuyers virtually “walk” through them. — Honey Murray

Have news that pertains to the design industry that you’d like to share?
Send a note to: MSwoyer@hour-media.com.