Bulletin Board: Passion for Design

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CREATIVE SUITE – The HGTV Urban Oasis home in Ann Arbor features several great spaces, including this master bedroom, whose walls are painted in Olympic paint’s Blue Shamrock.

Urban Outfitter

The exuberant Dawn Zuber, a local architect, was HGTV’s chosen one

IT WAS MORE than a year ago when HGTV purchased a 1930s home in Ann Arbor. Their goal was to find an area architect who could help turn it into a residence appropriate for today’s home market, with a sense of flow between the living and dining rooms and the kitchen. The completed home would be featured on HGTV’s “Urban Oasis” and then awarded, through a drawing, to a lucky winner. (In the December 2016-January 2017 issue of Detroit Home, we interviewed interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn to get his take on colors and more.)

The HGTV team eventually selected architect Dawn Zuber of Plymouth-based Studio Z Architecture. In a nutshell, Zuber crafted a plan whereby the first floor was totally gutted, the kitchen was modernized (formerly, it was a tiny U-shaped space about as wide as a range), and the roof  was removed and replaced, which allowed more room for a shed dormer. “All in all, we maintained its character; we didn’t want it to stick out like a sore thumb,” Zuber says. We caught up with the architect, a Sandusky, Ohio, native, around the same time the winner, a man from Maryland, was announced, to get  a glimpse of the inner workings of the popular network’s home-giveaway programs.

Q: Did you know when interviewing with HGTV that the people you were talking to were actually from HGTV?
A: Someone came to me and told me what their goals were for the home. I wrote up an architectural proposal, just like I normally do. No, they didn’t tell me it was HGTV until they decided to hire me. Then they were like, “Now let us tell you what we’re really doing!”

Q: Were you on-site during the renovation and design period?
I wasn’t obligated to be present, but I chose to be there. It came together quickly, and I was very interested in the network’s process. Everyone was friendly and I actually became friends with some of the network’s team.

Q: What was the biggest challenge for you?
Trying to get everything into a 1,500-square-foot footprint. We had to think of everything, including where a couch and bed would go. None of the spaces are huge, but they all function.

Q: Favorite elements?
The vaulted ceiling and dormer on the front of the house. studiozarch.com
Megan Swoyer

Fetching Essentials

This issue’s subjects tell us about their favorite items for Fido, Flu, or Flicka — plus, we check out some cool animal-themed must-haves

Product: Monogrammed dog pillow cover
Price: $19
West Elm, Birmingham,

Product: Oak and iron pet bowl set/medium
Price: $189
Restoration Hardware stores

Product: Yellow all-purpose bowl
Price: from $60
Mr. Dog

Product: Black marble water bowl
Price: from $450
Mr. Dog

Product: Dog leash holders
Price: $22
Harry Barker,

Product: Dog bowls
Price: Starting at $50
Ware of the Dog,

Product: Bedding
Price: from $200
Mr. Dog

Product: Antoinette pet bed
Price: from $329
Restoration Hardware stores


“My Siamese cats, Mazu and Baizhang, (named after Chinese Zen masters), love to curl up on a childhood quilt that’s on the bottom shelf of a mid-century modern-style armoire (Crate & Barrel) in my bedroom.”

— Dawn Zuber, AIA, Studio Z Architecture, Plymouth

“Our Jack, a Bichon/Yorkie mix, is 17-plus years old, so when we’re away for several hours, we put him in his “gated community” (gates made by Munchkin Baby) with his favorite dog-printed bed, made by Orvis.”

— Jackie Aubuchon, Berkshire Hathaway HWWB, Birmingham

“I own/ride a thoroughbred horse, and my favorite way to incorporate him in my home’s décor is through abstract photos that I take of him to display as equine art.”

— Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger, Artichoke Interiors, Clarkston

“My dog Pudge, a Cavachon, is a fearless, independent, happy, little guy — but he panics when I move furniture around. As long as I keep (his favorite) chair, from Ikea, near a window, rearranging furniture doesn’t bother him.”

— Rebekah Tull, Whiski Kitchen Design Studio, Royal Oak

Jack of Many Trades

Local painter wins an artist’s ‘jackpot’ with his casino installation

KENNETH HERSHENSON has been many things, not the least of which was an architectural designer for both Disneyland and Starbucks. After 25 years out west, Hershenson, right, decided to move back to his native metro Detroit, and gave himself three years to see if he could make it as a contemporary fine artist. A series of acrylic paintings he had created, called I DO Know Jack!, was voted among the top 25 most popular works of art in the 2D category public vote at the 2015 ArtPrize international competition in Grand Rapids. That same year, the paintings took first prize in the MI Great Artist competition. Just as the deadline he had set himself was nearing, the Jack series caught the interest of JACK Entertainment, a casino/hotel/racetrack company owned by Detroit businessman Dan Gilbert, whose press release tagline was “Do You Know JACK?” The company agreed to purchase limited digital rights to all of Hershenson’s existing “jack” paintings and all new “jack” paintings he creates for the next two years. Here, Hershenson put his paintbrush down to share more about his passion for painting:Q: What got you into painting?
I took workshops and a college-level architectural illustration class, and ended up painting representational realism and photorealism because I found it magical to turn a two-dimensional surface into a three-dimensional object.

Q: How did toy jacks inspire your series?
I’m enthralled with the complex geometric design of a jack. These paintings contain realistic and abstract images all in one painting.

Q: What was your first idea for the series?
A jack sitting on a wheel of cheese popped into my mind. Placing jacks in unexpected settings and scales, and the humor connected to the titles, are the keys. (The painting at left is called Jack of Diamonds.) kennethhershensonart.com — Patty LaNoue Stearns

Gentleman’s Room

Design Both Ways’ co-winner Rita O’Brien fashions a 1920s-style space

ONE OF THE winners of Michigan Design Center’s annual Design 2 Ways event was Rita O’Brien of Rita O’Brien Design Group (at MDC in Troy). Her vignette, right, was called “Relaxation at its Best”; it won in the Room of Your Dreams category. O’Brien was inspired after consulting last summer on paint colors and a kitchen design for a 30,000-square-foot estate in Ohio. “I was intrigued by the history of how one lived and entertained in that era,” she says.

In 1922, the year the home was built, it was the norm for men and women to enter through the main entrance — but once inside, the men would be escorted to a men’s sitting room while the women retreated to a receiving room on the opposite side of the foyer. O’Brien chose to emulate the men’s room, using rich, heavy masculine furniture, cigars, drinks and champagne, classic books, warm foot coverings, and large art from years gone by. “In that time period, the walls may have been draped in heavy, dark fabrics,” she says. “I used a gloss black for impact and the large art piece for drama and conversation.” The artwork depicts a queen from the 1550s, Eleonora di Toledo, who was known for her strength, strong interest in the arts, architecture, and the poor. She also adored rich fabrics, and often wore elaborate gowns to sit and have her portrait painted.

West Bloomfield-based designer Wanda Brown, NCIDQ of Wanda Brown Interior Design, also won a People’s Choice Award for her “Stolen Moments” vignette, in the Room You Would Re-create in Your Home category. Both vignettes were highlights in the RJ Thomas, Ltd. showroom. ritaobrien.com, wandabrowndesigns.com — Megan Swoyer

Made in the Shade

Greens, taupes, and purple hues are on-trend this year

GO GREEN! THAT’S what the folks at the Pantone Color Institute are saying as they named Greenery its color of the year. Pantone, an X Rite company that’s the global authority on color and a provider of professional color standards for the design industries, explains that Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore, and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signal individuals to take a deep breath and reinvigorate.

Sherwin-Williams, meanwhile, named Poised Taupe as its 2017 Color of the Year. A modern take on a timeless classic, the color was inspired by what the paint company’s color experts say is society’s ever-growing thirst for beautiful neutrals that bring warm and cool tones together to create one versatile color.

Pittsburgh Paints & Stains gave Silverado its Color of the Year honors.

A deep, mystic purple that pairs perfectly with gray tones, the hue reflects what the company’s color gurus studied: consumers’ growing fascination with space, spirituality, technology, and time.

According to Misty Yeomans,  the company’s color marketing manager, “Silverado perfectly mimics the deep, mysterious yet organic tones of outer space.” The muted purple can be used in many spaces — children’s rooms, dining rooms, or even on front doors. When paired with neutral finishes and tones inspired by Mother Nature, the color promotes wellness and takes on a holistic feel — a sign of its versatility, Yeomans adds.

Paint company Benjamin Moore named Shadow, a soft lilac-gray, as its Color of the Year.

“It ebbs and flows with its surroundings, and light brings it to life,” says the company’s creative director, Ellen O’Neill. — Megan Swoyer

PAINTERLY PICKS From top to bottom: Greenery, Pantone’s Color of the Year; Pittburgh Paints & Stain’s Silverado, the company’s Color of the Year; the Bella Vetro chandelier, Neiman Marcus, showcases Greenery; and a chic kitchen in Pittsburgh Paints’ Silverado and Photo Gray

DETROIT HOUSE PRICES UP: Asking prices for three-bedroom, single-family homes in downtown Detroit (ZIP code 48216) are on the rise, according to househunt.com. Prices have climbed from an average of $120,000 in January 2015 to more than $200,000 in November 2016. The median sold price for the third quarter of 2016 was $130,000; in that time period, nine homes were sold in the 48216 ZIP code area.

“REVERE-ING” YOUR WALLS:  “Homebuyers are looking for houses they can move right into,” says Jackie Aubuchon, left, of Berkshire Hathaway HWWB (hwwbrealtors.com).“With the trend of neutral design colors, we recommend to sellers that they remove wallpaper and paint walls with a neutral color like Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter.”

SENIOR LIVING: “Gone are the days of just bingo for entertaining senior housing residents,” says Danette Stenta, v.p. of marketing for All Seasons (allseasonsbirmingham.com) senior apartment homes (activity room shown below).“We provide daily — and even hourly — activities and entertainers (dancers, lecturers, etc.) who are world-class, like you find on a cruise ship.”

OPEN SESAME: The days requiring both a dedicated living room and a formal dining room are over. Today’s homeowners want larger great rooms that expand into even larger kitchens to accommodate family gatherings, says Mark Avripas, left, president of Rochester-based Avripas Construction Management Co. (avripasconstruction.com). “Entertaining all in one room versus various rooms of the house is much more attractive to homeowners these days,” he says.

POPPING THE CORK(TOWN): A 1,290-square-foot loft, below, in Corktown drew a record price when it sold for $531,313. Listing agent Jim Tumey, of The Loft Warehouse in Detroit (theloftwarehouse.com), says, “It was designed and staged so beautifully (by the seller and a local creative director, Murray Grondin). You’re not just selling real estate; you’re selling a lifestyle. The buyer loved everything about the loft, so she purchased all the furniture, as well.” — Honey Murray