Go for the Bold

Making it Memorable

A model home goes bold for an uptown, modern theme


WHAT: A head-turning Mid-century-style living room in the Fernwood Arteva model home at Christenbury Creek, featured in a recent Homerama. Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

WHERE: Macomb Township.

DESIGNERS: Nancy Pacella and Bobbi Scherer, who say they were happily “joined at the hip” for the project and laughingly admit to often finishing each other’s sentences “like an old married couple.” The dynamic design duo are based at Gorman’s Lakeside store in Shelby Township. (See the Dreaming in HD story in this section for more on this company.)

GOAL: “Most of the model homes were decorated in totally neutral palettes,” designer Pacella says. Adds co-designer Scherer: “We used color to make this white-walled modern living room striking and memorable.”

CHALLENGE: “Although the ceilings are vaulted, this wasn’t a big space,” Scherer explains. Adds Pacella: “We chose to be bold with color for an uptown, modern theme that blends with the Mid-century style.” To add pop to the white walls, ceiling, and sectional, the designers chose vibrant — and textured — accents: a brilliant blue, deeply piled area rug; an upholstered turquoise ottoman; a poppy-colored side chair; and block-styled wall art, echoing other blue/orange tones and accents. The designers also used a mix of metals, combining gold, silver, and chrome tones throughout the room.

RESULTS: “You couldn’t walk into the room, see the bright colors, and not smile,” Scherer says. “It reminds me of an art gallery with the white walls, sleek furnishings, bold wall décor, and bright accent pieces. And, although the obvious design trend is grays and neutrals, people still love color. They will always love color.” — gormans.com

Dreaming in HD

Brilliant orange meets silver and gold, for lots of pizzazz


WHAT: The master bedroom in the Fernwood Arteva model home at Christenbury Creek, featured in a recent Homerama. Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

WHERE: Macomb Township.

DESIGNERS: Nancy Pacella and Bobbi Scherer, designers for Gorman’s Lakeside store in Shelby Township. (See the Making it Memorable story in this section for more on this company.)

GOAL: “Our goal,” says Scherer, “was to have people walk into the room and say ‘Wow!’ ” To achieve that, Pacella and Scherer selected a rich, brilliant orange for the walls. Says Scherer: “We chose elements that added contrast throughout the room: the bright wall against the neutral ceiling and furnishings; soft, silky, fuzzy throws, pillows, and coverings against the hard, chrome bed and sleek chair designs; and the contrast of gold-against-silver finishes — but the first thing you see is the color contrast.”

CHALLENGE: “Our ideas evolved as we went. The main challenge was the wall color,” Scherer says. “Initially, we had only the wall behind the bed painted orange, but then we decided that the entire room should be painted for more contrast and a more dramatic effect.”

RESULTS: “The beautiful, chrome Bernhardt bed; the gold-toned accessories; the vibrant paint — the room is a great success,” Pacella says. “With the trends toward grays and neutrals, it’s phenomenal what color can do. It really sets the mood.”

She adds: “I always tell people, ‘Choose your favorite color, and you’ll be most content in your home.’ This room, with its gorgeous walls, is a dream-in-color come true!” — gormans.com

Mellow Yellow

This space in a lakeside home is instantly relaxing


WHAT: The dining room at Inverness, a lakeside cottage.

WHERE: In Holland, on Lake Michigan.

DESIGNER: Julie Holmes, principal designer at Vision Interiors by Visbeen in Grand Rapids, an independent design studio and an affiliate of Visbeen Architects. Holmes works with clients at all stages of home or room design. “I want to take the pressure off the homeowner from beginning to end,” Holmes says. “I work to learn their style and their vision for the home, and then run with it.” (See the Bursting with Beauty story in this section for more on this company.)

GOAL: To create a room that’s casually elegant and easy to entertain, live, and dine in.

CHALLENGE: “The dining room is in the center of the house,” Holmes says, “so the challenge was to invite people in (with the warm, mild yellow) while still having the colors work well with the rest of the house.”

RESULTS: The room was deemed a success, thanks to a chrome chandelier; the deep, coffered ceiling; oval-backed, linen-upholstered chairs; and a contrasting black, ladder-back chair (it mimics the arch of the dining hutch, creating an appealing symmetry). The room’s statement piece is an eye-catching hutch, with a curved top and lattice accents, painted in Hawthorne Yellow by Benjamin Moore. White pottery adds crisp appeal and works well with other white accents. “This dining room was designed to be timeless,” Holmes says. “It’s inviting, elegant, and casual. It’s a room where you can have a formal meal, yet still sit down and play games while enjoying the Lake Michigan views.” It’s also a gently welcoming space, where cares can fall away like melting butter. — visionbyvisbeen.com

Island of Turquoise

A few coats of an ocean-inspired blue make this kitchen sizzle


WHAT: A “soft-remodeled” kitchen, where most of the existing features were kept — including the walls. The cabinetry was painted, while welcome changes and additions include new appliances, countertops, plumbing, lighting, a backsplash, and hardware.

WHERE: Wolverine Lake, near Commerce.

DESIGNER: Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger, with Artichoke Interiors of Clarkston at the time of this renovation (she now runs Iron Key Designs in Bloomfield Hills).

GOAL: To brighten the space with a new cottage style and shabby-chic accents.

CHALLENGES: A lower-end budget and hand-done distressing of the island.

RESULTS: “It was a true team effort for the space, which is now both casual and inviting,” Shellenbarger says. “We wanted this kitchen to look vintage in nature, which we achieved with the porcelain backsplash that looks like lime-stained brick, and in the distressed turquoise island.” The inspiration for the island’s color? Explains the designer: “The homeowner had purchased a SMEG toaster in this fun blue, and it made her so happy that I used it as inspiration for the island.”

Although Shellenbarger often works on large-scale, big-budget undertakings, she also enjoys soft remodels. For this kitchen, the homeowner found her own hardware, lighting, and counters, and Shellenbarger helped approve colors and sizes. “We used some of our recommended vendors, along with the homeowner’s finds, to pull the look together,” Shellenbarger says.

The result is an island treasure. — ironkeydesigns.com

Bursting with Beauty

This guest bath — and its vibrant colors — energizes all who enter


WHAT: Guest bath.

WHERE: The Rosewood Transitional Farmhouse, in Grand Rapids.

DESIGNER: Julie Holmes, principal designer, Vision Interiors by Visbeen. (See the Mellow Yellow story in this section for more on this company.) With a mother who also was an interior designer, Holmes has been immersed in the world of art and design for most of her life, and enjoys creating spaces “with character.” She has won the American Residential Design Award and the Best in American Living Award. Visbeen Architects, with Vision Interiors by Visbeen, also has won several Detroit Home Design Awards.

GOAL: To create a fun, surprising guest bath.

CHALLENGE: “It’s always fun to use a splash of color in places like the guest bath,” Holmes says. “The challenge is to keep it timeless.”

RESULTS: An intensely colorful, dynamic room with steadying, traditional details. To offset the bright, orange-with-gold patterned wallpaper, Holmes chose Caesarstone raw concrete countertops; bronze bath sconces with white glass shades; and white tile with dove-gray grout. “This Thibaut paper has a bold background but it’s a classic print,” Holmes says. “The color invites you in with its drama, but the old-fashioned penny and subway tiles keep it from being over the top. We chose some of these finishes in order to remain consistent with the slight contemporary edge throughout the home, while others were chosen to maintain a classic and timeless feel. We strive to create homes that are up-to-date while remaining timeless.” — visionbyvisbeen.com