Modern Family (Rooms)

These bright gathering spaces are cozy-contemporary

FURNISHINGS | inspired designers


WHO: Known for his creative approach, as well as a family-oriented and easy-living style, interior designer Paul Feiten, below, of Bloomfield Hills- based Paul Feiten Design, has served the area for 33 years. He has earned more than 10 Detroit Home Design Awards.


DESIGNER’S GOAL: The owners of this Orchard Lake home are big entertainers — meaning they host weekly fetes. Hence, a large seating plan, in addition to multiple cocktail tables that could double as complementary serving areas, was in order for the family room (shown above). The focal point of the room is a 7-foot by 7-foot arrangement of framed album covers. “We had no budget left, but still had a large wall that needed art,” Feiten says. After a bit of thought, the homeowners dug out their album collection from their basement. “The covers are amazing!” the designer says. “They had old Beach Boys, Peter Frampton, Diana Ross, and Elton John albums. Each shows wear from use and parties of yore; wine stains, notes — even masking tape.” The covers are a popular conversation piece, and partygoers often share stories of favorite songs or memorable concerts.

INFORMATION: 248-258-9200 (You can see more of Feiten’s work at


Paul Feiten’s Design Tips for Creating Great Family Rooms

• Select a rug that is in proper proportion to your sofa. A diminutive rug will create the effect of a smaller room. A larger rug offsets the furniture and visually expands the room.
• Consider using outdoor fabric on chairs and sofas. This material is very durable and spills can easily be wiped away.
• Employ cohesive coordination in your design; include wood stain that matches the hue of a sofa, and metal finishes to complement the silver mercury glass on the base of a lamp, for example.


“A contemporary room calls for perfect tailoring in the furnishings. No sloppy cushions or skirts. The legs of the seating are like the precision of a woman’s shoe — sexy and sleek.”
— Paul Feiten


Alexander lounge chair by Hickory Chair, starting at $3,147,


Gourd lamp in mercury glass finish, $378,

Top: Romo Forenza fabric, Crocus Bottom: Romo Giotto fabric, Iris, to the trade, Rozmallin, Michigan Design Center, Troy,

Sherrill occasional living room round lamp table, $2,250, RJ Thomas Ltd., Michigan Design Center, Troy,
9th Street sofa, starting at $6,033, Hickory Chair,
Breck chair, starting at $3,147, Hickory Chair,

WHO: Dynamic duo Theresa and Bradford Angelini, below, established Ann Arbor-based Angelini & Associates in 1989. Their impressive and award-winning portfolio includes 29 Detroit Home Design Awards and more than 600 innovative projects during 28 years in service to homeowners. These projects comprise both renovations and new construction that span stylistic boundaries, to harmonize with their clients’ requirements. The couple has taught architectural design and theory courses in the Taubman College of Architecture at the University of Michigan, and Theresa has taught architectural design at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield.


DESIGNER’S GOAL: A connection between nature, hearth, and home best describes the feeling of this Ann Arbor residence owned by David Burnstein and Stephanie Kahl-Burnstein. As children, Burnstein and his sister played for hours with the neighborhood kids in the ravine and surrounding wooded area of this home. “Now I enjoy watching my kids play in the woods,” Burnstein says. “It’s quite special — magical, even — watching them make their own memories in the same place that captivated me as a boy.” Taking inspiration from this connection to the gorge, the Angelinis saw the design of the living space, shown above left, as an opportunity to reconnect with the past. “A two-story wall of windows offers a view down to the ravine, and an expansive view up to the canopy of trees and sky,” Theresa says. “Further, a two-way fireplace provides a framed view to the outside.” Artwork hanging above the fireplace by Australian artist Amanda Miller, aptly titled “The Gorge,” influenced the interior design. “The vibrant colors and brushstrokes were the inspiration for using bright, color-blocked carpet tiles and splashes of bold colors in accent pillows and accessories,” Kahl-Burnstein says. “The fire in the fireplace is a focal point in the great room and can also be seen from the ravine,” Bradford adds.

INFORMATION: 734-998-0735,

Bradford and Theresa Angelini’s Design Tips for Creating Great Family Rooms

• We always include the furniture in our plans. We call this animating the space, and it helps us make the size of the room appropriate to its use and in comfortable proportion to the human body.
• A difficult thing to solve when orienting and designing a great room is the conflicting requirements of the views to the landscape, the location of the fireplace, and the television. The fireplace is too important of a visual element to mess it up with a flat-screen monitor.


“The success of this space is that it’s dominated by the views to the landscape. The visual access to the outdoors allowed the footprint to be a little smaller, while still feeling open and fresh.”
— Bradford Angelini

Top: Pittsburgh Paints, Beach Dune Bottom: Pittsburgh Paints, White Rock, Detroit-area store locations,

MR Chair in light brown, $1,608, Knoll,

European Electric area rug, $549, Flor,

Yarrawonga by Amanda Miller (hangs in nearby room, by same artist as work above fireplace, inquire about pricing at
Blox wood top co ee table in black by Modway Furniture, $336, Novi Decor, Chicago,