Restore & Repurpose

An old, forgotten gate becomes a table; a vintage basket adorns a light fixture; a 100-year-old fallen-oak tree becomes a cocktail table … Resourceful upcycling is important for these area designers, who find creative and artistic uses for treasures left behind.

Marianne Jones

Who: Marianne Jones got her start in interior design selling repurposed vintage furniture and fabricating one-of-a-kind wrought-iron metal pieces. In 2010, she opened an interior design studio at the Michigan Design Center, while simultaneously working with builders on distinguished lakefront properties. This past spring, she moved into a new and shared space with Betty Mason of Classic Country Antiques in Birmingham. “It’s been a wonderful marriage of eclectic styles,” Jones says.

Info: 248-458-1301,


“I like taking items with an old, rich patina and updating them, like the ‘ballroom’ chair (in photo below).”— Marianne Jones



The table is set with an eclectic mix of repurposed items and antiques (showcased at the Michigan Design Center’s Haute House event). “I designed the table; it was fabricated by a local metalsmith,” says designer Marianne Jones. “The tabletop is a rusted gate nestled within a clean, transitional table base and finished with a tempered-glass top. The light is a vintage French shipping basket from Betty Mason, Classic Country Antiques. It was retrofitted to create the light.” (Light fixture, $1,410; table, $3,810,

UNDER FOOT: “This is a great transitional and geometric rug,” says designer Marianne Jones. Linen Soumak rug, $3,600 (8×10), Stark Carpet, Troy,

NOW SERVING: Jones is big on serving with style. She notes that the sideboard shown above would look great among her mix. At the turn of the 20th century, well-made cabinets like this were often used by English shopkeepers to display their wares. English slider wood sideboard in weathered natural oak, $1,795, Restoration Hardware, Somerset Collection North, Troy,


Michael Poris

WHO: Michael Poris, of Birmingham-based McIntosh Poris Associates, is an award-winning architect whose firm has delivered architecture, interior, and urban-design services to residential, commercial, and institutional clients since 1994. The company’s list of accolades includes more than 64 Detroit Home Design Awards. Poris is on the board of Architectural Salvage Warehouse Detroit (ASWD).

Info: 248-258-9346,

A Farmhouse Dining Room

“This historic Birmingham farmhouse mixes raw and rustic designs, while keeping the house’s historic charm intact,” designer Michael Poris says. Table: Made from an old grain auger and barn wood, from HeritageCo{2}, fabricated by Richard Gage; metal wall art: Suzanne Beautyman; white ceramics: Im Schafer; brown ceramics: Benjamin Teague; chandelier (a former 1950s Christmas bell): HeritageCo{2}, by Richard Gage Studio; stools made of salvaged Douglas fir: Seth Keller.


“The wood is deconstructed and reclaimed from Detroit homes by Architectural Salvage Warehouse Detroit (ASWD).”— Michael Poris

TAKE A SEAT: “It’s actually comfortable!” designer Seth Keller says of his wingback made of Douglas fir, $3,200, Designer Poris placed two in the foyer of this home.

LASTING LUMBER:  The milled table top reveals the inner beauty of the reclaimed lumber and offers a snapshot of the lumber’s life over the past nearly 100 years. Grand Boulevard table, $2,145, Workshop,

POP!: Two bright orange-red plastic molded Eames chairs add a punch of color to the room and complement the rustic bench seating around the table. Eames armchair with a red-orange finish and maple dowel-legs with black umber-wire detail, $390/ea., through Facility Matrix Group, Pontiac,


Kathleen McGovern

WHO: Kathleen McGovern is the owner of Kathleen McGovern Studio in Grosse Pointe Park.  A designer for 30 years and a graduate of Michigan State University, McGovern has worked on projects in a dozen states and has utilized equally as many different design styles.

Info: 313-331-4600,


“This room was designed for a young, nature-loving family of five,” designer Kathleen McGovern explains. “The goal was to create a space in their Birmingham home that’s warm and stylish enough for adult entertaining, but safe for three small children’s activities. The 100-year-old fallen-oak cocktail table (with iron base and live-edge shelf) was designed for this room.” (Fallen-oak tables, from $4,500-$7,500, Justin Selby Designs of  Traverse City, 231-715-6400.)

STORY TIME: This chair (similar to the blue ones in room photo) was requested by the mom, McGovern explains. “She saw the value of a swivel rocker that was large enough to comfortably seat a mom and a child together in front of the fireplace.” Jessica Charles Fairfield wool swivel chair, from $3,100 to $4,200, Baker Knapp & Tubbs Showroom, Michigan Design Center, Troy,

FORGED FINERY: This hand-forged brass table lamp is by Vancouver metal artist Martha Sturdy. Jackson wire lamp, $3,060, Baker Knapp & Tubbs Showroom, Michigan Design Center, Troy,

Rehab Addict Cherishes Leaded Glass, Detailed Plaster Work, and Historic Tile

Detroit Home met with HGTV-DIY Network star Nicole Curtis after she completed the nearly five-month renovation of a 1929 home in Detroit on Campbell Street. The host of Rehab Addict, who graduated from Lake Orion High School, shared a few of her memorable insights on transforming what was an appalling home in a disastrous state into a charming beauty that continues to tell its fascinating design story. “It was a complete top-to-bottom restoration — new mechanics and roof,” Curtis says, “but other than that, we refinished everything we could.”

Kitchen Throwback: “This kitchen (below) was unique, with a 100 percent original farm sink still intact. A lot of what’s in there is original or I made with my mom, including the sink skirt.”

Pleasing Plaster: ”This dining room (below) has exquisite plaster detail that had somehow been missed by the fire that ravaged this home.”

Glass with Class: “Leaded glass was redone by Ann Baxter (Grosse Pointe Park-based Baxter Glass Art), who does amazing churches and huge projects.

In Tile: “The tiles are Pewabic (on the outside of the home), and there are also Flint Faience tiles within.” The Flint Faience tiles were created in Flint, Mich., during the early years of auto production. The kilns that were used to create porcelain caps on spark plugs by day were used to make the tiles during off hours.  — Megan Swoyer