So Chic

This kitchen and bath are most certainly well-dressed! | Photographs by Josh Scott
“Decluttering can be so freeing,” says interior designer Katie Rodriguez of her own kitchen, shown here. Learn about how the busy mom created this space on the following pages. // Photographs by Josh Scott

Kitchen with a Twist

This designer gets creative within the hub of her own home

BACKSTORY: Birmingham’s Katie Rodriguez gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “go with the flow.” The interior designer and owner of Katie Rodriguez Design whipped up the perfect recipe for a clever kitchen in the classic Colonial she shares with her husband, Francis, and their two boys. This distinct space was designed with the un-kitchen movement in mind. In addition to being more cohesive with the rest of the home, Rodriguez says this concept can be a more inviting way to cook, dine, and entertain.

Although the designer likes to entertain, she keeps everyday cooking simple with 30-minute meals prepared in a clean-lined layout.

ALL TOGETHER NOW: As Rodriguez explains, today’s popular open-concept layouts have homeowners rethinking the look of the hub of the home and how it relates to adjacent rooms. “I think there’s a desire to use the kitchen as a living space, and therefore we’re considering how it will transition into those spaces, and getting creative with materials, custom cabinets, and storage.”

SMART MOVES: For her recent renovation, Rodriguez wanted the kitchen to be the center of the home, but not the focus. “We shifted its placement from the original location, and I opened it up on three sides (leaving only one perimeter wall for cabinets) and built an adjacent walk-in pantry,” she says. In lieu of upper cabinets, Rodriguez chose a floor-to-ceiling pantry for glassware and dishes, snacks, and other essentials. The island houses a dishwasher and other storage.

A WHOLE NEW WORLD: Instead of the traditional window above the sink, the kitchen faces a spacious great room flooded with natural light from three sets of French doors overlooking the yard. “I really think the un-kitchen movement is about how you can creatively use the square footage to feel like a part of the living space. It’s providing the function needed in a way that may be unexpected,” says the designer, who describes her personal style as modern, classic, and tailored.

The paneled refrigerator mirrors a pantry. Organization is key for quick breakfasts and Taco Tuesdays.

LESS IS MORE: Because Rodriguez likes simplicity, she opted for a smaller kitchen space. The walk-in pantry acts like a second kitchen by housing small appliances. “We’re not gourmet chefs; we don’t need a ton of space,” she says. Besides, she adds, “I don’t need two crockpots and 20 vases.” 

CALMING EFFECT: The designer’s newly renovated kitchen is peaceful and clutter-free. “I think this is achieved through a restrained palette of materials and symmetrical design,” she says. “When I’m in the space, I don’t want to have to think about it. I want it to work for me with every reach, stir, and pour.”

By Jeanine Matlow

IN THE DETAILS: RESOURCE GUIDE

Interior design, Katie Rodriguez, Katie Rodriguez Design, katierodriguezdesign.com, Birmingham. Counters, Geoluxe Palissandro. Cabinets, Pioneer. Backsplash, Florim Calacatta. Paint, Sherwin-Williams’ Alabaster. Faucet, Brizo Solna in Matte Black. Lighting, Hudson Valley Lewis in Aged Brass. Hardware, Schaub & Co. Vinci Collection in Black Bronze. Appliances, Thermador range and dishwasher. Fisher & Paykel refrigerator. Counter stools, Arteriors.


Mixing different elements and materials but still creating a unified look was the goal of designer Amanda Wolfe for her new powder room. With arty tile, cheerful art, a floating vanity, and a cement sink, the space is 100-percent “Wow!”

Mixing It Up

A creative mingling of unique tile, art, lighting, and vanity makes for a nifty powder room in Huntington Woods

BACKSTORY: Amanda Wolfe, of Amanda Wolfe Designs and Forest Avenue Design in Birmingham, started work on a new powder room in her Huntington Woods home last July. The project was completed in November. She and her family now enjoy a larger space that pops with floor-to-ceiling tile, a floating vanity, and a concrete sink; it’s a creative mix that conveys character and practicality. Even with a bit of a Mid-century touch (Kelly Wearstler sconces that feel modern), the space is at once eclectic and inviting. “Although my house isn’t Mid-century Modern, I don’t want to walk in to a room that says, ‘you picked out all your items at one store, or from one source.’ You’re not doing a good job if you do that.”

THE OVERHAUL: Wolfe’s plan included removing a powder room located near the kitchen and renovating a back hall bathroom, increasing the size, and changing the entry so it felt like it was always there and more a part of the house rather than the back hall/mudroom. There’s now one bathroom on the first floor.

TILE CALLING: “As a designer I see so much out there, but my mind kept going back to photos I’d taken along the way of certain tiles that I wanted on the walls. I went with an Ann Sacks selection, something that I originally loved,” Wolfe says.   

POWDER POP: “I had to make a pop and went floor-to-ceiling with the tile. You can do ‘wow factor’ effects because it’s a powder room, and I’m so in love with that tile.” The tile complements the flooring and its penny-round style in a graphite color.    

A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE: Celebrated cabinetry master John Morgan, of Perspectives Cabinetry in Troy, worked with Wolfe to design a floating walnut vanity. “I didn’t want anything to match. I wanted the space to feel like it’s been there forever, not newly built. The walnut vanity gives it an Old World feel, but in a contemporary way, because I floated it,” Wolfe explains.

COMFORT IS KEY - The well-appointed den looks out to a pretty street in downtown Northville. - Photography by Martin VecchioWhen residential lots become available in historic downtown Northville, they’re snapped up quickly. Leighanne LaMarre, interior designer and owner of Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, was delighted to be involved from the beginning of a new construction project on a coveted lot in this desirable community.Everyone loves the bar, where you can pull up a Moe’s Home Collection stool and enjoy a cold one. - Photography by Martin Vecchio“It was an ideal situation to have the blank canvas of new construction. I was hired alongside the architect, so I was able to collaborate with the architectural designers prior to construction, to help create a home that met the goals of the homeowner. I’ve also worked with the builder before,” LaMarre says. In addition to the designer, the homeowners hired Presley Architecture and Mike Miller Building Co., both of Northville.The kitchen is warm and inviting, showcasing a variety of materials. - Photography by Martin VecchioThe homeowners were very familiar with the neighborhood, as they and their young family lived down the street from the new home’s location. This proved to be convenient during the two-year project.According to the Brighton-based designer, one of the challenges of the project was the location. “The home is situated in a great area with so much to offer, next to the hustle and bustle of downtown Northville. Making the home feel private was a challenge, but one we were able to achieve.” Entertainment was an important factor for the homeowners, and they admit that was part of the draw to the location. “The owners love to have fun and entertain. The interior and outdoor spaces reflect this,” LaMarre says. “The house is built on a double lot, which helps with space and privacy. The detached garage in the backyard includes a walkout lower-level entertainment space. In the backyard, there’s a beautiful hot tub and lots of seating. The front porch also has seating.”As the designer explains, the overall goal for the 6,700-square-foot residential project was to create a Contemporary-style home that’s warm and inviting but also edgy and modern, with an emphasis on clean lines and upscale details. “A challenge with transitional and contemporary design is to make it feel warm, cozy, and comfortable — like a family lives here,” LaMarre says.Of the homeowners, LaMarre says, “She prefers contemporary and concrete, while he likes warm and welcoming. They have young children, so wear and tear was a consideration. It was a happy dialogue to create that polished but approachable look for them.”The designer says concrete (“and lots of it”) was another challenge, especially with delays due to the pandemic affecting many construction materials needed for the project. Concrete was utilized in unique ways in the home’s design, giving off a slightly industrial vibe. The main level features a concrete range hood in the kitchen and a suspended concrete sink in the powder room adjacent to the mud room. The lower-level flooring is made of polished concrete.NAILING A STYLE - The owners prefer a Contemporary look mixed with a warm feeling — all evident in these spaces. - Photography by Martin VecchioAnother important element to the home’s design is an artistic mix of metals, which adds visual interest throughout the house. Weldwork, a local custom builder of steel doors, fashioned distinctive metal designs for the office doors and lower-level bar area wine cellar enclosure. The house also features hardware and light fixtures with a striking blend of metal finishes, including notable hardware on the kitchen island and wet bar from Armac Martin, a luxury brass hardware company in England.LaMarre says wood also played an important role in the home’s design, with unique millwork and a mix of warm, rich wood tones and finishes. The primary wood used for the floors and doors is white oak, while the painted wood cabinetry is maple. The kitchen features white oak-stained cabinets with a contrasting island. “There’s very little crown molding in the house — the emphasis was on clean lines,” the designer says. “All interior doorways and passageways throughout the house are warm and simple, but had complicated engineering using a matte-washed, dry-rub cerused white oak.”LET'S HEAD OUTSIDE - "The owners love to have fun and entertain. The interior and outdoor spaces reflect this,” says designer Leighanne LaMarre. - Photography by Martin VecchioSince there’s not a strong presence of pattern in the home’s décor, warm tones in wood, metal, and leather, as well as plush fabrics, were used to add texture and warmth. One area that boldly showcases pattern is the lower-level bar area, where geometric tile provides contrast to the bleached walnut elements and concrete floors.QUIRKY & COOL - The lower level has plenty of unique accents like the Clare Louise Frost block-print pillows from Ann Arbor’s Cloth & Kind. - Photography by Martin VecchioThe den adjacent to the kitchen is a favorite of both the homeowners and LaMarre. “Hands down, it’s my favorite room in the house,” LaMarre says. “It’s a smaller, more intimate space that the owners use all the time, and it’s a wonderful retreat for small gatherings. The room has a different feel; it’s very warm and relaxing.” The walls are lined with stained oak shiplap, which adds an element of coziness to the space. The comfortable seating includes a traditional Eames lounge chair.LOVELY LANDSCAPE - Beauty beckons from the walk-out basement at this pretty Northville home. The building is the homeowners’ detached garage. - Photography by Martin Vecchio“Projects are successful when there’s a trust relationship between the client and designer. This was especially important due to COVID-19, when quick decisions had to be made to get materials in and keep things moving, to give the clients the home they wanted,” LaMarre explains. “Despite any challenges, this home has a distinctive look and feel that was specifically designed for this family and the way they live.”BUYER’S GUIDEINTERIOR DESIGNER Leighanne LaMarre, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton, leighannelamarreinteriors.comBAR Bar Stools – Moe’s Home Collection, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Cabinetry, Wooden – Natural Walnut Finish, Emery Design|Build, Northville Countertop – Caesarstone, Pure White, Detroit Stone & Tile, Shelby Township Flooring – Concrete Lighting – Hudson Valley Lighting, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Shelves, Hanging – Natural Walnut Finish, Emery Design|Build, Northville Tile, Bar – Zia Tile Wallcovering – Phillip Jeffries, Vinyl Belgian Linen II Wine Storage – Custom Iron, Weldwork, Royal OakDEN Armchairs – Lee Industries, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Chair, Reclining – Herman Miller, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Drapery – Custom, Fabricut, Michigan Design Center, Troy Flooring – Naturally Aged Flooring, Medallion Collection Arroyo, ProSource, Wixom Lamp – Visual Comfort, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Light, Ceiling – Visual Comfort, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Pillows, Accent – Schumacher, A. Darling, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Rug – Loloi, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Sofa – Lee Industries, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Table, Coffee – Oly Studio, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Table, Occasional – Gabby, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, BrightonDINING ROOM Backsplash – Icon Starry White, 5-Studio Gazette, Beaver Tile & Stone, Michigan Design Center, Troy Cabinetry – Emery Design|Build, Northville Centerpiece – Carved Teak Root, Arteriors, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Chairs, Dining Host – Hickory Chair, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Chairs, Dining Side – Vanguard Furniture, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Chandelier – Visual Comfort, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Countertop – Caesarstone, Mike Miller Building Co., Northville Faucet – California Faucets, Advance Plumbing & Heating Supply Co., Walled Lake Flooring – Medallion Collection Arroyo, Naturally Aged Flooring, ProSource, Wixom Rug – Endless Knot, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Table, Dining – Vanguard Furniture, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Chantilly LaceKITCHEN Cabinetry – Emery Design|Build, Northville Countertop – Caesarstone Faucet – California Faucets, Carbon, Advance Plumbing & Heating Supply Co., Walled Lake Flooring – Medallion Collection Arroyo, Naturally Aged Flooring, ProSource, Wixom Hardware, Cabinet (Blue) – Armac Martin, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor Hardware, Cabinet (Brown) – Top Knobs, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Hood – Custom, Origins Concrete Design, Ferndale Lamp – Regina Andrew, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Lighting, Bar – Visual Comfort, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Sink – Blanco, Advance Plumbing & Heating Supply Co., Walled Lake Stove – Wolf Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Chantilly LaceLAUNDRY ROOM Cabinetry – Emery Design|Build, Northville Door, Sliding – TruStile, Mans Lumber & Millwork, Canton; Color, Benjamin Moore, Cheating Heart Flooring – Ice White Matte Trapezium, WowUSA, Virginia Tile, Farmington Hills Light, Ceiling – Hudson Valley, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Shelves – Emery Design|Build, Northville Wall-covering – Phillip Jeffries, Suit Yourself, Ready Wear Grey Window Treatment – Schumacher, Andromeda, Smoke, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, BrightonLOWER LEVEL Armchairs, Swivel – Vanguard Furniture, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton; Fabric, Stroheim, Cavell Check, Moondust Chests, Display – Made Goods, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Flooring – Concrete Lights, Ceiling – Visual Comfort, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Ottoman, Cocktail – Vanguard Furniture, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Pillows, Sofa – Custom, Clare Louise Frost, Block Print in Black Domino, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor Rug – Milliken, Independent Carpet One Floor & Home, Westland Sofa (right) – Lee Industries, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Sofa 2 – Vanguard Furniture, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Stools – Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Table, Display – Vanguard Furniture, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Chantilly Lace Wall Treatment, Marble – Calacatta Gold Porcelain Slab, Envi, Detroit Stone & Tile, Shelby Township Window Treatments – Fabricut, Michigan Design Center, TroyMUD ROOM Cabinetry – Emery Design|Build, Northville Flooring – Love Affairs Concrete Light Grey Hexagon, WowUSA, Virginia Tile, Farmington Hills Hardware, Cabinet – Top Knobs, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Pillows, Accent – Loloi, Lee Industries, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Runner – Summer Classics, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Chantilly Lace Window Seat Cushion – Custom, Schumacher, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Window Shade, Fabric – Schumacher, Fauna, Natural, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, BrightonOFFICE Chair, Desk – Herman Miller, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Desk – Hickory Chair, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Flooring – Medallion Collection Arroyo, Naturally Aged Flooring, ProSource, Wixom Lighting, Shelf – Visual Comfort, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Rug – Stark Carpet, Troy Shelving, Built-in – Emery Design|Build, Northville Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Midnight BluePATIO Chairs – Lillian August for Hickory White, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Fan – Monte Carlo, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Ottoman – Made Goods, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Rug – Dash + Albert, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Sofa – Southern Home, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Table, Patio – Summer Classics, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Table, Stone Coffee – Currey & Co., Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, BrightonPOWDER ROOM Flooring – Love Affairs Concrete Light Grey Hexagon, WowUSA, Virginia Tile, Farmington Hills Light – Visual Comfort, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Mirror – Renwil, Leighanne LaMarre Interiors, Brighton Sink – Custom, Origins Concrete Design, Ferndale Tile, Wall – Delray White Caps Subway Tile, Ceramic Tiles International, Virginia Tile, Farmington Hills Towel Bar – Kohler, Matte Black, Advance Plumbing & Heating Supply Co., Walled Lake Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Chantilly LaceText by Tracy Donohue, Photography by Martin Vecchio

IN THE BLACK:  Wolfe chose black marble countertops. “Black marble is
underrated and fabulous, and I see it a lot in New York City, so I thought, Why don’t we use that?”

STUPENDOUS SINK: A concrete sink weighing about 300 pounds was one tough installment, but the designer says it was well worth it.

DESIGNER’S VERDICT: “I love it, and I adore the tile,” Wolfe says. “I feel like I’m in some old Moroccan town. The tile is like art.” 

By Megan Swoyer

IN THE DETAILS: RESOURCE GUIDE

Interior design, Amanda Wolfe, Amanda Wolfe Designs/Forest Avenue Design, amandawolfedesigns.com, Birmingham. Faucet, Newport Brass, Flat Black. Sink, Native Trails concrete sink, trough style, Atlas Plumbing, Detroit. Cabinet, walnut floating, Perspectives Cabinetry, Troy. Counter, Nero Marquina honed marble from PMP Marble, Troy. Wall tile, Ann Sacks Eastern Promise 8×8 concrete wall tile by Martin Bullard Lawrence; floor tile, Ann Sacks Savoy Penny Round Graphite tile; wall behind toilet, Ann Sacks  tile, 2×7-inch subway tile in Obsidian, all from Michigan Design Center, Troy. Sconces, Detroit City Lights, Strada Collection, Kelly Wearstler. Wall art, The Mincing Mockingbird.   

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