Best in the Nest

Catherine A. Smith

Catherine A. Smith

Executive Director/Vice President Development, American Heart Association

Favorite room // The kitchen in her Colonial-style Clarkston home, which is located in a serene, wooded area. “I’d like to say that I spend hours in the kitchen recreating Pinterest recipes or baking, but that’s not the case,” Smith says. “Our kitchen is where we celebrate milestones and create memories. We have a daughter (Claire, 14) with special needs, and she fed herself and hugged me for the first time in our kitchen. Our other daughter (Emily, 7) conquered her first math problem around our kitchen island, and proclaimed that she wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up.”

Doing triple-duty // The family does everything in this space, from catching up on emails to paying bills to doing homework. “And my husband always makes us huge breakfasts on the weekend,” Smith adds.

Drew Rogers

Store Manager, Arhaus, Somerset Collection, Troy

Favorite room // The great room in his ranch-style Clawson home. “It’s where my partner and I spend quality time together with our dogs — the boys,” Rogers says. “This is where I get to decompress and let the day go after a long day in retail on my feet. My partner and I created it together. We (built) the addition last year in December, and we now have lots of natural light, and lots of comfy places to sit and relax. Plus, it has an awesome view of our backyard (wooded area). You can’t help but feel at ease.”

Future “homework” // “We want to open up the kitchen and add a little more space. We’ve talked about taking out another wall in the front room, too. I’ve come to the (realization) that we’re always going to be involved in some type of house project. It’s part of the many joys of homeownership. Isn’t that what everyone says?”

Julia Nagle

Julie Nagle

Director of Humble Design, (a nonprofit organization that furnishes homes for those in need)

Favorite room // The back sitting room in her ranch-style Clawson home, where she’s lived for nearly two years. “It’s my quiet area  — no television — and the morning sun shines in,” Nagle says. Here, she prays, journals, and plans her day, often with a cup of coffee or tea and her two Cavachons at her feet. “I work on creating ideas for Humble’s direction. The nonprofit world is competitive when it comes to funding and we, as an organization, (always) have to come up with creative ways to generate dollars.”

How Humble Design works // Assists families that are exiting out of homeless and abuse shelters by providing furnishings and design services. They furnish the homes with donated furniture and accessories.

Future “homework” // “Eventually I’d like to create an open floor plan in my own home by taking down the kitchen wall and opening the kitchen into the front room. I’d also like to turn my one-car garage into a ‘She Shed.’”

Robert Zebrowski

Robert Zebrowski

Certified Kitchen Designer and Director of Design, Extraordinary Works — Luxury by EW Kitchens, Michigan Design Center, Troy

Favorite room // The kitchen in his 1950s Colonial-style Pleasant Ridge home, where’s he’s lived for some 14 years. “While the space isn’t large, I have all the amentities I need to cook for two or 20,” Zebrowski says. Favorite elements  include: soft white European-style cabinetry; granite, full-height splashes; and a Viking range with a grille, warming shelf, and matching range hood. “The porcelain flooring grounds the room — its pattern resembles natural stone (and has) the occasional white vein.”

Future “homework” // Zebrowski plans to remake the concrete-and-wood countertops with more durable quartz from Cambria. “The ceiling, walls, and trim will also be updated with new millwork and a coat of fresh paint.”

Tamara Stone

Tamara Stone

Interior Designer, Ethan Allen, Birmingham

Favorite room // The living room in her 1919 Ferndale home, where she’s lived for nearly 15 years. “The house was originally in the middle of (what is) now Woodward, and was moved in the 1920s to its existing location, to make room for the trolley,” Stone says. “There is no television here; it’s a beautiful place in which to watch the world go by. I feel centered in this room, which also has a wonderful fireplace (not shown). I love to sit on my Shelton sofa with my zebra pillow and chill!”

Future “homework” // “As a designer, I’m always craving change. It keeps my home fresh and exciting. On my list is redoing the floors to a darker color, (adding) new trim, (hanging) wallpaper in the back bathroom and, of course, renovating the entire kitchen!”