By Patty LaNoue Stearns | Photos by Beth Singer
There’s a beautiful story behind this Bloomfield Hills home, and it begins with a boy and a girl who started dating in junior high, fell in love, and spent few moments apart from then on. They married, had children, built a life together, and when their kids were old enough to fly away, the empty-nesters sat down with designer Elizabeth Fields, of Elizabeth Fields Design in Franklin, and a team of architects, builders, and other experts and started planning their dream home.
They knew it would be U-shaped, with all rooms open to a courtyard; large enough for overnights, with lots of privacy for their grown sons and their future families, siblings, and other visitors, with areas for strolling supper parties and many different seating options — all with beautiful sight lines — for dining or snacking or reading or playing board games. The lower level would include more bedrooms and baths, as well as space for workouts, casual lounging, and doing laundry.
There would be natural light and open views of their estate, with lush landscaping and flowers everywhere. There would be an indoor pool and exercise room, and an outdoor pool with an attached whirlpool for year-round activity. It would be constructed of the finest materials, feature enduring modern style, and serve as a quietly elegant ode to their love.
But in the beginning stages of the project, the husband unexpectedly passed away. “Then a decision had to be made, and everybody on the team supported the wife and we forged ahead (as the couple had planned),” Fields says.
“Truly, this is a home built for love,” adds Alex Eisenberg, Fields’ chief executive officer, who was deeply involved in the design and execution of the plans, which took six years. “From an architectural standpoint, you can feel the home, which projects tranquility, happiness, and love.”
Fields agrees: “It was such a beautiful collaboration among so many different people. It was so special and went very smoothly. Everybody put their A-game on.” And everyone who worked on the project became good friends.
“There was a sensitivity among everyone who worked on the home (regarding the way) it was built on layers of details,” Eisenberg says. “Those layers create visual interest.”
A casual visitor might not notice some of the home’s finer points, but they’re what gives the space its magnificence. “It’s very quiet,” Fields says. “Nothing screams at you.”
Fields, who describes herself as a “loving control freak,” notes how each and every room was customized, right down to the bathroom countertop accessories and even iPad holders in the bathrooms. The walls of each bathroom are completely tiled, and ventilation is unseen, save for a space at the top of each wall with a fan inside that sucks away any steam.
“Every detail has continuity and consistency,” explains Fields, who meticulously reviewed each element. “There wasn’t one thing done that wasn’t run by me first.”
All of the home’s hues follow a strict plan: The white paint is the same shade throughout, the wood trim is a light-brown stain, and the blacks and blues in the hardware, leather trim, and custom furniture conform to Fields’ exact palette. All of the flooring is French white oak, and many of the rugs are thick alpaca. Window-seat ledges, topped with long, plush custom leather cushions, line the hallways rimming
This modern, open-plan dwelling is divided visually so that each room has a defined space. A unique metal divider wall separates the main dining areas from the bar area, where another nearly invisible ceiling slit is the only cold-air return in the house, keeping the lines undisturbed. The kitchen is a cook’s dream, and the deep-blue hood over the stove is stunning.
A handsome office features a wenge desk with a leather-inset top and two-toned bird’s-eye maple cabinetry paired with lacquered blue, the owner’s favorite color. LED booklights layer with can lights for optimum reading power.
The guest room and master suite share a hallway that allows each to be completely closed off for privacy; each has its own opulent bathroom, 75-inch TV, and stellar views.
Instead of traditional baseboard moldings, the team used reglets, or shadow lines, in their place. That same detail is found in the insets around the windows. All the hardware was custom-plated at the same factory, so it looks alike.
Fields and Eisenberg took design inspiration from Franz Kline, the 20th century gestural abstractionist famed for creating works that arouse a palpable physical engagement with the viewer. They started with one of the powder rooms, which features a large, bold black-and-white Wolverine Stone sink whose pattern evokes one of Klein’s action-packed abstracts.
In the lower level, two bedroom suites have large windows that look out over tiered gardens and offer ample light along with pretty views, while the baths are simple but lavish, with lots of built-ins.
The home boasts huge closets with LED-lit rods and there’s storage in every room — a place for everything and more. Technology also plays a role in every drape and window covering in this 10,000-square-foot home, which all operate via touchpad, as does the lighting and many other mechanicals. Even the utility rooms are absolute things of beauty: Three separate rooms have maps detailing the miles of intricate wiring, bundled and hung neatly on the walls, like something NASA — and the homeowner’s beloved spouse — would be proud of.
The overall result is truly a very beautiful — and smart — story.
IN THE DETAILS: RESOURCE GUIDE
Interior Design: Elizabeth Fields, Elizabeth Fields Design; Alex Eisenberg and Jackie Rosenzweig, project managers, Franklin, elizabethfieldsdesign.com.
Architecture, Victor Saroki, Saroki Architecture, Birmingham, sarokiarchitecture.com.
General contractor, Thomas Sebold & Associates (TSA), Glen Kunnath, president, and Andy Race, construction management, Bloomfield Hills, tsagc.com.
Cabinetry, kitchen and other, unless noted, John Morgan, Perspectives Custom Cabinetry, Troy, perspectivescabinetry.com.
Cabinetry, powder room, dining room table and server, and service bar, Greg Bartelt, Vogue Furniture, Royal Oak, voguefurniture.net.
Custom metalwork, Tom Myers, Gallery Steel, Waterford.
Paint, interior walls and trim, Super White, Benjamin Moore, benjaminmoore.com.
Windows interior/exterior, Railings, Farrow & Ball, farrow-ball.com/en-us.
Custom rugs, The Rug Co., Edward Fields/TaiPing, New York, edwardfields.com.
Kitchen appliances, Wolf, Sub Zero, Witbeck Appliances, West Bloomfield, witbeckappliance.com.
Mirrors, Hudson Furniture, Tom Myers/Gallery Steel, Waterford.
Hardware, Rocky Mountain, Russell Hardware Co., Bloomfield Hills, russellhardware.com.
Tile, Ciot, Troy, ciot.com;
Virginia Tile, Troy, virginiatile.com.
Electrical, R.D. White, Royal Oak, rdwhiteco.com.
Lighting, Caste, castedesign.com;
Holly Hunt, hollyhunt.com;
Alison Berger, alisonbergerglassworks.com;
Patio furniture, McKinnon & Harris, mckinnonharris.com.