Bright Future

Cloth & Kind makes over a once-dark and dated Ann Arbor Tudor.
A 1926 BEAUTY - This gracious Ann Arbor Tudor was originally designed by local architect Wells Ira Bennett.
A 1926 BEAUTY – This gracious Ann Arbor Tudor was originally designed by local architect Wells Ira Bennett. – Photography by Martin Vecchio

Surprised. That’s the reaction people have when they discover that the classic Ann Arbor Tudor owned by Matthew and Jenna Romano is the work of well-known local architect Wells Ira Bennett.

Farrow & Ball’s Stiffkey Blue cabinetry paint is an inky blue named after a beach in Norfolk, England.
Farrow & Ball’s Stiffkey Blue cabinetry paint is an inky blue named after a beach in Norfolk, England. – Photography by Martin Vecchio

Bennett, an instructor and one-time dean of the University of Michigan’s School of Architecture and Design, is better known for his later work, which included a striking Mid-century Modern residence a few doors away from the Romanos’ more traditional residence. The architect even lived in a Tudor-style home across the street while he designed their house.

A masterful mix of elements in the dining room.
A masterful mix of elements in the dining room. – Photography by Martin Vecchio

The Romanos’ 1926 Tudor is  “stunningly gorgeous,” Jenna says, “but no one knew he designed it.”  Luckily for the Romanos, the original and subsequent owners kept records detailing the home’s history. Besides the blueprints, which now hang in the back hall, the Romanos also have specs for doors and trim, as well as the original landscape plans, which included an asparagus garden and a stone path — a feature the couple excavated and worked into their new garden.

The living room’s Narnia table (Arteriors) is set for game night!
FAMILY-FRIENDLY – The living room’s Narnia table (Arteriors) is set for game night! – Photography by Martin Vecchio

The Romanos fell in love with the house after losing a bidding war for another nearby residence. Originally from sunny Los Angeles (Jenna grew up in Kalamazoo), Matthew was initially concerned that the house would be too dark, his wife says.

The living room’s Narnia table (Arteriors) is set for game night!
LET’S PLAY! – These furnishings can stand up to the two energetic residents of the home — Allegra and Maximilian — who make the most of the comfortable surroundings, and take games and crafting to another level in the breakfast nook. – Photography by Martin Vecchio

Still, she saw its potential, despite the stucco exterior accented with dark wood trim. “It faces south and west, so it gets tons of natural light,” Jenna explains. She knew the home would work well for their family, which includes son Maximilian and daughter Allegra.

A nicely organized pantry featured in Detroit Design Spring 2022Once the house was theirs, the Romanos found their way to Krista Nye Nicholas of Ann Arbor’s Cloth & Kind. The designer owns a house not far from them, and Jenna had heard about her through friends. A walk-through cemented the relationship. “Krista graciously let us tour her house,” Jenna says. “It had a great vibe — beautiful, yet livable.”

A child’s bedroom features a mix of cool materials.
A child’s bedroom features a mix of cool materials. – Photography by Martin Vecchio

Jenna remembers their meeting as a magical moment. “Our personalities clicked,” she says of Nicholas, and Cloth & Kind. “They have great energy.”

The adorable children’s bathroom features custom-made Young Cabinetry (Saline).
CHOICE CHARM – The adorable children’s bathroom features custom-made Young Cabinetry (Saline). – Photography by Martin Vecchio

The designer says her home served as an example of what was possible. It “was a historic home with beautiful bones that was in a state of total disrepair,” she says. “When they saw what I had done with it — also a top-to-bottom renovation — they knew they had found their designer.”

Everyone’s goal during the process was to hold onto the past and yet make it new, like here in the master suite.
SOAKING UP HISTORY – Everyone’s goal during the process was to hold onto the past and yet make it new, like here in the master suite. – Photography by Martin Vecchio

Goals included “significantly lightening and brightening the entire home while keeping many of the pristine architectural components intact,” Nicholas explains. “They wanted a family-friendly home that was durable enough to stand up to two young children, but thoughtfully designed in order to satisfy Jenna’s passion for beautiful interiors.”

Guest bedroom feature in Detroit Design Spring 2022
Photography by Martin Vecchio

A three-story addition delivered on all fronts. Built off of the side of the house, it incorporated a galley kitchen and small TV room that had been made from a winterized porch. The spaces were replaced with a new kitchen and family room on the first floor, a master bedroom suite with a bathroom and walk-in closets on the second, and a finished space with another bedroom and family room in the lowest level. A new mud room replaced a former small patio in the back of the house.

The wallpaper in the powder room inspires instant happiness.
The wallpaper in the powder room inspires instant happiness. – Photography by Martin Vecchio

The homeowners’ and designer’s shared goal for the renovation, which almost doubled the house’s square footage, was to  “hold onto tradition and history, yet make it new,” says Jenna, who loves fabrics, textiles, and light fixtures. She also wanted the house to have color and energy — something Cloth & Kind is known for. “We both love wallpaper,” Jenna enthuses. The designer is partial to the new mud room, she says, adding, “It’s a light-filled space with ample storage, a Dutch door to the backyard, and a deep soapstone sink, all wrapped in the most beautiful color — Benjamin Moore’s Beach Glass … The inspiration for the room came from a vintage print our clients loved and wanted to incorporate.”

With soft Sea Glass (Benjamin Moore) paint, dollops of red, and a pretty Tumbleweed (Hable, Loomsource) bench fabric, the mud room showcases a creative combination of accents.
With soft Sea Glass (Benjamin Moore) paint, dollops of red, and a pretty Tumbleweed (Hable, Loomsource) bench fabric, the mud room showcases a creative combination of accents. – Photography by Martin Vecchio

Jenna remembers what she calls their “big gulp moment,” when they painted the dark trim throughout. A friend recommended leaving the original dark wood in the foyer, and Jenna says she’s glad they did. When possible, they drew inspiration from and replicated many of the home’s original details, including the fireplace in the family room, a replica of the one in the living room; the newel post to the basement; and door knobs, trim, and windows.

The family enjoys gathering on the inviting patio.
IN & OUT BEAUTY – The family enjoys gathering on the inviting patio. – Photography by Martin Vecchio

Jenna “totally loved the renovation process,” she says. Once 2,900 square feet with five bedrooms and 3.5 baths, the house now has six bedrooms and 4.5 baths, and is just shy of 5,000 square feet. The Romanos moved very few walls, and much of the home’s original footprint stayed the same. “People who come through can’t tell what part is new,” Jenna says. “They often say ‘It’s just so beautiful, if you didn’t know you’d think it had all been here forever.’ ”


BUYER’S GUIDE

INTERIOR DESIGNER
Krista Nye Nicholas, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor, clothandkind.com

BATHROOM, CHILDREN‘S
Cabinetry – Custom, Young Cabinetry, Saline
Drapery – Custom, Lou Lou Designs, Dexter; Fabric, Ball and Chain, Hable Construction
Stool – Serena & Lily
Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Blue Lace

BATHROOM, MASTER
Drapery – Custom, Lou Lou Designs, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor
Light, Ceiling – The Urban Electric Co.
Rug – Vintage, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor
Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Silver Satin

BEDROOM, CHILD
Chair, Rattan – Pottery Barn Teen; Cushion, Custom, Jennifer Shorto Swing Landscape, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor
Dresser – Newport Cottages
Light, Ceiling – Rochester Pendant, Barn Light Electric
Rug – Sisal and Chenille, Navy, Pottery Barn
Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Whitestone

BEDROOM, MASTER
Rug – Vintage, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor
Tables, Bedside – Noir, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor
Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Gray Sky

BREAKFAST NOOK
Cabinet, Built-in – Custom, Young Cabinetry, Saline
Chair, White – Eames Molded Plastic Chairs, Herman Miller, Zeeland
Chairs, Black – Vintage, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor
Chandelier – Olampia
Pillows, Accent – Custom, Lou Lou Designs, Dexter; Fabric, Kettlewell Collection, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor
Window Treatment, Roman Shades – Custom, Lou Lou Designs, Dexter; Fabric, seemakrish Glitterati Linen, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor

CLOSET, WALK-IN
Bench, Cushion, and Drapery – Custom, Lou Lou Designs, Dexter; Cushion Fabric, Autun Mohair Velvet, Brunschwig & Fils, Kravet/Lee Jofa/Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Cabinetry – Custom, Young Cabinetry, Saline
Drapery Fabric, Weeping Willow, Clay McLaurin Studio, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor
Rug – Vintage, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor
Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Pike’s Peak Gray

DINING ROOM
Artwork – Vintage, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor
Ceiling Paint – Bohemia, Duchess Satin, Sydney Harbour Paint Company Custom Colorway, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor
Centerpiece – Vintage Moroccan Ceramic Bowl, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor
Chairs, Dining – Vintage with Custom Cushions, 1stdibs; Cushion, Susan Connor New York, Inlay in Lake/Natural
Chandelier – Sea Urchin, Coup D’état, Detroit
Drapery – Custom, Peter Fasano Fabric, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor
Rug – Vintage, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor
Table, Dining – Bunny Williams Home
Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Featherstone

KITCHEN
Artwork – Vintage, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor
Backsplash – Crossville Savoy Subway Tile, Virginia Tile Company, Troy
Cabinetry, Blue – Farrow & Ball, Stiffkey Blue No. 281
Cabinetry, Wood – Stained Walnut
Counter Stools – Case Study Furniture, Modernica
Lighting, Bar – Hicks Extra Large Pendant, Visual Comfort, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor
Rug – Vintage, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor
Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, White Dove

LIVING ROOM
Armchair – Bunny Williams Chair, Bunny Williams Home, Kettlewell Collection, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor
Drapery – Custom, Lou Lou Designs, Dexter; Fabric, Gray Lines Linen, Warsa Wheat
Mirror – Carvers Guild
Pillow, Lumbar (Fabric) – Jim Thompson Opulence, Midnight, Tennant & Associates, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Pillows, Floor – Madeline Weinrib, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor
Rug – Fibreworks, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor
Rug, Hide – Saddlemans
Sofa (Fabric) – Allegra Hicks for Lee Jofa Groundworks, Infinity, Beige/Midnight
Table, Coffee – Narnia Cocktail Table, Arteriors
Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Berber White

MINI-BAR
Cabinetry – Custom, Young Cabinetry, Saline
Countertop – Statyrart White,
Faucet – Advance Plumbing & Heating Supply Co., Walled Lake
Shelving – Custom, Young Cabinetry, Saline
Tray – Vintage, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor
Wall Treatment – Paneled Walnut

MUD ROOM
Bench, Cushion – Custom, Lou Lou Designs, Dexter, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor; Tumbleweed, Hable Construction, Momentum Loomsource
Cabinetry – Custom, Young Cabinetry, Saline
Countertops and Sink – Soapstone
Runner – Vintage, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor
Sconce – Yoke Pendant with Small Shade, Visual Comfort, Cloth & Kind, Ann Arbor
Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Beach Glass

PANTRY
Cabinet Paint – Farrow & Ball Stiffkey, Blue No. 281
Cabinetry – Young Cabinetry, Saline
Countertop – Honed White Carrera Marble
Door, Sliding – Custom, Hal Lambert Custom Carpentry
Shelving – Custom, Young Cabinetry, Saline
Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, White Dove

POWDER ROOM
Cabinet – J. Tribble Collection
Countertop – Statyrart White
Faucet – SIGMA Rutherford Widespread Faucet, Advance Plumbing & Heating Supply Co., Walled Lake
Wallpaper – Osborne & Little, Maharani, Chartreuse



 

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