Classic Contemporary

Grounded in traditional values, this home features modern elements with a creative twist // Photography by Werner Straube
The renovated Ann Arbor home looks good in all seasons.

For a couple living in a cramped 1950s ranch-style home with two young daughters, the wheels of change were put in motion when a Colonial on a larger lot next door became available. As the wife explains, there were a handful of guiding principles that would drive the design of the more spacious two-story home they built to their liking on the adjacent property. “From a design standpoint, I wanted the house to feel contemporary with a timeless appeal,” she says. “I love clean lines and bold color choices, but I also wanted the house to feel warm and inviting. Most importantly, it had to be livable and approachable.”

Her wish would be granted by a designer who caught her eye when reading about his recent projects. Although the homeowner was impressed by his use of color in traditional dwellings, she had a different style in mind. Fortunately, Corey Damen Jenkins, principal and CEO of Corey Damen Jenkins & Associates in Birmingham and New York City, knew he could deliver the goods.

Off the foyer, a flex room (can be a kids’ area or cozy lounge) features an exciting, vibrant palette of rich colors and a modern Mid-century vibe.

“They wanted a modern Mid-century vibe that was grounded in traditional values,” says Jenkins, who’s known for his discerning taste and attention to detail. “Good design isn’t governed by rules; it’s governed by principles. I let the client guide me.”

With its striking white exterior, the 5,250-square-foot structure highlights the couple’s penchant for contemporary elements with a classic twist, inside and out. Dark wood floors set the stage for well-chosen components, while white walls pave the way for the jolts of jewel tones found throughout. Interior doors painted high-gloss navy are among the clever color applications.

Off the foyer, a flex room beckons with a lively Mid-century vibe complete with cobalt walls in high-gloss vinyl. This adaptable space with hidden doors serves as a kids’ area by day and a cozy lounge at night. A retro crystal-and-metal fixture shines from above, and an overdyed rug makes the space feel cozy and informal.

The handsome bar features display shelving from E.W. Kitchens and glassware from West Elm.

Sculptural shapes make a statement — evident on the wing chairs in the great room and the Saarinen table in the harvest room — as unique architectural features like classic molding and an accordion-style fireplace welcome a less-is-more approach when it comes to adornments. Jenkins calls the warm wall color a “creamy white fondant.” Modern silhouettes in jewel tones, like the emerald sofa, pop against the pale palette. “It’s all about placement and scale,” he says.

Scandinavian flair fills the second-story loft, where there’s a custom bookcase and a convenient seating area for the kids to do homework. A sectional lets the family kick back and have a conversation, or read and watch TV. “It’s a landing spot that acts like a unification center,” says Jenkins, who turned the nook into a multipurpose destination. “Since the pandemic, people have become more mindful of maximizing space.”

Note the black window trim in the kitchen, which contrasts with the white walls. “You need that warmth,” designer Corey Damen Jenkins says. “And the black energy of the quartzite keeps it from becoming too cold.”

A captivating quartzite on the backsplash and the waterfall island enriches the kitchen, where white oak and painted cabinets join a custom stainless hood. Mixed metals play well together on the fixtures and hardware. “I love mixing and matching finishes, like a polished nickel faucet next to antique brass pulls,” Jenkins says. In the butler’s pantry, a bar dazzles with glass and brass details. “With a vibrant cabinet color and antiqued mirror backsplash, it becomes a showcase,” he says.

Another knockout: the marble master bath. “It feels like a glam hotel getaway,” Jenkins says. Acrylic tube mirrors create a special effect against varied metals. “Polished nickel hardware and antique brass sconces complement rather than compete,” he adds. Each space has earned rave reviews. “Every single room really represents who they are,” Jenkins says. “It takes a collaborative effort to create a home.”

Now the couple counts their lucky stars. “We’re incredibly fortunate to have such a large, livable, and lovely house during the pandemic, as we have plenty of room for all four of us to be working at the same time. Space has become a great luxury,” says the husband, who credits his wife, Jenkins, and his team for the outcome.

The wife remains grateful to Jenkins for helping her refine her vision and bring it to life. “My husband and I regularly discuss how lucky we are to live in our dream home,” she says. “It has exceeded our expectations in every way.”


BOOK IT!

As an accomplished interior and product designer with appearances on HGTV and “The Rachael Ray Show,” Corey Damen Jenkins has already put Detroit on the map with his amazing talent and countless accolades. Next up: his first coffee-table book, “Design Remix: A New Spin on Traditional Rooms” (due out March 23, 2021, Rizzoli; $45).


BUYER’S GUIDE

DESIGNER
Corey Damen Jenkins, Corey Damen Jenkins & Associates, Birmingham, New York City, coreydamenjenkins.com

BAR
Glassware and Stemware – West Elm, Birmingham
Sconces  – The Urban Electric Co.
Shelving, Display – E.W. Kitchens, Michigan Design Center, Troy

BATHROOM, MASTER
Mirrors – Renwil
Sconces – Hudson Valley Lighting
Wall Treatment – Phillip Jeffries Ltd., Tennant & Associates, Michigan Design Center, Troy

BEDROOM, MASTER
Bedside Chest – Theodore Alexander, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Comforter – Eastern Accents
Drapery – Corey Damen Jenkins & Associates, Birmingham; Kravet Fabric, Kravet/Lee Jofa/Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Headboard – Kravet, Kravet/Lee Jofa/Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Lamp – Currey & Co., Judy Frankel Antiques, Troy
Pillows, Accent – Corey Damen Jenkins & Associates, Birmingham; Kravet, Duralee, and Schumacher Fabrics, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Rug – Stark Carpet, Troy
Wall Treatment – Lindsay Cowles

The master suite is simply dreamy.

DINING AREA
Chandelier – Arteriors
Drapery – Corey Damen Jenkins & Associates, Birmingham; Kravet Fabric, Kravet / Lee Jofa / Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Lamps – Currey & Co., RJ Thomas Ltd., Michigan Design Center, Troy
Pillows, Accent – Corey Damen Jenkins & Associates, Birmingham; Kravet Fabric, Kravet/Lee Jofa/Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Rug – West Elm, Birmingham
Wall Treatment – Phillip Jeffries Ltd., Tennant & Associates, Michigan Design Center, Troy

DINING ROOM
Chairs, Dining – Hickory Chair; Pindler Fabric, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Chandelier – Visual Comfort, City Lights Detroit, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Lamps – Visual Comfort, City Lights Detroit, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Mirror – Renwil
Rug – Stark Carpet, Troy
Sculpture, Butterfly-Bust – Global Views
Wall Covering– Kravet, Kravet/Lee Jofa/Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Wooden Buffet Chest – Theodore Alexander, Michigan Design Center, Troy

FLEX ROOM
Drapery – Kravet, Kravet/Lee Jofa/Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Lamp, Table – Currey & Co.
Rug – West Elm
Wallcovering – Phillip Jeffries Ltd., Tennant & Associates, Michigan Design Center, Troy

“An en suite can be a self-contained escape and a complete extravaganza for design,” designer Corey Damen Jenkins says. Deluxe touches include the waterfall-concept vanity and the grasscloth walls.

GREAT ROOM
Armchairs – Hickory Chair; Lee Jofa Fabric, Kravet/Lee Jofa/Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan
Design Center, Troy
Chairs, Dining – Bernhardt Furniture, RJ Thomas Ltd.; Kravet Fabric, Kravet/Lee Jofa/Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Chandelier – Arteriors
Chandelier (over table) – The Urban Electric Co.
Lamp, Navy – Visual Comfort, City Lights Detroit, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Ottoman – Corey Damen Jenkins & Associates, Birmingham; Kravet Fabric, Kravet/Lee Jofa/Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Pillows, Accent – Corey Damen Jenkins & Associates, Birmingham; Schumacher Fabric, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Rug – Stark Carpet, Troy
Sofa, Green – Custom, Corey Damen Jenkins & Associates, Birmingham, Pindler Fabric, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Sofa, Tan – Designer Furniture Services, Pontiac; Kravet Fabric, Kravet/Lee Jofa/Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Window Seat – Custom, Corey Damen Jenkins & Associates, Birmingham; Schumacher Fabric, Michigan Design Center, Troy

KITCHEN
Lighting, Bar – Visual Comfort, City Lights Detroit, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Stools – Design Within Reach
Window Lights – Arteriors

STUDY AREA
Chandelier – Hudson Valley Lighting
Entertainment System – Designer Furniture Services, Pontiac
Lighting, Bookshelf – The Urban Electric Co.
Lighting, Table – Visual Comfort, City Lights Detroit, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Table – West Elm

ADDITIONAL PROJECT CONTRIBUTORS
Architect – TR Design Group, Bloomfield Hills
Builder – Main Street Homes, Ann Arbor

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