Color Courage

Two years ago, a young family with three active boys, plus a dog, transplanted from New Jersey. The businessman father had accepted a transfer and the whole crew settled into a sprawling, center-entrance Georgian-style red brick home in Bloomfield Hills.

Color Courage 1

Two years ago, a young family with three active boys, plus a dog, transplanted from New Jersey. The businessman father had accepted a transfer and the whole crew settled into a sprawling, center-entrance Georgian-style red brick home in Bloomfield Hills.

Set into the neighborhood’s traditional bucolic landscape of rolling green lawns and spread-out estates, the home, built in 1961, holds its own among the gorgeously classic architecture, but visitors are greeted by something just a little different. A vibrant teal gate — whose color required approval by the neighborhood association — and a bright blue front door suggest that there’s some fun to be had beyond the gate and inside the door.

“My husband has been really good about letting my freak flag fly, and trusting it,” says the wife and mother. “I’ve never been afraid of color — I just haven’t had a lot of it in my previous homes.”

Things have changed.

Color Courage - Collage
The beams on a classic Barbara Barry sunburst mirror reflect prisms of stunning color in the dining room. The “refugee” grandfather clock standing guard outside the dining room was rescued from Louisiana just before Hurricane Katrina hit.”When it rings, it’s just beautiful,” the homeowner says. “It makes the house feel like home.” The homeowner chose Nelly Custer Blue, by Fine Paints of Europe, for the dining room walls, then panicked and called designer Lisa Petrella. The designer opted to line the windows with linen draperies from Romo’s Rubani collection, inspired by 1930s archive designs, whose elegant florals gently unite the deep blue of these walls with the ruby red of the living room, as do the colors of the Alexei von Jawlensky print. A Bausman elliptical dining table is surrounded by chairs covered with Romo fabrics — chenille on the outside, and a silky silvery-blue on the inside.

“I really wanted to make this house feel like our house in New Jersey, which had been home for so long,” the wife and mother adds. “It was all pearly gray, really subtle, but we had one wall that was Rembrandt Red, which I loved.” The solution? She had a living room wall in her new home coated in the same painterly high-gloss hue by Fine Paints of Europe (see cover photo). Concerned about balancing the bright room with the other side of the delineated house, the homeowner contacted Fine Paints of Europe to see what they recommended for her dining room, directly across from the living room. An employee recommended Nelly Custer Blue. “So I called a specialist, because these really thick, high-gloss paints require specialists. He tore down the wallpaper, stripped the walls, and painted them while I was out of town. I came home, and I was like, ‘Oh! What have I done?’”

“The goal was to unite, without overwhelming. The bright walls shouldn’t be the focus, but they set the tone.”
— Lisa Petrella, designer

She immediately called designer Lisa Petrella, owner of Petrella Designs in Birmingham, who had been recommended by her realtor. “She was slightly panicked,” Petrella recalls. “We came in and saw these two really strong, highly lacquered colors, but everything on her Pinterest and Houzz pages was all clean and white. I asked her where these colors came from, and she let out a little shriek and said, ‘I don’t know!’”

Color Courage - Collage 2
Porcelain trophy heads from Tozai Home gleam against the F. Schumacher & Co. grasscloth on the family room’s walls. A wing chair beckons with fabric designed by Alessandra Branca for F. Schumacher & Co. A classic damask that has been colorblocked in red and Prussian blue, the pattern prvides a fresh take. Behind it, a Moroccan-inspired pattern repeats on the Kravet draperies. On the fireplace hearth, handpainted ginger pots bring more color to the room, while a wicker basket holding logs was scooped up at HomeGoods. “That’s a true family home,” says Petrella. “An inexpensive find can sit next to an heirloom-quality chair. Not everything has to come at a high-end price.” With a family of five and one big dog, the key to the family room, says Petrella, was to “maximize seating.” A bench-cushion sofa, a swivel chair, two wing chairs, and a pair of hair-on-hide cube ottomans give all a spot. Traditional elements mix with pops of graphic prints to keep things fresh. That includes chevron pillows, an orangey-red wing chair patterned with octagons, curtains with a Moroccan-inspired update of a trellis pattern, and Stark carpet, called Brix, which was cut to an area rug and bound with faux leather.

“Lisa said, ‘OK, we can do this,’ ” the homeowner says. “She even said she thought this would end up being my favorite room in the house. We went to her office, and she had these gorgeous fabrics and prints and colors on her inspiration board, and I started getting really excited.”

The homeowner, says Petrella, is very traditional in many ways. She already owned a lot of antiques — some heirlooms inherited from her mother, others purchased during her years on the East Coast. “And they chose to live in a somewhat traditional neighborhood, architecturally. She’s a fantastic mom; she’s extremely organized, which you have to be with three busy boys, but she wanted to bring some fun and energy into the home, which is also her personality — but she kept bringing us back to very modern elements. I think she really liked the idea of a home that feels like the comfort of grandma’s house, but doesn’t look like grandma’s house.”

Color Courage - Collage 3
“I loved working with Lisa,” the homeowner says of Lisa Petrella (pictured), owner of Petrella Designs in Birmingham. “She helps me see things I would never have imagined. And she’s not afraid of the collaborative process — she’s open to seeing things, too.” The front foyer is the center that divides the whole house: Petrella unified the two sides with a graphic black-and-white stripe Stark rug, which she repeated up the stairs. The console, which the homeowner had in the dining room of her previous home, displays a photo of her mother as a bride, her husband’s family, and a cow — an homage to her father-in-law, a gentleman farmer in upstate New York. For the powder room, Petrella selected a silver, gold, and black hand-printed paper designed by Martyn Lawrence Bullard for F. Schumacher & Co. and inspired by a traditional Moroccan star pattern. The gold in the covering is repeated in the painted ceiling, which shimmers with a teardrop chandelier. “We wanted this to be like a cool little jewel box in the foyer, before you walk out to all the other colors in the house,” says Petrella.

Petrella began by layering around the teal dining-room wall. She found fabrics to tie together the teal-blue and the Rembrandt Red in the family room, while softening the thick gloss of the blue. “We were combining a lot of elements, like the bright colors she had chosen, and integrating some of the antique pieces that she loved, but also putting a fresh, light spin on everything,” Petrella says. “The goal was to unite, without overwhelming. The bright walls shouldn’t be the focus, but they set the tone. Once (the homeowner) began to trust us, she wasn’t afraid of going all-out.”

Early on in the design project, trouble arose when the basement flooded with sewage. Petrella and the homeowner turned the problem into an opportunity by deciding to create a “locker room” for the homeowners’ sons — like their father before them, serious hockey players who travel throughout the U.S. and even abroad. Petrella designed cubbies where each boy can store his gear, and when they get home from games or tournaments, their mom sends them directly to the locker room so they can take off their wet clothing, shower, change, and come upstairs all cleaned up.

Color Courage - Dining Area
Serving Up Style – In the kitchen’s dining area, a custom Bausman double pedestal table anchors a circle of commercial French bistro-style chairs with woven seats and backs. Host and hostess chairs are covered in an Alessandra Branca fabric. The same Kravet fabric used for curtains in the family room is repeated here, as curtains and as Roman shades. The elongated lantern-style chandelier adds drama without blocking views from the kitchen’s workspaces (not shown). “My mother loved it so much, she ordered one for her own house,” the homeowner says.

The homeowner was pleased with the results — she now has a home that is supremely usable for her family and their friends. “Every room had to have enough space for each member of the family, and then some, to sit comfortably, to play a game, or just hang out together,” Petrella says.

In the end, it was the idea of traditional family togetherness that drew the homeowners to this neighborhood and to this home. “I love it,” the wife and mother says. “And, yes, the dining room is now my favorite room in the house.”

Color Courage - Collage 4
When the basement flooded midway through the design process, the homeowner and Petrella jumped at the opportunity to create special details there, too. A full bath, replete with a locker room-style urinal and an easy-wash subway tile backsplash, allow the three sons to clean up downstairs after playing hockey. The husband’s college hockey jersey is framed on the wall. The colorful front door, guarded by the family’s dog, Jersey Girl, and painted outside and in, was determined from the dining-room wall. A teal gate, a slightly deeper shade than the front door, leads to the pool; the gate color required approval from the neighborhood association, whose members ended up loving it.

[caption id="attachment_28960" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] INFORM STUDIO WITH VISTAL HOMES This Northille home features a winning contemporary style. It took second place in Contemporary Architecture (up to 4,000 square feet). // Photograph by Steve Kroodsma[/caption]HISTORIC RENOVATION (50 YEARS AND OLDER) [caption id="attachment_28969" align="aligncenter" width="981"] McIntosh Poris Associates // Photograph by Justin Maconochie[/caption] 1st Place: McIntosh Poris Associates This historic property is the oldest residence on the street; it was originally a farmhouse dating back to 1901. The goal was to update and modernize the existing farmhouse for a more contemporary aesthetic. Exterior renovations include replacing the siding and the roof, installing new windows, rebuilding the porch, and adding a new railing. Lastly, a metal awning was installed at the side of the garage.[caption id="attachment_28972" align="aligncenter" width="750"] North + Birch Interior Design with Weberman Construction // Photograph by Diana Paulson[/caption] 2nd Place: North + Birch Interior Design with Weberman Construction [caption id="attachment_28978" align="aligncenter" width="795"] Anahi Hollis Design // Photograph by Martin Vecchio[/caption] 3rd Place: Anahi Hollis DesignSMALL-SPACE REMODEL (UP TO 1,000 SQUARE FEET) [caption id="attachment_28981" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Glenda Meads Architects // Photograph by Beth Singer[/caption] 1st Place: M William Designs with Avripas Construction | Eurocraft Interiors An industrial garage shell was transformed into three floors of over-the-top opulence, where a rotating collection of fine automobiles is showcased in an environment where they’re the stars of the show. Automobile eye-candy was hoisted to a second-floor viewing platform with a glass-enclosed office above, ensuring a getaway from the everyday grind. Relax at the ledge overlook, which peers onto the professional racetrack, or enjoy the spacious, party-friendly terrace.[caption id="attachment_28984" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] CBI Design Professionals Inc. with Colleen Farrell Design // Photograph by Beth Singer[/caption] 2nd Place: Eview 360 [caption id="attachment_28987" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Architectural Resource // Photograph by James Haefner[/caption] 3rd Place: Patricia Rhodes Consulting with California ClosetsDesigner’s Goal: We wanted to reimagine the layout and finishes for an open, fresh, loft-like, condo alternative, with casual living and entertaining space. — Glenda Meads ArchitectsLARGE REMODEL (MORE THAN 1,000 SQUARE FEET) [caption id="attachment_29257" align="aligncenter" width="729"] Photography by Martin Vecchio[/caption] 1st Place: Sterling Development Corporation This 100-year-old Colonial home was completely restored and upgraded. Amenities include an elevator, wine room, and open floor plan. The kitchen was reconfigured, and French doors let in lots of light. All bathrooms were reconfigured and renovated. The second floor features four bedrooms, an art studio with exposed brick walls, and a reclaimed wood floor from a Detroit firehouse. The exterior and landscaping were also upgraded.Designer's Goals: To make an old barn in Dexter livable for use as a family home. We had to break up the space so that it could serve several functions — cooking, dining, living, playing! — Forward Design Build Remodel[caption id="attachment_29251" align="aligncenter" width="915"] Photography by Martin Vecchio[/caption] 2nd Place: Johnson Custom Homes with Krieger Klatt Architects Inc. [caption id="attachment_29254" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by Martin Vecchio[/caption] 3rd Place: Forward Design Build RemodelADDITION PROJECT (ARCHITECTURE) [caption id="attachment_29215" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by Martin Vecchio[/caption] 1st Place: Johnson Custom Homes with Krieger Klatt Architects Inc. The homeowners wanted an exterior layout that was open and inviting. It was also important to design a home that was welcoming, comfortable, and contained ample daylight, as well as being energy-efficient, and the addition had to feel as if it was always there. The interior design is timeless, high-end, and sophisticated; details like exposed timber framing and a stone fireplace add to the charm.[caption id="attachment_29218" align="aligncenter" width="856"] Photography by Beth Singer[/caption] 2nd Place: CBI Design Professionals Inc. with Colleen Farrell Design [caption id="attachment_29221" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by Beth Singer[/caption] 3rd Place: Glenda Meads ArchitectsAPARTMENT/LOFT/CONDO [caption id="attachment_29224" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by Kristopher Ilich[/caption] 1st Place: RL Concetti A young family purchased an industrial space in Detroit and wanted to transform it into a home. To honor the roots of the building, the steel I-beams, original concrete floors, and exposed brick were kept, and infused with a natural, earthy feel by incorporating furniture featuring natural elements, soft neutral tones throughout, and an abundance of greenery. The result? Historic Detroit meets a modern Bohemian aesthetic!Designer's Goals: A young family purchased an industrial space located in the Warehouse District of Detroit. They asked us to help transform the space into a home. It was important that we honored their love of an industrial aesthetic and blended it with their natural, holistic lifestyle. — RL Concetti[caption id="attachment_29227" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by Kristopher Ilich[/caption] 2nd Place: RL Concetti [caption id="attachment_29230" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by Jeff Garland[/caption] 3rd Place: Authentic Kitchen & Design with M.J. Whelan ConstructionVACATION HOME IN MICHIGAN [caption id="attachment_29296" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by James Yochum[/caption] 1st Place: Allegretti Architects Inc. This Lake Michigan project started in 2005 when a young professional couple was searching for a cutting-edge, sustainable home. In 2008 it stopped, due to the economic downturn. In 2012, an investor envisioned potential and the initial designs were reimagined, while maintaining many of the sustainable features. Embracing the dune topography helped to creatively inform the lakeside configuration of the home’s shape, while simultaneously designing an efficient tower home.[caption id="attachment_29299" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by Wayup Media[/caption] 2nd Place: AZD Associates with Pearsall Construction [caption id="attachment_29302" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by James Haefner[/caption] 3rd Place: DesRosiers Architects with Heartwood Custom BuildersVACATION HOME OUTSIDE OF MICHIGAN [caption id="attachment_29305" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by AZD Associates[/caption] 1st Place: AZD Associates This house was designed for minimal maintenance and lots of relaxing. The exterior is a blend of stone, wood, stucco with metal accents, and a metal roof. The wood is actually a maintenance-free tile. Floor-to-ceiling glass provides panoramic views of the pool and waterway. The kitchen has retractable doors leading to a detached cabana with cooking appliances and a bar. It’s the perfect no-maintenance getaway![caption id="attachment_29308" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by Jason Nuttle[/caption] 2nd Place: DesRosiers Architects with Perla Lichi Interior Design [caption id="attachment_29311" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by Sarah Szwajkos[/caption] 3rd Place: Visbeen ArchitectsNEW MODEL HOME (ARCHITECTURE) [caption id="attachment_29260" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by Beth Singer[/caption] 1st Place: Cottage Company Interiors with Cottage Company of Harbor Springs A six-bedroom, six-bathroom home located along Harbor Springs’ historic waterfront features 6,800 square feet of indoor/outdoor living space, a rooftop deck with an outdoor kitchen and fireplace, a hydraulic elevator, and a walk-out lower level with a covered patio, water views, and bike garage. It also includes two linear fireplaces, a chef’s kitchen, extensive millwork with period-correct architectural detailing, and energy-efficient sustainable design.Designers' Goals: This stunning, transitional model Ranch home was largely designed with a couple in mind,  looking to downsize, while still maintaining a large, open living space. — KSI Kitchen & Bath with Moceri Homes[caption id="attachment_29263" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by Martin Vecchio[/caption] 2nd Place: KSI Kitchen & Bath with Moceri Homes [caption id="attachment_29266" align="aligncenter" width="931"] Photography by Wayup Media[/caption] 3rd Place: Moceri HomesCONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE (UP TO 4,000 SQUARE FEET) [caption id="attachment_29242" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by Marta Perez[/caption] 1st Place: A. Lane Architecture A Scandinavian-inspired contemporary home is unexpected among traditional homes. The floor plan was efficiently laid out to accommodate the Phase 2 addition of a garage with an in-law suite that extends the simple gable volume toward the rear. The house is fairly close to the sidewalk and street, so there’s a balance within the front elevation of windows and wall, allowing for plenty of natural light and privacy.Judge's Insights: This home (by A. Lane Architecture) is striking! — Judge Iantha Carley[caption id="attachment_29245" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by Steve Kroodsma[/caption] 2nd Place: Inform Studio with Vistal Homes [caption id="attachment_29248" align="aligncenter" width="920"] Photography by Ryan Halsey[/caption] 3rd Place: Giraffe Design BuildCONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE (MORE THAN 4,000 SQUARE FEET) [caption id="attachment_29233" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by Beth Singer[/caption] 1st Place: VanBrouck and Associates with Ellwood Interiors This Prairie-style lakehouse sits on the crest of a hill, showcasing magnificent panoramic views of a tranquil lake. Beautifully articulated horizontal and vertical lines, delineated in stone, brick, wood, metal, and glass, root the home to the land, and are repeated throughout the interior design. A quiet lake-inspired color palette of gray, white, and sand hues, with a whisper of blue, establishes a serene ambiance.[caption id="attachment_29236" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by Justin Maconochie[/caption] 2nd Place: McIntosh Poris Associates [caption id="attachment_29239" align="aligncenter" width="941"] Photography by Karl Moses[/caption] 3rd Place: Brian Neeper Architecture, PC with Oliver Max Inc.TRADITIONAL ARCHITECTURE (UP TO 4,000 SQUARE FEET) [caption id="attachment_29287" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by James Haefner[/caption] 1st Place: DesRosiers Architects with Heartwood Custom Builders The home its owners call “Timbers” was created to be a lodge-style structure that takes advantage of lake and forest views. It’s a simple one-level cottage featuring a full-length central great room; the four corners are occupied by three bedrooms and a screened porch. The porch has hidden automated roll screens and large sliding glass doors, allowing it to become part of the great room and kitchen.[caption id="attachment_29290" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by Jeff Garland[/caption] 2nd Place: M.J. Whelan Construction [caption id="attachment_29293" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by Jeff Garland[/caption] 3rd Place: Angelini & Associates Architects with Brian Robards Custom HomesTRADITIONAL ARCHITECTURE (MORE THAN 4,000 SQUARE FEET) [caption id="attachment_29278" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by James Haefner[/caption] 1st Place: Brian Neeper Architecture, PC with Joseph Philip Craig Custom Homes Establishing a strong connection to the beachfront on this large and heavily wooded hillside site was the goal. Two flanking four-car garage wings act as retaining walls and create a motor-court entry to the main level of the home. All living and sleeping spaces are geared toward the southern vistas of the lake. Traditional cottage-style interiors evoke comfort, reminiscent of past vacations to northern Michigan.[caption id="attachment_29281" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Photography by Karl Moses[/caption] 2nd Place: Martini Samartino Design Group [caption id="attachment_29284" align="aligncenter" width="986"] Photography by Beth Singer[/caption] 3rd Place: Glenda Meads ArchitectsOVERALL HOME [caption id="attachment_29269" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by Martin Vecchio[/caption] 1st Place: Merien Daka Design Group Leaving behind a traditional home, this family was ready to build their dream home. No detail was overlooked, from custom cabinetry in the kitchen and bathrooms to custom furnishings, floor coverings, and accessories. The homeowners weren’t afraid of color or materials, so with the freedom to use deep/dark tones and to mix metals and glass and showcase patterns and textures, their vision was brought to life.[caption id="attachment_29272" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by Meghan Labra[/caption] 2nd Place: Labra Design Build [caption id="attachment_29275" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photography by Beth Singer[/caption] 3rd Place: VanBrouck | Luxe Homes with Ellwood InteriorsDetroit Design Awards 2021 Judges Details Exteriors Interiors Homes Commercial Design Rising Star Readers' Choice