Coming Home: Muted Elegance

A young woman returns to her roots during COVID, purchases her first house, and calls on astute designer Katie Rodriguez
White oak flooring, light cabinetry, and zellige tile give the kitchen a bright and airy feel.

When Kate Holden moved back to Michigan from San Francisco during the COVID-19 pandemic, she had no idea the move would change her life. Not only did she decide to stay (she now works remotely for her company, Salesforce), but she bought her first house and, not long after, met her husband-to-be, David McCormack.

“Had COVID not happened, I wouldn’t have ended up here,” says Holden, who grew up in Bloomfield Hills and later worked in cities around the world. In the fall of 2021, she purchased a PRM Custom Builders spec home in Birmingham that was in the early stages of development.

When it came to finding an interior designer, Holden’s brother reminded her that designer Katie Rodriguez is a family friend. Holden first called on a few other designers and then contacted the astute Birmingham-based Rodriguez, who runs Katie Rodriguez Design. “Katie and I walked the property together and they were just starting to frame the house,” Holden says. “I liked Katie’s portfolio and design style best,” she says.

TIMELESSLY MODERN – This sleek Birmingham residence owes its signature style to designer Katie Rodriguez and homeowner Kate Holden.

The home, with three bedrooms on the second floor and one on the third, is tall and narrow, Holden says, adding, “Katie was instrumental in helping me make decisions on structure, space maximization, and style.”

Holden prefers neutrals and muted tones, and told her designer that she sways toward designer Jenni Kayne’s California-inspired lifestyle vibe as well as McGee & Co.’s offerings. “Katie could translate my style by looking at my inspiration photos,” she says.

Casual Refinement – With its neutral palette and muted tones, the family room represents Kate Holden’s style

Explains Rodriguez: “Pictures do speak a thousand words. I look at what the common themes are in the photos, including feeling and palette. And then (I can) start to deviate a little from that when the client comes to trust me. I try to help the client find their own personal style.”

Both the designer and the homeowner were crazy about the white oak flooring. “It’s light and airy. And it has a bit of a knot to it, so it has an earthy feel,” Rodriguez says.

Because Holden now works from home, the office was one of the most important spaces to consider during the design process. “I needed something that I could transition into from being at home to being focused on my job,” Holden says. They also considered Holden and McCormack’s Lola, a sweet golden retriever who loves to be near her owner when she’s working. “We came up with a plan so that she could look out the window and still be near me,” Holden says. The sofa that 10-year-old Lola climbs onto for viewing outdoor activity needed to be low and firm, Holden says.

Regarding office colors, Rodriguez says she’s happy they “made the decision to do the office dark. People working from home need to feel happy in their work environment, and there needs to be a differentiation between work and home. The deep color is calming.”

Top left: A commissioned abstract painting by Sam Kupiec is the showpiece of the dining room. Top Right: The primary suite’s boutique feel is due to its calming color palette and use of natural materials and textures. Bottom left: An uplifting office that was distinguishable from the rest of the home was a necessity. Bottom right: The Jack & Jill powder room is effortlessly chic with concrete counters.

An inviting bar with a durable, granite surface is located just beyond the office before you get to the kitchen and dining room. The bar sits beneath a pretty, arched ceiling and echoes the same deep blue-gray tone that adorns the office. “Kate wanted to be able to set the bar up for guests with doors that track back so you can close it, too, and it’s not on display all the time.”

In the kitchen, light cabinetry and ceramic, zellige tile (with an unrefined clay base, whereby each tile is artistic and unique) runs from the quartz countertop all the way to the ceiling. “Katie makes unique suggestions like that,” Holden says. “It makes the space feel larger.” The homeowner and her fiancé love to entertain, and they use the butler’s pantry for putting out delectable spreads. Floating shelves hold items the couple use every day.

For sit-down meals, a welcoming dining room is just the ticket. There, a commissioned abstract painting by Sam Kupiec turns heads. “We knew the exact size and the colors we needed, and could go back and forth with the artist,” the designer shares.

Left: The homeowner often uses the butler’s pantry while entertaining. Right: A departure from the home’s neutral hues, the powder room features a moody Morris & Co. wallpaper.

Wallpaper can be considered art, too. Holden says she wanted a bold pattern in the powder room, to break up the many neutrals on the main floor. Pink blooms mingle with deep indigo, verdant greens, and lush golds to create a striking pattern.

The primary bedroom — with its textured lamps, rich woods, black-framed windows, soft grays and creams, and a round chandelier with romantic, small lights — is reminiscent of a guest room in a fine boutique hotel.

The couple spends most of their time in the living room. “I wanted it functional and casual, and I wanted the ability to cook dinner and be near people who are watching football games or whatever,” Holden says.

Left: A cozy Arhaus accent chair in the primary suite is a relaxing addition. Right: An arched built-in bar with a granite surface echoes the same deep tones of the office.

Overall, the design process for this first-time homeowner was an enjoyable journey. “Katie helps facilitate a nice experience. She broke the process into small, manageable steps to eliminate the stress. We even had a shared Dropbox with the whole team so we could be sure we were all on the same page and could easily recall how we arrived at various decisions.”

Adds Rodriguez: “More than half of the design process is organization, and the creativity is the rest of it, the fun part. With a construction project, there are many decisions for a homeowner to make. I try not to overwhelm.”

There’s no doubt this home reflects its owner, Rodriguez contends. “It’s very tailored and buttoned up, but at the same time it has a great warmth about it. That’s who Kate is. She’s a warm person but has a modern way about her.”


Katie Rodriguez, Katie Rodriguez Design, Birmingham,

Cabinetry – Elmwood, Garden Gate Finish, Cor Cabinet Solutions, Troy
Countertop – Raw Concrete, Caesarstone, Ciot, Troy
Faucets – Trinsic, Delta, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Troy
Flooring – Luna Engineered White Oak, 6-inch, Costa, PRM Custom Builders, Bloomfield Hills
Hardware – Channing Pull & Lilly Knob, Top Knobs, Russell Hardware, Bloomfield Hills
Mirrors – West Slope Oval Pivot Mirror, Rejuvenation
Wallcovering – Nuvolette, Cole & Son, Kravet | Lee Jofa | Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan Design Center, Troy

Countertop – White River Polished, Trend Quartz, Ciot, Troy
Door – Logan Door, Masonite Doors, Bolyard Lumber, Birmingham
Door, Hardware – Classic Egg Knob, Emtek, Bolyard Lumber, Birmingham
Faucet – Purist, Kohler, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Troy
Light – Ormandy, Rejuvenation
Mirror – Fernis, Made Goods, Katie Rodriguez Design, Birmingham
Vanity – Ambassador 36-inch Freestanding Single Bathroom Vanity Base, Burnt Chocolate, Fairmont Designs, PRM Custom Builders, Bloomfield Hills
Wallcovering – Pimpernel, Morris & Co., Rozmallin, Michigan Design Center, Troy

Bed Frame – Gerston Fabric Panel Bed, Bernhardt, CAI Designs, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Bench – Julian Bench, Community Manufacturing
Chair, Accent – Arhaus
Drapery – Brimar and Joseph Nobel, Decoroom, Michigan Design Center, Troy and SBS Studio; Fabric, Meaningful Ivory
Dresser – Room & Board
Flooring – Luna Engineered White Oak, 6-inch, Costa, PRM Custom Builders, Bloomfield Hills
Lamps – Sonoran Table Lamp, Currey & Co., CAI Designs, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Pillow, Lumbar (Bedding) – Coterie
Rug – Ankara, Kalaty, Hagopian, Birmingham
Table, Side – Prendale Nightstand, Community Manufacturing

Ceiling Detail – White Oak, PRM Custom Builders, Bloomfield Hills
Chairs – Flora Dining Chair, Four Hands
Chandelier – Berkshire 48-inch Linear Pendant, Rejuvenation
Drapery – Brimar and Holly Hunt, Decoroom and Tennant & Associates, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Table, Dining – Peré Dining Table, Community Manufacturing
Wall Art – Commissioned, Sam Kupiec

Cabinet, Bar – Elmwood, Cor Cabinet Solutions, Troy

Appliances, Butler’s Pantry – Microwave, Sharp, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Troy
Barstools – Profile Stool, Design Within Reach
Cabinetry (Dark) – Elmwood, White Oak Washed, Cor Cabinet Solutions, Troy
Cabinetry (Light) – Elmwood, Mist, Cor Cabinet Solutions, Troy
Cabinetry, Pantry – Elmwood, Cor, Troy, MI – Mist and White Oak Washed
Countertop – White River Polished, Trend Quartz, Ciot, Troy
Faucets – Odin, Brizo, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Troy
Hardware – Morris Pull, Top Knobs, Herald Wholesale, Troy
Lighting, Pendant – Rochester Globe Pendant, Visual Comfort, City Lights Detroit, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Refrigerator – Thermador, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Troy
Rug – Adana, Hagopian, Birmingham
Sink – Torun, Signature Hardware, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Troy
Stove – Thermador, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Troy
Tile – Zellige Pure White, Zia Tile

Chair, Accent – Oliver Barrelback Slope Arm Swivel Chair, RH
Drapery – Decoroom and Tennant & Associates, Michigan Design Center, Troy; Fabric, Silver Fox, Suitor, Holly Hunt
Fireplace (Mantel Stone) – Ocean Black Brushed, Ciot, Troy
Flooring – Luna Engineered White Oak, 6-inch, Costa, PRM Custom Builders, Bloomfield Hills
Lighting – Griff Chandelier, Arteriors, Lighting Resource Studio, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Pillows – McGee & Co.
Rug – Davos, Hagopian, Birmingham
Sofa – Belgian Track Arm Slipcovered Sectional, RH
Table, Console – Cline, Community Manufacturing
Throw – McGee & Co.

Cabinetry and Shelving – Built On-site, PRM Custom Builders, Bloomfield Hills; Color, Benjamin Moore, Trout Gray
Chair – Steelcase, NBS Commercial Interiors, Troy
Chandelier – Talon Chandelier, Regina Andrew, Lightology
Desk – Custom, White Oak, Designer Furniture Services, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Door – Weldwork, Royal Oak
Flooring – Luna Engineered White Oak, 6-inch, Costa, PRM Custom Builders, Bloomfield Hills
Lighting, Sconce – David Art Light, Visual Comfort, City Lights Detroit, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Trout Gray

Brick Glaze – Beeck, West Friendship Materials, Detroit
Door, Finish – Rift White Oak with Sikkens Clear Coat
Door, Hardware – Transitional Heritage Monolithic, Emtek, PRM Custom Builders, Bloomfield Hills
Light – Darlana Large Tall Bracketed Wall Lantern, Visual Comfort, City Lights Detroit, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Paint (Light) – High Reflective White, Sherwin-Williams
Paint (Dark) – Gauntlet Gray, Sherwin-Williams
Roof, Asphalt – Landmark Shingles, Moire Black, CertainTeed, PRM Custom Builders, Bloomfield Hills
Roof, Standing Seam – Matte Black, PRM Custom Builders, Bloomfield Hills
Siding – Gauntlet Gray, Sherwin-Williams
Windows – Windsor Windows, PRM Custom Builders, Bloomfield Hills

Architect – Brian Neeper Architecture, Birmingham
Builder – PRM Custom Builders, Bloomfield Hills