Designer in Residence

It was time to make a decision about where to live. Interior designer Marianne Jones was living in a condominium in Birmingham, while her…

It was time to make a decision about where to live. Interior designer Marianne Jones was living in a condominium in Birmingham, while her soon-to-be new husband, Tim Griswold, was residing in a small 1950s Cape Cod-style home on a pleasant, tree-lined street in the same city. As they were beginning a new life together, they needed to review options on what made sense for the couple, who each has grown children.

Marianne Jones

“We were looking for real estate and then we evaluated the situation,” says Jones, whose company, Marianne Jones LLC, is based in Birmingham.

“A realtor walked through some options with me, and said we were better off living where Tim lived and working with that.” The two preferred something where they could both live comfortably, stylishly, and, most of all, efficiently. After much thought, they opted to live in Griswold’s home — but not without first launching a major renovation.

Enter the combined design acumen of Jones, Griswold (who has a building license), architect Glenda Meads of Glenda Meads Architects in Birmingham, and Ben Templeton of Templeton Building Co., also in Birmingham.

Designer in Residence - Office
Bring to Light – Interior designer Marianne Jones says her office now brings the outdoors in. A former dark bedroom with a small door leading to the outside, it’s now the designer’s light-filled home office. “We plan to redo the backyard and have a space where Tim can grill — he’s a great cook!” With cathedral ceilings on the second floor, this newly created bedroom, right, is airy and bright.

In about six months (not the norm), the team transformed a dark bungalow-style Cape Cod with one bathroom into a chic residence that’s perfect for the couple and their visiting families. Fashioned with inviting neutral colors, a variety of textures, meaningful accents and accessories, and long-lasting — as well as efficient — furnishings, the home is not only 100 percent effective; it’s beautiful, too.

“I knew I wanted another bathroom because there’s no way, if the kids are visiting, that we could live with one,” Jones says.

On the first floor, which previously had two bedrooms, walls were removed, the tiny kitchen was expanded and doubled in size, a bedroom space was converted into an office, and a bathroom was entirely overhauled. Meads’ design included a pocket door to separate the back hallway, bathroom, walk-in closet, and bedroom, creating a first-floor master suite. “We can close it off if we have guests,” Jones says.

What is now the office had a 36-inch-wide door leading to the outside. “You had to go through that bedroom to get outside,” Jones says. “Now there’s a 6-foot doorwall looking out to the yard and allowing a lot of light, front to back. It also brings the outdoors in.” Meads notes that the outdoor access is one of her favorite parts of the renovation. “Convenient and aesthetically pleasing access to the backyard doesn’t exist in these post-war Cape Cod-style houses because they all had two bedrooms on the ground floor,” she observes.

Designer in Residence - Collage
The kitchen’s Calcutta marble beehive pattern backsplash complements tones used throughout the home. Practicality comes into play with the drawers, as each has a specific, singular purpose. The new upstairs bathroom accommodates the couple’s visiting children and guests. It features Farrow & Ball block-printed wallpaper (it’s a vertical paper but is hung horizontally). The kitchen has double the number of windows and more space, and now has room for a favorite dining table. The front yard landscaping was overhauled by West Oaks Landscaping & Design of White Lake.

[caption id="attachment_30428" align="aligncenter" width="762"] The DiMaggios’ breakfast room basks in wonderful natural light.[/caption]Deadlines can yield miracles. Just ask Meg Corley, founder and principal designer of Meg Corley Premier Interiors in Birmingham, who was put to the test with a 9,300-square-foot home remodel in Rochester that needed to be finished in time for the backyard wedding of her clients’ son. “We had pretty much demolished the entire home, and then the lockdown started,” Corley says. “The initial wedding date was moved to early September, and luckily my clients weren’t living (in the home).[caption id="attachment_30449" align="alignright" width="195"] Designer Meg Corley is in her element.[/caption]“We wanted to save the amazing bones and other details, like the molding that was already in place,” Corley continues, describing the Moceri custom home which was built in 1999. (Mario Moceri, one of the owners of Moceri Custom Homes, had lived in the home.)The property made quite the impression on Steven and Anne DiMaggio, who have four grown children. “It has an amazing backyard. They fell in love with the pond, four waterfalls, and the bridge, and they wanted to love the inside just as much,” Corley says.Classic updates make a statement right from the start, with a series of intaglio prints above a smoky gray velvet sofa in the great room, near the entrance. “It’s very dramatic,” Corley says. She explains that she considers the new look more current, with a relaxed traditional aesthetic.The existing millwork got a makeover, including the oak details in the library. “We used a really dark gel stain that made them sing a little more, and added wallcovering to the back of the bookshelves,” she says. “We took the bones of the house and made them better.”[caption id="attachment_30416" align="alignnone" width="1000"] The great room’s art features an intaglio technique.[/caption]A cozy kitchen nook features a custom banquette with a tapestry back and an easy-to-clean vinyl seat. The wallcovering and ceiling beams draw the eye up, while the view to the terrace that overlooks the pool and pond is captivating.More eye candy can be found in the master bathroom, where grasscloth covers the paneling. “It gives some warmth and texture,” Corley says. Wool carpet and a crystal chandelier join nightstands with a two-tone effect that add contrast to the more streamlined background. “It’s more traditional, so I wanted to marry the two to flow together, making it seem a little more timeless,” the designer explains.Embroidered floral draperies inspired the peaceful palette, which features warm neutrals on a wider spectrum that includes grays, coppers, and green at the forefront.[caption id="attachment_30419" align="alignnone" width="1000"] The entertainment room has a nice mix of patterns and decorative accents. A Schumacher fabric with a feline pattern is fun.[/caption]The master bath was demolished to open up the space. “It had a lot of angles and they wanted a larger shower, so we had to square things up to get that great shower and a freestanding tub,” Corley says. A tile runway sets the tone as you walk through the double doors. “It gives a really great ground for the tub,” she says.The lower level, meanwhile, was completely redone. “They wanted a lower level that felt like an extension of the rest of the home, not a basement,” Corley says. A TV built-in joins a custom coffee table that’s edged in leather and is a multifunctional piece. The lower-level dining area, where a new archway echoes the built-in, makes it easy to seat 20 for Thanksgiving dinner.A new powder room with feather wallpaper speaks to Anne’s fondness for whimsical motifs. “A little pattern pulls her heartstrings, and it plays well against the black-and-white hex marble,” Corley says. “A powder room should be like a jewelry box.”Corley, who was still installing two days before the wedding, deserves praise for her efforts, but she’s hesitant to take the spotlight. Instead, she credits her clients and colleagues for the project’s success. “They were so easygoing, and I couldn’t have done it without my staff and all the trades. It’s a team effort. I want to give them kudos.”Steven gives it right back: “Meg was very professional and she GC’d (general contracted) the project,” he says.Guests say they feel like they’re at a resort, and when the wedding planner posted photos of the big day, people said: “I want to book my wedding there!”Heirloom Treasures Library Legends: The DiMaggio library, above, tells many stories, and not necessarily just in its books. First, there’s the family crest that hangs on one wall. Then there’s the pottery crafted by the couple’s children, and a sentimental stamp collection Anne DiMaggio received from her father.  “It’s a wonderful place to go and sit, surrounded by family mementoes and memories,” homeowner Steven DiMaggio says. DiMaggio, who’s also passionate about baseball history, keeps a picture of his grandfather above the family crest to remind him of that. And how does Grandpa DiMaggio relate to baseball? Well, it’s in the name. Legendary center fielder Joe DiMaggio was Steven’s grandfather’s cousin. — JM[caption id="attachment_30425" align="alignnone" width="1000"] The master bedroom, master bath, and powder room all feature top-notch elements, from lighting and linens to drapery and wall treatments.[/caption] BUYER’S GUIDE INTERIOR DESIGNER Meg Corley, Meg Corley Premier Interiors, Birmingham, megcorley.comBATHROOM, MASTER Artwork – By the Pond II, Paragon Bathtub – Jacuzzi Soaking Tub, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Troy Cabinet – Omega Cabinets, Acorn Kitchen & Bath, Pontiac Countertop – Crystallo, PMP Marble and Granite, Troy Floor Tile (decorative) – Verona Blend Polished Herringbone, Beaver Tile & Stone, Michigan Design Center, Troy Flooring – Anatolia Mayfair, Virginia Tile, Michigan Design Center, Troy Sconces – Oxford Sconce, Visual Comfort Shower Accent Tile – Pixel Décor Mix in Glacial, Virginia Tile, Michigan Design Center, Troy Shower Tile – Anatolia Mayfair, Virginia Tile, Michigan Design Center, Troy Stool – Custom, Meg Corley Private Label, Birmingham; Fabric, Sarong Weave, Schumacher, Michigan Design Center, Troy Wall Paint – Sherwin-Williams, Big Chill Window Shades – Custom; Border, Samuel & Sons, Fabrics, Lange Glazed, Schumacher, Michigan Design Center, TroyBATHROOM, POWDER ROOM Flooring – Hex A Peel, Mission Stone Tile Lighting – Open Work Sconce, Visual Comfort Sink – Archer, Kohler, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Troy Wallpaper – Quill Gold, Designers Guild, Rozmallin, Michigan Design Center, TroyBEDROOM, MASTER Bed Frame – Burbank, Century Furniture; Fabric, Finn, Schumacher, Michigan Design Center, Troy Bedding – Serena and Lily Chandelier – Milazzo Waterfall, Visual Comfort Chests, Bedside – Tribeca nightstand, Century Furniture Drapery – Japonica, Romo, Tennant & Associates, Michigan Design Center, Troy Flooring – Whitfield Natural Textiles Lamps, Table – Contemporary Balustrade, Visual Comfort Sofa – Custom, Meg Corley Private Label, Birmingham; Fabric, Kravet/Lee Jofa/Brunschwig & Fils Table, Coffee – Paragon Club, Century Furniture Wall Insets – Haruki Sisal, Schumacher, Michigan Design Center, Troy Wall Paint, Trim – Sherwin-Williams, Passive Window Shades – Hartmann&Forbes, Tennant & Associates, Michigan Design Center, TroyBREAKFAST NOOK Ceiling Treatment – Custom, Meg Corley Private Label, Birmingham Bench, Dining – Custom, Meg Corley Private Label, Birmingham; Fabric, Walden, Cowtan & Tout Chairs, Dining – Matter Vinyl Seats, Kravet/Lee Jofa/Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan Design Center, Troy Drapery – Lange Glazed Linen/Arches Embroidered Tape, Schumacher, Michigan Design Center, Troy Table, Dining – Custom, Century Furniture Wallpaper – Regatta Raffia, Thibaut, Rozmallin, Michigan Design Center, TroyDINING ROOM Artwork – LeftBank ART Chairs –  Meg Corley Private Label Lamps – Visual Comfort Table and Buffet –  Alfonso MarinaDINING ROOM (lower level) Chandelier – Farlane, Visual Comfort Chairs, Dining – Streamline Side Chair, Caracole Drapery Fabric – Feline, Schumacher, Michigan Design Center, Troy Flooring – Whitfield Natural Textiles Sconces – Edie Baluster, Visual Comfort Table, Dining – Open Invitation Table, Caracole Wall Paint – Sherwin-Williams, Mindful GrayENTERTAINMENT ROOM Cabinet, Entertainment – Custom, Meg Corley Private Label, Birmingham Ceiling Treatment – Easy Elegance Ceiling Tiles, Armstrong Drapery – Fabric, Feline, Schumacher, Michigan Design Center, Troy Flooring – Whitfield Natural Textiles Pillows, Accent – Feline/Rocky/Arlo, Schumacher, Michigan Design Center, Troy Sofa – Meg Corley Private Label, Birmingham; Fabric, Alistair, Schumacher, Michigan Design Center, Troy Table, Coffee – Redford Ottoman, Century Furniture Wall Paint – Sherwin-Williams, Mindful GrayGREAT ROOM Artwork – Mint Wood Home, Intaglios Flooring – Aria, Prestige Mills Lamps, Table – Ponte Chap, The Natural Light Pillows, Accent – Yves/Xanadu, Kravet/Lee Jofa/Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan Design Center, Troy Sofa – Meg Corley Private Label, Birmingham Table, Coffee – Louviers Cocktail Table, Alfonso Marina Table, End – Bridgeton, Century Furniture Wall Paint – Sherwin-Williams, Mindful GrayKITCHEN Backsplash – Virginia Tile Countertop – Victoria Falls, PMP Marble & Granite, Troy Drapery – Schumacher Stools –  Meg Corley Private Label , BirminghamLIBRARY Armchairs – Meg Corley Private Label, Birmingham; Fabric, Louis, Kravet/Lee Jofa/Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan Design Center, Troy Ceiling Treatment – Cork Metallic, Thibaut, Rozmallin, Michigan Design Center, Troy Light, Ceiling – Basil, Visual Comfort Pillows, Accent – Tomato, Romo, Tennant & Associates, Michigan Design Center, Troy Rug – Stark Carpet, Troy Sofa – Meg Corley Private Label, Birmingham; Fabric, Hue, Kirby Table, Coffee – Long Shelf Life, Caracole Wallpaper –Sisal, York Wall coverings, Rozmallin, Michigan Design Center, TroyADDITIONAL PROJECT CONTRIBUTOR Design Assistant – Calynn Berry, Meg Corley Premier Interiors, Birmingham

In addition to the not-so-convenient layout, the dark home had angled archways and clipped ceilings. “Glenda did a great job — she brought light in,” Jones says. The new light sources include a front door with glass, doubling the number of windows in the kitchen, and removing a wall to take advantage of southern light.

“The moment we opened up the downstairs by removing a wall and door, we got natural light coming from upstairs,” Jones says. “It now feels like a complete house. Before, the upstairs, which was simply one long bedroom with a closet, seemed like an afterthought.” The team resized the second floor’s duct work, and zoned the heating and cooling. “I don’t think it was meant for someone to actually spend time up there,” Jones says. The upstairs now includes a chic bathroom and two inviting bedrooms. Griswold suggested taking the ceilings in those bedrooms to cathedral height, and the team added plenty of storage and bumped out a space to gain the bathroom.

“The large added dormer provides curb-appeal and creates more space for bedrooms, which now have charming sloped ceilings,” Meads says.

Meads came up with the idea to change up the home’s footprint. “Instead of the house running east/west as it did, it now runs like a cross,” Jones explains. “By doing that and raising the roof, it gave us what we needed. We only added 200 square feet, but we have so much more usable space.”

Adds Meads: “The challenge was to create rooms on the second floor (to free up space downstairs for a master suite), while keeping the footprint and elevation of the house in scale with the original design and the neighborhood.”

As for interior design, the couple aimed to create beauty by combining their favorite pieces and adding a few new touches along the way. “In a smaller home, continuity and flow from one room to the next are important,” Jones says, “so we wanted the living room and office to feel like one design. I like a neutral palette, and I add interest with great, one-of-a-kind rugs.”

Jones says she also likes to mix antiques with clean edges, and blending old and new. The “old” in the office includes an oil painting from the late 1800s, found at the Golden Fig Gallery in Birmingham; a cigar tin mold, now framed, that Griswold discovered; and chairs passed down from a grandparent that have been newly reupholstered. The “new,” meanwhile, includes a large mirror from Baker, a console desk from Schumacher, a beautiful hide rug, and lighting fixtures from Circa Lighting.

In the kitchen, the Calcutta marble beehive-pattern backsplash from Ann Sacks echoes the palette used throughout the home. “It has warm and cool tones and soft whites,” Jones says, adding that blending warm and cool is currently a popular theme. “You want that mix; it creates interest.” A gorgeous weatherstone gray marble countertop complements the neutral tones.

Most of the furnishings and window treatments are constructed of wool or linen. “I like subtle, layered texture and tone, and if I’m going to live with something for a long time, I want good fabric that wears well,” Jones says. In the living room, plenty of seating for visiting family and friends was a must. She loves flexible seating and has little benches “where a person can perch.” She also opted for swivel chairs that you can watch TV from, or can turn to easily engage in a conversation. “Everything has a purpose,” she says.

The couple also opted to put in wood floors and take the wood upstairs, as well. “The cost is really no different than carpet,” Jones observes. “The cost is in the rugs, but I love decorating with rugs.” A herringbone runner from Stark Carpet enhances the new staircase opening.

In the end, Jones and Griswold are walking on sunshine, and have a lot more of it in their newly renovated home. Besides bringing light into the house, they also wanted a well-appointed home that would meet their family’s needs.

“We didn’t want a house to hold us so that we can’t travel and do things,” Jones says. “We didn’t want to feel like the house was managing us. We did everything right.”

Order in the Kitchen

Designer in Residence - Kitchen

For interior designer Marianne Jones, it’s all about easy living. That comes with being organized, Jones says. She created proficiency in her kitchen by giving each drawer a purpose. “There’s a cooking drawer, a baking drawer, a table-setting drawer,” she explains. “Service pieces are stored near where they will be used.

“I try to do the same thing for clients. I keep plates down low; that way, it’s easier on your back — but also, kids can help set the table.”

She prefers all-white pieces (these are from Juliska, Crate & Barrel, and Williams-Sonoma). Items for large gatherings, like linens and platters, are stored in the basement. “We were clear with what we needed and how we wanted to live,” Jones says. — MS