Family Affair

A Grosse Pointe Farms-based designer transforms living spaces for young families in two east-side homes // Photography by Kat Stevenson

Colorado Casual

When Alexis Elley, owner of Textures Design, was hired to design the family room and foyer in a Grosse Pointe Farms home during the summer of 2020, the new homeowners — who had bought the home sight-unseen — were still living in Chicago.

“My husband grew up in Grosse Pointe Farms and received a promotion in the Detroit area. When we toured the home on FaceTime, we had already lost out on four homes,” the wife explains. “The home was built in the early ’70s and it was outdated. I had a hard time visualizing how we were going to make this work; it felt very formal and I wanted comfortable, functional, and stylish.”

An Aspen aesthetic is just what the homeowners were after for the gathering space in their Grosse Pointe Farms home.

The Grosse Pointe Farms-based designer adds: “This is a young, growing family. They love an Aspen aesthetic, as the wife’s family has a home there. This was a super traditional home and the new owners don’t have super traditional tastes. It was important to update the home and bring light and warmth in.”

Elley says  there was already textured wallpaper in both  the family room (deep-blue) and foyer (yellow) and that remained, although the team decided to paint the yellow paper white.

Natural Vibes
Animal prints, brasses and golds, verdant greens, and rich blacks help make the foyer welcoming.

The blue walls in the family room popped against freshly painted white trim, shelving, and a bar area, which received new lighting beneath the shelves. The fireplace was updated, wood floors were installed, and the ceiling beams were wrapped with reclaimed white oak to provide depth and character. “We wanted a cozy, comfortable, rustic look,” the homeowner says. “The blue patterned rug helps tie it all together.”

Elley used natural elements such as leather furniture and lamps, cowhide pillows, and accessories including a jute deer head to add texture, interest, and warmth to the room.

Freshly painted white trim and shelving together with navy walls (textured wallpaper) evoke a fresh, snowy, blue-sky day in Colorado. Wood beams, wrapped with reclaimed white oak, and earthy accents add a rustic touch.

Part of the transformation involved opening the space by removing a wall between the kitchen and family room, enabling the homeowners to see their young children from the kitchen. This also lets light into both rooms.

The foyer had a stately crystal chandelier, which was kept to serve as a focal point in the space, but the overall feeling after the redesign is updated and polished. “We were able to blend modern, traditional, and contemporary styling with paint, abstract art, and neutral drapery,” Elley says.

Beverage, Anyone?
A mini-bar in the family room features new lighting. The artwork, “Aspen Lone Skier” by Gray Malin Fine Art Photography, reminds the family of their treasured times in Colorado.

“At first, I couldn’t see that it could be different and that we could make it our own,” the homeowner says. “Thankfully, Alexis, the Realtor, and my husband could see it. It’s so bright and welcoming now.”

Comfy to Couture
The homeowners chose a gray sectional made with performance fabric and a leather ottoman. The wagon wheel chandelier is reminiscent of a cozy ski lodge.

Form & Function

Interior designer Alexis Elley says she was delighted to work on a home design project for Jeff and Katie Marano, who relocated from Chicago to Grosse Pointe Farms with their young family in February 2020. Katie grew up in Grosse Pointe, and she and her husband moved back to Michigan to be closer to family.

The couple purchased a brick Colonial that was built in 1949 and had a large family room added in 1994. “The house was dated and clearly someone else’s aesthetic, so we had to look past those things,” Jeff says. “We fell in love with the family room. We knew we wanted the house updated to modern times, while keeping the historic 1949 details intact.”

Designer Alexis Elley adjusts the accent pillows.

Elley focused on the family room and living room for this part of the homeowner’s multi-phase home renovation plan. The couple now refers to the living room as the “form,” and they call the family room the “function.”

“In the family room, we chose a gray sectional made with performance fabric and a leather ottoman. The homeowners also wanted touches of blue,” Elley says. “The rug is a custom-sized wool rug that was added because it was important to lighten up the space and bring the outside in with natural elements.”

A close-up of a seating area.

The existing built-in shelves, which were dark, were painted white and the fireplace was updated. As Jeff explains, the couple wanted something “pretty” above the fireplace, but they also wanted a TV. He and his wife settled on a Samsung The Frame TV, which can display artwork when the TV isn’t on. To further personalize the space, a wagon wheel chandelier anchors the room, giving a nod to the ski lodge vibe Jeff likes. Books about the couple’s interests — including skiing, wine, and Chicago — are prominently displayed.

Says Katie: “I love the room now; it’s clean, crisp, bright, and family-friendly. There are built-ins to store the kids’ toys and I can see them playing from the kitchen. The room opens to the backyard, so the view is green and lush in the summer, and beautiful in the winter when we can watch the snow fall.”

This living room vignette is more on the elegant side, with luxury wall art from Perigold and Ballard Designs lamps

The living room is the first room seen upon entering the home. “It’s a very stylish, elegant grown-up room with soft neutrals and pops of blue,” the designer says. “The drapery is velvet, and brass elements were used to add warmth. The white sofa and gray velvet chairs are upholstered using performance fabrics that are kid- and pet-friendly.”

“We love to entertain family and friends, and we’re still making the house our own. The work Alexis has done so far is everything we dreamed of — it’s pretty, but works for everyday life,” Katie shares.

Coming Together
The Maranos’ living room is the first room seen upon entering the home. “It’s a very stylish, elegant, grown-up room with soft neutrals,” designer Alexis Elley says. Note the luxurious velvet drapery.


Alexis Elley, Textures Design, Grosse Pointe Farms,


Artwork – ”Aspen Lone Skier,” Gray Malin
Artwork – The Frame TV, Samsung
Chair, Occasional – Oly Studio
Hardware, Mini-Bar – Etsy
Lamps, Floor – Rejuvenation
Pillows, Accent – Wesley Hall, C.A.I. Designs, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Rug – STARK Carpet, Troy
Sculpture (Deer) – Pottery Barn
Sofa – Wesley Hall, C.A.I Designs, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Table, Coffee – Article
Table, Tree Stump – Amazon
Tables, End – Anthropologie
Wall Treatment – Thibaut, Rozmallin, Michigan Design Center, Troy

Accessories, Gold, on Chest – Bungalow 5
Bench – Four Hands
Chest – RH
Drapery – Schumacher
Mirror – Kravet
Pillows – Scalamandre
Table, Console – Frontgate

Decorative accents in the Maranos’ family room.


Armchair – Bernhardt Furniture, C.A.I. Designs, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Candleholder (Flower) – Jan Barboglio
Chandelier – Wagon Wheel Chandelier, Laurel Foundry Modern Farmhouse
Fireplace – Black Slate
Lamps – Target
Pillows, Accent – Bernhardt Furniture, C.A.I. Designs, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Rug – Fabrica, Crowther Carpet & Rugs, Grosse Pointe Woods
Sofa – Bernhardt Furniture
Table, Cement End – Target
Table, Coffee – Four Hands
Table, Display – Four Hands
Table, Wooden Occasional – Target
Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Chantilly Lace


Artwork – Perigold
Drapery – Schumacher, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Lamps – Ballard Designs
Lamps, Floor – OKA
Pillows, Accent – Schumacher, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Rug – Eastern Rugs
Sculpture (Bird) – Bungalow 5
Sofa – LEE Industries, C.A.I Designs, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Table, Coffee – Woodbridge Furniture, C.A.I. Designs, Michigan Design Center, Troy