In 2001, Bill and Annette Royce purchased a typical plain-Jane, brick-and-shingle ’50s ranch house that was located in Bloomfield on a corner lot just across the street from the 18th hole of Oakland Hills Country Club’s South course. Then, in 2015, they tore it down and replaced it with a stunning 3,200-square-foot structure. “We always knew this was in the cards,” Annette says. “I grew up nearby and always kind of saw myself as living here. I never loved the original house, but I loved its location.”
The new Cape Cod-style home, featuring a stunning exterior of navy paint and coordinating shingles and Fond du Lac limestone, was a joint project of architect Rick Lindbeck and builder Matt Hewson of Exclusive Custom Homes in Milford. Michael Coyne, of Michael Coyne Design in the Michigan Design Center in Troy, was chosen to do the interior design. “Michael is my childhood friend,” Annette says. “I didn’t want to interview anyone else. He was involved from the get-go.”
In the fabulous 15-by-28-foot kitchen, a 12-foot-long table, custom made out of dense mango wood from Costa Rica and set upon a chunky wooden stretcher base, dominates the room. “It took 10 people to carry it in,” Coyne says. “The idea was to have an island you can gather around, as well as prep meals and/or eat on. The piece comfortably seats 10 people. We also did the latest thing in kitchens, using Max Fine porcelain slab countertops that look identical to marble but aren’t porous like marble. They can’t be permeated, they don’t scratch, and they won’t stain. The backsplashes are composed of beveled subway tiles and dark gray grout — a classic color combination,” the designer says.
In the adjoining living room, which has a dramatic 20-foot-high ceiling, the same Fond du Lac stone found on the exterior is used for the fireplace surround and chimney breast, while an oversized mantel is made out of solid walnut. A good-looking open staircase located at the far end of the room sports a runner that has the same chain-link pattern as the Wilton area rug in the living room. (All of the area rugs found in the home nestle on wide wooden plank floors.) “The floors were pre-finished at the factory, which makes them sturdier than when (they’re) finished on the job,” Coyne says, “and that’s particularly great if you have a pet like Hogan, the Royce’s black Lab.”
A traditional highly polished antique wooden table from the Baker Stately Homes Collection takes center stage in the dining room and is surrounded by recently reupholstered antique chairs that were purchased in 2000 in London, when the couple was living there. “We made this traditional room more modern by using the most contemporary crystal chandelier you can find,” Coyne says.
Just off the hallway, an old-fashioned butler’s bar, easily accessible to both the dining room and the kitchen, features the same crocodile-textured, silver-colored Thibaut wallpaper that’s found in the dining room.
A local artist, Julie Albanese, cleverly painted the powder room’s vanity with a similar pattern that’s found on the gold-leaf-and-orange Ralph Lauren wallpaper that hugs the room’s walls. A hammered nickel sink, complete with a nickel faucet and Lucite knobs, is surrounded by a black honed-soapstone countertop.
In the dreamy master bedroom, the king-size bed has been upholstered in a sublime blue-and-white floral fabric from Thibaut called Peacock Garden. Says Coyne: “It’s not too feminine, so I don’t get too many husbands balking about it. It’s one of my favorite fabrics.” The master bath, awash in a mixture of different-sized hand-picked Carrera marble pieces, has a huge steam shower; the master bedroom’s walk-in closet, meanwhile, is wallpapered with the same Peacock Garden pattern that’s on the bedroom fabric.
In Annette Royce’s inviting first-floor home office, all of the woodwork is painted white and the walls are painted with Benjamin Moore’s Chelsea Gray, a color inspired by American landmarks that’s part of the company’s Historical Collection. “I tend to use Benjamin Moore’s historical colors a lot because I find them to be more pure and more bright,” Coyne says. The backs of the built-in bookshelves, painted a shocking pink hue from Benjamin Moore, really make the room sing. Front and center in the room, a campaign chest desk features a cerused wooden top. (Cerused refers to a grainy grayish-white finish that dates back to the 16th century. It was originally used primarily in cosmetics, until furniture makers discovered it worked beautifully on porous woods.)
“We enjoyed working with Rick, Matt, and Michael on this once-in-a-lifetime project,” Bill Royce says. “They did a great job and we’re extremely pleased with the final results.”