Her Own Stamp

A tour of interior designer Pam Singer-Nodel’s Birmingham home. Photography by Beth Singer
 A Holly Hunt dining table and bright art star in the dining area.
ART ON THE MENU A Holly Hunt dining table and bright art star in the dining area.

Growing up in a family of homebuilders, Pam Singer-Nodel’s attraction to interior design was sparked at a young age. “It’s a natural thing for me;  I grew up going on jobs with my dad. I can’t imagine doing anything else,” she says. 

The dining room from another perspective.
ART ON THE MENU The dining room from another perspective.

After earning a graphics design degree from American University in Washington, D.C., and an interior design degree from the New York School of Interior Design, Singer-Nodel began her career fashioning interior spaces for hotel chains. She moved back to Michigan nearly three decades ago and serendipitously started her interior design business, Pamela Singer & Associates. “(My husband and I) built a house for our family, and I decorated it. Someone visiting loved what I had done and asked for help with their house,” she recalls. “It’s been word-of-mouth and never a dull moment ever since. I’m very lucky.” 

About five years ago, Singer-Nodel and her husband, Richard Nodel, sold their Orchard Lake home, which had been designed by the late, renowned contemporary architect Irving Tobocman. “It was so hard to leave. I loved everything about that house, but my life was centered in the Birmingham area,” the designer says. 

The couple was elated to find a home in Birmingham with a more modern rather than a traditional feel. The 5,000-square-foot residence was built about 30 years ago, and it had never been updated. “My husband fell in love with the house. I knew we’d have to gut it to make it our own. It was a dated, ‘needs everything’ house with a choppy layout. Now that it’s done, I’m obsessed with it,” Singer-Nodel admits.   

“The house is located on a typical Birmingham lot, so it almost has a large townhouse feel,” she continues. “There’s a four-car garage that takes up most of the backyard, and a screened-in porch, so there’s no backyard maintenance.”   

 A soaring fireplace takes center stage in the living room. Comfortable seating makes this a favorite spot.
AROUND THE HEARTH A soaring fireplace takes center stage in the living room. Comfortable seating makes this a favorite spot.

Since Singer-Nodel operates her business from her home, it was essential to have ample office space in which to work and hold client meetings. “It’s a beautiful room located right off the screened-in porch, so I can work inside or out. I get a lot of jobs because of my home. It’s easier for some people to hire a designer when they’ve seen how they live.” While she brings clients into her home for meetings and inspiration, she emphasizes that all selections must be viewed in the client’s own home and under their lighting. 

Singer-Nodel worked with builder Randy Spagna (“the best of the best”) on her extensive home project, which took about a year to complete. During the process, she says she discovered that being her own client was challenging. “People hire me because they’ve seen my work and like it. I provide expertise and guidance, and there’s trust. As a designer, you’re constantly seeing new choices. There were so many ‘I have to have this’ things that came up while my home project was in process. It was so difficult. Ultimately, I just went with my gut.” 

Throughout the house, striking, black-stained wide-plank oak floors anchor and balance the high ceilings, and add warmth to the white walls. The couple’s artwork collection provides splashes of color. “Art adds another texture or layer to the walls,” Singer-Nodel explains. “This house has outstanding wall space to showcase art.”

Huge windows in the living room ensure there’s plenty of natural light and bring the outdoors in.
LOOK OUT! Huge windows in the living room ensure there’s plenty of natural light and bring the outdoors in.

Among the many renovation updates, Singer-Nodel looked to the future and had an elevator installed to ensure comfort in their next phase of life.  

While Singer-Nodel is passionate about the entire house, she shares that her favorite room is the kitchen. She worked with John Morgan at Perspectives Cabinetry in Troy to create a statement white galley kitchen that won first place in the Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove Kitchen Design Contest in 2017-18.

“Everything always revolves around the kitchen, and in every kitchen something must shine,” she says. In her kitchen, the focal point is the refrigerator area, which is flanked by large display shelves — and, above the refrigerator, there’s a pop of “unexpected fun,” courtesy of Campbell Soup-themed artwork by street artist Mr. Brainwash.  

The powder room’s simple palette complements the colorful art in nearby spaces.
CLEAN LINES The powder room’s simple palette complements the colorful art in nearby spaces.

While there’s no upper cabinetry in the kitchen, due to the configuration of the windows, the lower cabinets have a white lacquered finish with flush, channel-set doors topped with white statuary marble countertops for a streamlined look. White honed marble is featured on the kitchen walls and stainless-steel island’s waterfall countertop.  

A scullery area with a pantry and coffee bar was created after removing a fireplace between the kitchen and dining room. Singer-Nodel says the area can also be used by a bartender when entertaining — which she hopes to do more of at this stage of the pandemic.

The powder room’s simple palette complements the colorful art in nearby spaces.
CLEAN LINES The powder room’s simple palette complements the colorful art in nearby spaces.

“I love the openness, light, and grandness of the house. It was a huge change from our Orchard Lake house, and my style has changed, too — I’m more modern and classic now, with touches of Deco. My inspiration for this house was to make it clean, classic, and timeless. It’s all these things, and I love it.”  

 

While there’s no upper cabinetry in the kitchen due to the configuration of the windows, the lower cabinets have a white lacquered finish with flush, channel-set doors topped with marble countertops, for a streamlined look.
CLEAN LINES While there’s no upper cabinetry in the kitchen due to the configuration of the windows, the lower cabinets have a white lacquered finish with flush, channel-set doors topped with marble countertops, for a streamlined look.

BUYER’S GUIDE

While there’s no upper cabinetry in the kitchen due to the configuration of the windows, the lower cabinets have a white lacquered finish with flush, channel-set doors topped with marble countertops, for a streamlined look.
CLEAN LINES While there’s no upper cabinetry in the kitchen due to the configuration of the windows, the lower cabinets have a white lacquered finish with flush, channel-set doors topped with marble countertops, for a streamlined look.


INTERIOR DESIGNER

Pam Singer-Nodel, Pamela Singer & Associates, Birmingham
pamelasingerdesign.com

White honed marble is featured on the kitchen walls and the stainless-steel island's waterfall countertop.
MIX MASTER White honed marble is featured on the kitchen walls and the stainless-steel island’s waterfall countertop.


Featured Businesses

Tennant & Associates, Pillows, Accent – Living Room, Wallpaper – Powder Room, Michigan Design Center, Troy, michigandesign.com
For more information on this company.

Wolf / Sub-Zero, Refrigerator, – Kitchen, Auburn Hills,

subzero-wolf.com. For more information on this company.


DINING ROOM

Artwork, Flowers – Donald Sultan

Artwork, Woman – Kelly Reemsten

Drapery – Designs Designs, Wixom 

Table, Dining – Holly Hunt

Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Decorator’s White

 

KITCHEN

Bar Stools – deAurora

Cabinetry – Perspectives Cabinetry, Troy

Countertop – Marble

Drawers, Stainless Steel – Perspectives Cabinetry, Troy

Refrigerator – Sub-Zero

Sconces – 1st Dibs

Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Decorator’s White

 

LIVING ROOM

Armchairs – William Switzer 

Artwork – Donald Sultan

Fireplace Treatment – Limestone

Lamp, Floor – Holly Hunt

Pillows, Accent – Holly Hunt and Tennant & Associates, Michigan Design Center, Troy

Rug – Stark Carpet, Troy

Sconces – Custom

Sofa – Custom

Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Decorator’s White

 

POWDER ROOM

Flooring – Wood

Lighting, Mirror – Custom, Randy Spagna, Winnick Homes, Bloomfield Hills 

Mirror – Reid Glass

Sink and Vanity – Michigan Marble, Ciot, Troy

Wallpaper – Phillip Jeffries, Tennant & Associates, Michigan Design Center, Troy

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