The best homes reflect their occupants.
And when the occupants are a couple who grew up in different parts of the country steeped in disparate regional cultures, marital compromise can create a blended American beauty.
In the case of a Birmingham home for a young family, the mingling of childhood settings resulted in a look that the designers describe as coastal casual meets Grosse Pointe classic.
The combination was winning enough to merit a place among eight homes featured this past September as part of the annual Birmingham-Bloomfield home tour benefiting the Birmingham Community House. Although the owners volunteered their home, it “wasn’t done yet,” so interior designers Michelle Mio and Rosemary Cotter, of Rariden Schumacher Mio & Co. in Birmingham, went to Michigan Design Center to “fill in the holes,” Mio says.
Built in 2003, the house is being remodeled; changes include a switch from the former red and yellow tones to hues with a more coastal feel.
“She grew up in California, so her palette is one of the coast,” Mio says.
The homeowner says blue “is calming, pleasant, and happy.
“[It] reminds me of summers on the water.” The wife’s desire to bring a little California to Michigan is reflected in the choice of paint, rugs, linens, furniture, draperies, vases, and linens.
“Her husband is from Grosse Pointe [and together they are] blessed to have amazing family heirlooms,” Mio says. The client requested a color palette that flowed through the house and worked well with their pieces. “We put a fun twist on how we combined the [antiques] with new things,” Mio says.
The couple say the property was love at first sight. “The home spoke to us,” she says. “[There’s] something pleasant about it from the minute you step onto the front porch. We knew it would be a great family home.”
They told their design team that they wanted a place where their family could grow, a setting that was peaceful, simple, and spacious. That meant that an open floor plan, a desire reflected in the airy kitchen, which opens to a comfortable family room. The floor plan provides ample space for entertaining, although a cozy intimacy was maintained.
“[They] wanted to bring the outside in,” the designers say. “A beautiful pool and hardscape were added off the breakfast [and] family rooms. In the summer [they have] a comfortable extension of their home right outside the back doors leading to the pool.”
Now, one year into the remodeling process, the homeowners say their vision is taking shape. And that form is just as they’d envisioned: Nothing fussy, just a house that says “welcome.”
The Home Team
Rariden Schumacher Mio & Co., Birmingham; 248-723-9160, rsminteriors.com.
Millennium Custom Cabinetry, Bloomfield Hills; 248-645-9005, millennium-cabinetry.com.
Julie Albanese Professional Mural Painter; juliealbanese.com.
Dan Connell, Connell Building Co., Grosse Pointe Farms; 313-882-5120, connellbuildingcompany.com.
Michigan Design Center furnishings on loan for the 2010 Community House Home Tour:
Henredon Interior Design Showrooms, Troy; 248-643-6264.
F. Schumacher & Co., Troy; 248-649-4941.
Baker Knapp & Tubbs, Troy; 248-649-6730.
Beacon Hill Showroom, Troy; 248-643-0707.
Kravet, Troy; 248-649-3020.
Rozmallin, Troy; 248-643-8828.
Brunschwig & Fils, Troy; 248-649-0505.
Grange Furniture, Troy; 248-649-9372.
Ghiordes Knot, Troy; 248-643-0333.
Stark Carpet, Troy; 248-643-6255.
Photographs by Justin Maconochie