The most successful homes take their inspiration from and reflect the people who live there, says Jill Schumacher, of Rariden Schumacher Mio in Birmingham. That was certainly the case with the Bloomfield Hills house the interior designer and her associate, Kirsten Roby, recently completed for a couple. “They’re very stylish people, but not fussy, and like things to be in their place — so the house is all of those things,” she explains.
An eye-catching, 6,300-square-foot residence of stucco and stone, the home’s traditional English manor exterior belies a surprisingly modern interior, with a contemporary open floor plan, an abundance of windows and natural light, and rooms that are both clean and serene. The soft, predominantly white palette is punctuated with organic shapes and natural materials.
The family, which includes a 14-year-old daughter, looked for years before finding the lot the homeowner calls “a hidden gem.”
“We found the property that our home is now on and we fell in love,” the homeowner says. “Building a home became the perfect answer for us. We could design a living space that fit our needs.”
Those needs included a functional home that works well for daily living as well as frequent entertaining, Schumacher explains. Working with a team that included Schumacher, architect Alexander Bogaerts, and builder TSA/Thomas Sebold & Associates, the process took about two-and-a-half years from start to finish. The homeowner says: “At our first meeting with her, we knew she was the right designer for us. She understood our style.”
When describing that style, “clean” and “calm” top the list. “Our interior leans toward transitional and modern,” the homeowner says. “We like a bright feel. We were pretty sure, from the beginning, that we wanted dark floors and a clean and quiet feeling throughout.” Concerned that an all-white palette would be too monochromatic, the designer brought in texture through carefully chosen fabrics, rugs, pillows, and art, and even added crisp painted-wood paneling to the stairway that connects the second floor to the lower level.
“We used fresh, light fabrics and simple geometric patterns throughout to add texture, but also to keep the interiors simple to the eye,” Schumacher explains.
The family also likes a good party, the designer says, and the house — and amazing backyard — reflect that interest, as well. “We have big families and lots of friends, so we worked to create a house that had open areas and an easy flow,” the homeowner says.
At the home’s heart is the great room, a serene space that’s open to the adjacent kitchen.
The kitchen has a formal edge, featuring a large marble-topped island and walnut cabinets with antique mirror insets that were inspired by a vintage apothecary. “It doesn’t really look like a kitchen,” Schumacher says.
Because marble slabs only come so large, the designer and John Morgan opted for walnut butcher block extensions on both sides of the island for extra space, and tucked the microwave into one end. Built-in storage on both ends ensures that there are plenty of places to tuck away kitchen essentials. While she purposely kept the space simple, “We went all-out on the hardware,” Schumacher admits. “It was the jewelry.” She points out that the kitchen nook table in a lighter wood brightens the space while providing visual variety.
The great room and kitchen look out over the backyard toward the pool and pool house, areas that “are a major part of our living space,” according to the homeowner. “We love being outside. It’s very beautiful. You feel like you’re on vacation.” Not surprisingly, the family enjoys the space as long as the weather permits. “We open it early in the season and close it at the last possible moment,” she says.
Favorite indoor areas include the “warm and cozy library,” where the homeowner enjoys spending time with a book, and the master bedroom, a calm escape equipped with his-and-hers closets and bathrooms. Other bedrooms share the same quiet palette; the one exception is the 14-year-old daughter’s room, which pops with bright pink.
The homeowners, who moved into the house in 2017, have just one regret: that they didn’t bring Schumacher into the process sooner. “If we were to start over, we would have hired her first, even before the architect and the builder,” the homeowner says. “Starting with your designer helps create the vision for the architect. Jill really found the essence of our home by getting to know us. Building a home is a long process, but we loved working with our team every step of the way.”
“We have big families and lots of friends, so we worked to create a house that had open areas and an easy flow.”