New Chapter

A couple builds a townhouse-style dream home in Birmingham | Photography by Jeff Garland
PERFECT PERCHES The first-floor family room off the kitchen is an inviting gathering spot.

They had been happily living in their Rochester home on the Paint Creek Trail for several years, but as their three daughters grew up, married, and moved to homes near Birmingham, this couple thought it would be a good time to purchase property closer to their children. “We’ve got three grandkids now and we wanted to be near our whole family,” the wife says. The couple purchased a 1911 farmhouse-style home in Birmingham but determined it wouldn’t be able to withstand a renovation, so they decided to build a new home on the property. They moved in about a year and a half ago.

The couple hired architect Douglas Leahy of GETA Design, LLC, in Birmingham; Beshouri Residential Development, LLC, of Birmingham; landscape company Michael J. Dul & Associates, in Birmingham; and Kathleen McGovern of Kathleen McGovern Studio of Interior Design, based in Grosse Pointe Park. “We call it the A-Team,” the husband says. “It was a good collaboration.” The home is on a narrow lot, and Leahy told the couple that if they made the home 30 feet wide (the lot is 50 feet wide), he could give them a house with no posts. So if they wanted an open floor plan, he could do it. “He was all about the structure,” the husband adds. “He also put in so many windows, you don’t feel like you’re in a narrow home. We feel like we have privacy, and there’s light like crazy.”

PERFECT PERCHES A first-floor parlor room sings the blues with a blue-tiled Pewabic fireplace, Benjamin Moore’s Deep Royal wall paint, and luxe blue furnishings and window treatments.

The couple loved the idea of creating a brownstone-style home. “I had gone on a girls’ trip to Chicago and we were walking in the Gold Coast area and the townhouses were just beautiful. That inspired me,” the wife says. “We had a narrow, deep lot, so we were restricted.” After that Chicago visit and a return visit with her husband, the wife was sure they could create the look here. “Many of my girlfriends call our home ‘The Mary Poppins house,’ ” she says, laughing.

Regarding interior design, the wife says a neutral, white palette had initially appealed to her. “We had lived in a ranch-style home on the darker side,” she says, “so I was thinking lots of white, but Kathey (interior designer Kathleen McGovern) and her team suggested other ideas. When we went through Kathey’s home (her design studio is behind her residence), we saw that she uses beautiful color, and I fell in love with her house. We’d be looking for, say, tile and other things, and that just sparked it. We needed color. Kathey introduced me to so many options. Now that I think of it, there are so many windows in this house that if we’d gone with nearly no color, it’d be stark.”

BLUE’S CLUES Blue is the home’s strongest color influence, as seen here in the kitchen.

Blue is the home’s strongest color influence. In what the wife calls “the parlor,” a front room off the foyer, one feels as though they’re wrapped in pure luxury. “We didn’t want the kitchen in the front, and we had this space, so I thought, let’s make it a sitting room,” McGovern says. “When our client introduced the idea of a parlor, the vision was that it was to be her room, and you had to be invited to come in,” she adds with a chuckle. “The look all started when she requested a blue velvet sofa. I immediately thought, why stop there?”

The walls are painted in Benjamin Moore’s Deep Royal (a blue from the fireplace tile) and echo the blue hue found throughout the space. “There’s one continuous color, which is important for this kind of intimate room,” McGovern says. A large Lenore Gimpert painting, Blue Tutu, is the icing on this well-appointed cake.

BLUE’S CLUES Blue is the home’s strongest color influence, as seen just beyond in an additional dining space, off of which is a back-entrance mudroom. “We selected a blend of blues in different formats,” designer Kathleen Mc- Govern says. The homeowners initially were thinking neutrals, but changed their minds after meeting with McGovern.

The design team and homeowners selected tile in three dramatic installations to link the blue motif. In the aforementioned first floor parlor, a Pewabic fireplace surround and hearth wows. “We selected a blend of blues in different formats; the colors are interspersed with Pewabic’s classic iridescent glaze,” McGovern says. The challenge was to incorporate two original Comedy and Tragedy decorative tiles, long owned and loved by the homeowners. McGovern did just that, placing each in the surround on either side of the fireplace.

In the kitchen, the bold blue herringbone-patterned Seneca Tile on the range wall, extending from behind the countertop to behind the hood and glass-front cabinetry, is head-turning in its varying shades of blue. “That tile drove the strategy for what came around it, including the chairs,” Mc- Govern says. To create even more cohesiveness, the blue hexagon-shaped floor tile in the home’s back entryway references the same palette. The kitchen, meanwhile, isn’t just aesthetically appealing; it’s practical, too, for these home chefs who love to cook. The pantry and second sink and dishwasher are located behind the gathering/cooking area of the kitchen, so they’re not in the main view. An open room off the kitchen is family central and, as such, it’s where a lot of the action occurs — especially when the whole family gathers. It’s also smart, as in tech-advanced. The shades can be opened or closed via an app on the homeowners’ phones. Many of the window treatments are eco-friendly; the solar shades, in fact, are made from recycled material with no toxin-emitting substances. The homeowners can’t say enough about the easy-operating Lutron smart shades, installed by Spire Integrated Systems of Troy.

LUXURY APLENTY The second- floor master bedroom is the perfect respite for the homeowners, who love their small balcony, which looks out to the terrace and a garden fountain below. “We started with good architecture,” designer McGovern notes.

The lower level features an inviting gathering space as well as the husband’s garden-level office. As co-owners (with a northern Michigan farmer) of Pond Hill Farm Winery in Harbor Springs, the couple and their designer put the accent on vino here. A nifty wine storage space off the main room can store 10 cases. “I like to look at wine labels — they’re beautiful — and I like to be able to see them so it’s easy to make a selection. Our storage system allows us to do just that,” the husband says. “I didn’t want a big wine cellar that ages out. Ours turns over quickly.” Artisan Michael Barna, of Michael Barna Design Studio in Royal Oak, created a handy cocktail cart in the wine space. He also built other elements that all feature a grapevine motif. From here, the couple can take an elevator to another floor, but these days it’s the grandkids who love it most, the couple says, adding that the elevator, which is clad in a silvery, textured faux grasscloth, will allow them to age in place. “There are 27 steps from here to the second floor. At first it was like, whew, but we’re getting used to it, and someday the elevator will come in very handy,” the husband says with a laugh.

SOAK IT UP An elegant vanity in the master bedroom is a dream spot for getting ready for the day.

The luxe master suite, well-appointed guestrooms with classic children’s illustrations as art (found by the wife in France), and an elegant guest bathroom are on the second floor. The wife’s gem of an office space, which is situated at the end of the second-floor hallway, looks out to a park. Hanging nearby, a bright-pink Hermes scarf Mc- Govern had framed was a jumping-off point for the palette (paired with gray) of an upstairs room and the office. “I didn’t need a big office,” the wife says. “Just enough (space) for a few things.”

The master suite, a symphony of blues, is the result of a close collaboration, McGovern says. “There are layers and layers of luxe fabrics, great beadboard, and lighting,” she adds. “We started with good architecture — that’s so important — and then the layering is what we brought to it.”

SOAK IT UPThe master bath offers heated flooring (a sumptuous Vallelunga tile from Virginia Tile Company) and a beautiful stand-alone Victoria + Albert tub.

In the master bathroom, heated flooring, a stand-alone tub, black-framed windows, and a mirror-clad vanity create serenity. “The standalone tub (Victoria + Albert) is a piece of art,” McGovern says, “and the black-framed windows are such a nice way to frame the interior, rather than using white, which we’re so accustomed to.”

A small balcony that looks out to the terrace and an enchanting fountain below is the suite’s pièce de resistance. “We push these balcony doors open in warm weather,” the husband says. “There’s a screen, and we get a beautiful breeze.”

Looking out over the balcony, the husband thinks about their country-to-city move. “We were on five acres, had a pond, and were on the Paint Creek Trail,” he says. “Now we’re closer to the family, and it’s like a neat town/city house.” Adds McGovern: “It’s 4,654 square feet of space that can hold the most opportunity for fun, from wine tastings to storytelling to grandkid-overnights.”

“Everything is made of durable materials,” the wife adds. “In fact, the whole house is durable. We really live here.”

BUYER’S GUIDE

INTERIOR DESIGN
Kathleen McGovern Studio of Interior Design, Grosse Pointe Park, kathleenmcgovernstudio.com

BATHROOM, MASTER
Bathtub – Victoria + Albert Baths, Ferguson Showroom, Troy
Flooring – Vallelunga, Virginia Tile Company Showroom, Michigan Design Center, Troy Wall Paint – Sherwin-Williams, Elder White 7014
Window Treatment – Kravet, Stripe Sheer In Smoke, Kravet/Lee Jofa/Brunschwig & Fils Showroom, Michigan Design Center, Troy

SUITS THEM TO A T A lovely powder room boasts casual elegance with quality appointments.

BATHROOM, POWDER ROOM
Artwork
–Poppies in Rouge, by Lenore Gimpert, Birmingham; Framing, Bruce White Galleries, Troy
Chandelier – Olde World Chandelier, Schonbek, Swarovski Lighting, Silver Finish With Spectra Crystal, Ray Electric Lighting Center, Sterling Heights
Faucet – Arcana Column Spout Widespread Lavatory Faucet, Polished Nickel, Rohl Mirror – Beshouri Residential Development, LLC, Birmingham
Plumbing – Perrin & Rowe White Vitreous China Victorian Toilet And High-Gloss Mahogany Toilet Seat With Sanitary Handles, Rohl
Sconces – Bryant,Thomas O’Brien For Visual Comfort, Polished Nickel, Natural Paper Shade, Silver Tape, Texas
Tile – Artistic Tile, Riverside 1” Hexagon, Black/White, Beaver Tile & Stone, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Vanity – Polished Nickel With Glass Shelf And Perrin & Rowe Victorian Sink, White Vitreous China, Rohl
Wall Paint – Sherwin-Williams Tri-Corn Black 6258

BEDROOM, MASTER
Armchairs – Lee Industries, Tobacco Finish, Kravet, Tristen In Smoke Contrast Welt: Zinc, Allegra In Vellum, RJ Thomas Ltd., Kravet And Tennant & Associates Showrooms, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Bedding – Boll & Branch, Sateen In White Bedframe – Hickory Chair, Artisan Bed In Sable, Michigan Design Center, Troy Bedside Chest – Century Furniture, RJ Thomas Ltd., Michigan Design Center, Troy
Blanket, Throw – Ralph Lauren
Ceiling Treatment – GETA Design, Birmingham
Bedside Roman Shades – Kravet, Kathleen McGovern Studio + Vantay Draperies, Macacauba In Smoke, Kravet/Lee Jofa/Brunschwig & Fils Showroom, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Chandelier – Darlena In Polished Nickel, Visual Comfort & Co., Texas
Flooring – White Oak Plank, Walnut Custom, Beshouri Homes, Birmingham
Headboard – Coleson in Zinc, Pindler Showroom, Michigan Design Center, Troy Lighting, Bedside – Perfect Pleat Tall Hanging Shade In Soft Silver, Visual Comfort & Co., Texas
Lighting, Vanity – Waverly By Hudson Valley Lighting, Ray Electric Supply, Sterling Heights
Mirror, Vanity – Beshouri Residential Development, LLC, Birmingham
Nightstand – Century Furniture, Bowery Place In City Dark, Michigan Design Center, RJ Thomas Ltd., Troy
Pillows – Kravet And Tennant & Associates, Custom, Jane Churchill Design, Plato In Blue Zinc, Allegra in Vellum, G&J Baker Lifestyle – Cosma in Opal, Tennant & Associates And Kravet Showrooms, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Rug – Stark Carpet, Elysian, Troy Upholstered Bench – Bernhardt, RJ Thomas And Tennant & Associates, Haven Bench In Raven, Upholstered By Jane Churchill, Alvara In Midnight, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Vanity – Perspectives Cabinetry, Troy Vanity Stool – RJ Thomas Ltd., Lee Industries, Michigan Design Center, Troy Wall Treatment – Candice Olsen For York, Soothing Mist Scenic
Window Treatment – Kravet, Macacauba In Smoke Traversing, Stripe Sheer In Smoke, Vantay Draperies, Madison Heights

DINING AREA
Banquette – RJ Thomas Ltd. And Kravet, Vanguard Furniture, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Ceiling Treatment – GETA Design, Birmingham
Centerpiece – Flowers By Gabrielle, Grosse Pointe
Chairs, Dining – Hickory Chair, Cornflower, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Chandelier – Dana Creath Custom, California
Double Doors – Gallery Steel, Metal Doors
Drapery – Custom Side Panels And Vantay Draperies, Corrine In Chambray, Pindler Showroom, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Floor Treatment – 5” White Oak Plank In Custom Walnut, Beshouri Homes, Birmingham
Table, Dining – Hickory Chair, Weathered White, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Rodeo 1534 Window
Shades – Lutron Sustainable Solar Screens, Spire Integrated Systems, Troy

FAMILY ROOM
Accent Pillows – Colefax & Fowler, Tennant + Pindler, Kalmar In Teal/Blue And Lorenzo In Emerald, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Armchair – David Francis Furniture, Pindler, Baylor In Platinum, Michigan Design Center, Troy And Florida
Cabinetry – Hickory Chair, Dark Walnut With Light Walnut And Zinc Hardware, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Draperies – Robert Allen And Pindler, Corinne In Chambray, Pindler Showroom, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Fan – Circa Lighting, Walnut With Black Housing, Ray Electric Supply, Sterling Heights
Flooring – 5” White Oak Plank In Custom Walnut, Beshouri Residential Development, LLC, Birmingham
Lighting, Lamps – Antique Brass With Linen Shade, Aerin For Visual Comfort, Texas Lighting, Recessed – Beshouri Residential Development, LLC, Birmingham
Media Console – Distinctive Custom Furniture, Ferndale
Ottoman – Kravet, Lee Jofa And Hickory Chair, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Sofa – Century Furniture, Ross In Blue, RJ Thomas Ltd. And Tennant & Associates Showrooms, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Upholstered Coffee Table – Garrett Leather Upholstery, Torino In Sea Haze, Michael Barna Design Studio, Royal Oak
Rug – The Ghiordes Knot, Antrim Thrive In Khaki, The Ghiordes Knot, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Rodeo 1534

KITCHEN
Appliances – Specialties Appliances & Plumbing Fixtures, Berkley
Bar Stools – Bernhardt Interiors, RJ Thomas Ltd. And Kravet And Tennant & Associates, Indigo Leather, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Backsplash – Seneca Studio Tile, Beshouri Homes, Birmingham
Bench – Kathleen McGovern Studio Of Interior Design, Grosse Pointe Park; and
Rozmallin, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Cabinetry – Perspectives Cabinetry, Troy
Ceiling Treatment – GETA Design, Birmingham
Countertops – Edge Grain Walnut With Eased Edge Planed, Monocoat Finish, J. Aaron Custom Wood Countertops, Georgia
Lighting, Bar – Aged Brass Finish With Black Metal Shade, Kelly Wearstler For Visual Comfort, Texas
Lighting, Sink – Hudson Valley Lighting, Aged Brass with Prismatic Glass Shade, Ray Lighting Center, Sterling Heights
Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Snowfall White 118

MUDROOM
Bench – Kravetsmart
Cabinetry – Perspectives Cabinetry, Troy Double Doors – Metal Doors, Gallery Steel, Waterford
Flooring – Handmold Tile In Sea Blue, Virginia Tile Company Showroom, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Lighting – E.F. Chapman, Club Large Hexagonal Flushmount, Visual Comfort, Troy Shoe Storage – Perspectives Cabinetry, Troy
Wall Treatment – Schumacher, Darya Ikat In Sky, Michigan Design Center, Troy

SUITS THEM TO A T A small office for the woman of the house boasts casual elegance with quality appointments.

OFFICE
Armchair – Audrey Game Chair, Rafail Fuschia, Vanguard Furniture, RJ Thomas Ltd. and Kravet, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Ceiling Treatment – GETA Design, Birmingham
Chandelier – Dunkirk, Polished Nickel With Crystal, Hudson Valley Lighting, Ray Lighting Center, Sterling Heights
Desk – Perspectives Custom Cabinetry, Troy
Double Doors – Metal Doors, Gallery Steel, GETA Design, Birmingham
Drapery – Cabana, Charcoal, Clarke & Clarke, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Flooring – White Oak Plank, Walnut Finish, Beshouri Homes, Birmingham
Rug – Custom, Professional Rug Works, Troy
Wall Treatment – Paradiso in Sunset, Thibaut
Window Treatment – Custom Pleated Valance, Sheerweave Solar Shades, Kathleen McGovern Studio Of Interior Design, Grosse Pointe Park; And Vantay Draperies, Madison Heights

SUITS THEM TO A T Featuring European-style charm, the home is 30 feet wide on a 50-foot-wide lot.

PARLOR
Armchairs – Pearson Furniture, Rozmallin, Michigan Design Center, Troy And North Carolina
Artwork – Gimpert Mixed Media, Lenore Gimpert, Birmingham
Chandelier – Shonbek For Swarovski Lighting, Ray Electric, Sterling Heights Decorative Flowers – Flowers By Gabrielle, Grosse Pointe
Drapery – Designer’s Guild, Rozmallin Showroom, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Fireplace – Pewabic Pottery, Custom, Detroit
Floor Lamp – Aerin For Visual Comfort, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Mirror – Antique Gold Leaf Finish Mirror, Arteriors Home
Rug – Stark Carpet, New Oriental, Troy
Sofa – Hickory Chair And Rozmallin, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Table, Accent – Antiqued Brass Finish With Clear Glass, Decorative Crafts, Connecticut Table, Coffee – Kathleen McGovern Studio Of Interior Design, Grosse Pointe Park; And Michal Barna Design Custom, Royal Oak
Table, Occasional – Duralee Furniture, Duralee, Jackson Accent Table
Window Shades – Kravet Custom Roman Shades, Kravet, Sainato in Indigo, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Deep Royal 2061-10

EXTERIOR
Architect – GETA Design, LLC, Birmingham
Builder – Beshouri Residential Development, LLC, Birmingham
Building Materials – Indiana Limestone
Landscaping – Michael J. Dul & Associates, Birmingham
Lanterns – Primo Lighting
Paint – Sherwin Williams, Tricorn Black SW 6258
Sculpture – Children, By Leonardo Rossi
Windows – Marvin Windows In Black

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