Asha and Madhu Duggi are in love with their lakefront home. Not just because they can take in the scenery of East Long Lake from almost every window, or enjoy the water on a pontoon boat or jet ski and cool off anytime they want, but because they designed it, found a great builder and architect to make it all work, then filled it with beautiful pieces from around the world and their native India.
The result is a 7,500-square-foot, five-bedroom, five-bath masterpiece of glass, stone, and steel. It’s built around a unique custom staircase that serves as the main support for the entire structure.
“The staircase isn’t copied from any existing design and is completely unique,” says Asha, who conceived it with Oakland County builder Joe Parks. Diseños Ornamental Iron in southwest Detroit built the two-story steel structure, which was brought into the home before the front entrance walls and doors were built. The rest of the design evolved as the house was being constructed. The project took about three years from conception to finish.
Asha envisioned the design of the home and created the basic layout and plan along with Parks. Later, all aspects of the structure and architecture were finalized by Detroit master architect George Petkoski of the Sidock Group.
Asha’s favorite space on the open-plan main floor is the two-story living room, where a curved bank of floor-to-ceiling windows draws in loads of light. At night, the massive LED crystal chandelier from Italy, which took three people to assemble and hang, lights up the soaring room.
The homeowner’s artistic talents shine throughout the house, and are showcased in the striking piece she designed to hang above the fireplace. Asha asked her mother and cousins to help her create the piece with translucent gemstones brought in from northern India. They’re attached in circles to a 16-foot-high acrylic board. Stones are also affixed to the custom glass-and-steel table in the center of the room, serving as both decorations and coasters. Eight cushy, tufted chairs surround that table, making it a cool yet cozy conversation space.
A subtle but stunning treatment on the fireplace wall is another unique idea from Asha. She mixed silver glitter with light taupe, then rolled it over the wall, creating a surface that shimmers like the Milky Way, day or night.
The flooring, a Spanish tile that looks like sliced agate, was laid to evoke ripples on water and runs throughout the main floor without carpets or rugs to impede the flow. Another natural material, grasscloth, is a prominent feature on many walls of the house, kindling feelings of being in a forest.
Also contributing to the Duggi’s United Nations of home furnishings are the tall, dark polished wood doors with steel inlays that came from Israel.
In one corner of the floor, near the living room window, Asha created a rangoli — an Indian folk-art tradition that employs colorful grains to fashion intricate geometric patterns.
The kitchen, just past the glass-topped table that defines the dining room and the sliding doors to the outdoor deck, is an ultramodern mix of sleek cabinetry and appliances from German maker Poggenpohl. One glass-fronted cabinet holds a combination of several kinds of grains, which are known to bring good luck to the home. “The grains signify energy,” Asha explains.
On the second level, there’s a glass-encased loft with red leather seating that Asha designed “with a vision to have quality family time.” Down the hall, two of the bedrooms — the master and their 17-year-old son Vineet’s room — boast outdoor balconies perfect for relaxing and contemplating the lake. Below the loft is another seating area and a curtained prayer room, typical of traditional Indian households.
The Duggis do a lot of their entertaining in the lower walkout level, where guests spill out onto the patio through sliding doors and can follow a path to the lake. A second kitchen/dining area features walnut cabinetry by Scavolini, as well as a freestanding steel bar. Asha created an area at the other end of the space that has colorful cushions, mats, and custom furniture that was hand-carved and shipped from Jaipur, India. At night, 12 stained-glass lanterns suspended from the ceiling come alive with the glow of candlelight, casting shadows that dance across the room. Asha used a beautiful gold glitter treatment on the lantern wall. “This special corner in my house recreates a setting that’s centuries old and brings to life the splash of colors from India,” she says. “I celebrate this intimate corner in my home as a modest yet proud depiction of the vibrancy that makes India so special. This is truly a piece of my heart from the culture I was born into.”