From renovated country clubs to the latest independent living communities, well-planned facilities can make you feel right at home.
For the People
Mary Meier Dakin, IIDA, president of Birmingham- and Naples, Fla.-based Dakin Design Inc., specializes in commercial projects. One in particular stands out as having an especially memorable result — Lakeshore Senior Living in St. Clair Shores. Her goals for the facility, which includes a memory care wing, were to create an upscale coastal resort feel while incorporating safety and comfort for residents. Custom millwork, distinctive lighting, and bleached wood floors contribute to the calming, airy, and comfortable surroundings that include a pub perfectly positioned above Lake St. Clair.
Originally planned for the first floor, the pub, shifted to the third floor so it would overlook the water. “People can socialize and enjoy the clean-lined transitional space, where the view is the key design feature,” Dakin says. The scenic setting fosters meeting people and making new friends, and features a variety of seating options to accommodate different sized groups, as well as tables that can be pushed together as needed. Upholstered pieces by the fireplace and bar keep it cozy. “The (main) seating is neutral so everyone can see each other, and it keeps it warm and inviting,” she says. “It’s like a little city with a pub, a spa, and more. It’s a whole village.”
Par for the Course
At the Fox Hills Golf & Banquet Center in Plymouth, the updated Golden Fox Clubhouse serves as a testament to classic and timeless design, says Mary Eskin, design director for Patrick Thompson Design in Detroit. She worked on the remodel of a space that’s primarily reserved for weddings and banquets, as well as the visitors’ pro shop and grille.
With panoramic views of the golf course already in place, the indoor spaces have risen to the occasion. “We redesigned the interior to give it a bit of a modern aesthetic that can cater to any type of event,” Eskin says. “The classic black-and-white palette integrated a lot of new details, like custom carpet and dark paneling.”
Other standout features include fabric-wrapped panels above the bar that help with acoustics and play up the visuals. Local artisans and millworkers contributed to the transformation, which also features custom furniture and lighting. “The lobby has a bit of a residential feel, with a dark ebony finish that’s so rich and inviting, and we intentionally brought in a pop of color,” she adds, explaining the venue has a devoted following. “The Plymouth community holds Fox Hills dear to their hearts.”
In Oakland Township, independent living facility Blossom Ridge has received national recognition for good reason. Architect Dominick Tringali, with Moceri Custom Homes in Auburn Hills, says the new facility — which includes 100 units and other amenities like a clubhouse — has become integral to the community. “It’s become more of a community center with walking paths, an outdoor pool, and a bocce court designed to offer resort living for the ‘55 and bolder’ crowd,” he says. “They’re the best years of your life; you should enjoy them.”
With outdoor balconies and lots of outdoor living, the unique property has been able to offer more options during the pandemic. Interiors include designated spaces for exercise, reading, and art, along with a community center. High ceilings make the rooms feel open.
“It’s not an overwhelming building. It’s understated, so it feels a little cozier, but it’s still very dramatic,” Tringali says, describing the aesthetic as a blend between Palm Springs and Palm Beach, with a French backdrop. “The way we designed it worked very well with duplexes and individual villages, and it has an upbeat, transitional feel with modern grays and blues. People are so refreshed when they see the color scheme. It’s not just for the person living there; it’s for the kids and the grandkids to enjoy.”
Dating to 1918, the historic Albert Kahn-designed Detroit Golf Club in Palmer Park recently debuted The Ross Grille as part of an extensive renovation that provides a classy/casual environment in which members and their guests can gather. Rich woods, lush fabrics, and soft lighting create a comfortable atmosphere that connects to the partially covered outdoor patio, where a gas fireplace benefits indoor and outdoor diners alike.
Adirondack chairs surround a gas fire pit near a sculpture of the grille’s namesake, Donald Ross, a Scottish-born architect who designed all 36 holes at DGC. His brother, Alex, won the U.S. Open in 1907 and was head golf professional at DGC for almost 30 years, from 1916 to 1945.
Todd Mathews, vice president and lead designer at Comus Consulting in Ann Arbor, worked on the remodel, which opened up the entry and the restaurant and added a private dining room. A climate-controlled wine cave and wine lockers for members are among the additions to the bar. “The transitional style blends permanent features with more contemporary elements like the bold carpet. We tried to be sensitive and pay homage to Albert Kahn,” Mathews says.
Adds Bruce (Skip) Lemon, club president: “The clubhouse is a precious gem for us, and The Ross Grille is the heart of the club. Many of our members consider it an extension of their own home.”
In a recent renovation of the Birmingham Country Club, the mission was to make the old Tudor mansion feel fresher while respecting the original architecture. “You’re trying to attract and retain families,” explains Katie Rodriguez, owner of Katie Rodriguez Design in Birmingham. The interior designer, who has a commercial and residential design background, adds: “I have a knowledge of finishes and durability that can marry with a residential feel to make things homier.”
Highlights include a striking new bar area with a custom chandelier featuring crystals that were individually hung. “It was a very traditional club. We tried to blend a fresh, transitional feel without losing some of that character. It was also a goal of mine to balance hospitality and a residential feel. I wanted it to be a space that was exciting to get to for a night out, but also as warm and welcoming as a second home,” she says.
Rodriguez was brought on by Krieger Klatt Architects Inc. in Royal Oak.
Architect Jason Krieger, who partnered with architect Jeff Klatt on the project, says the extensive renovation of the clubhouse opened up some rooms for more flexibility for weddings and events. Additions include a warming hut where spectators can watch sports, paddle tennis courts, and an observation deck with an outdoor bar. “We were sensitive about respecting the existing architecture, but we also wanted to create a more modern and contemporary design that’s warm and feels like it’s been there for a hundred years,” he says. “We wanted to stay relevant and increase membership, and we did.”