Animal Magnetism

One homeowner’s pets are feeling like top dogs, thanks to a practical-and-pretty renovation // Photography by Texture Photography and Meaghan Hall Photography
CANINE COOKERY Homeowner Debbie Markham and her best friends enjoy some kitchen time.

When Debbie Markham of Davisburg was ready to update her kitchen, she called on Dawn Jacobs of Holly-based Artichoke Interiors. “I knew we would work well together from day one, when we shared our love for animals,” says Markham, who has been involved with animal rescue organizations for nearly 10 years. With a soft spot for senior, special-needs dogs, and/or dogs needing hospice care, Markham wanted a kitchen/eating area that could withstand canine activity.

“I foster dogs (through Adopt-A-Pet in Fenton and other organizations) until they find their forever home, or (dogs) that have hospice needs,” she says. The dogs in the photo here are “foster failures,” Markham explains, meaning she began fostering them and then, after a few weeks or months, she decided she couldn’t give them up and adopted them as her own.

“Dawn and her team understood my vision and brought ideas to me that I never could have imagined,” Markham says. Dog-friendly attributes in her renovated kitchen include tile flooring in the eating area “that isn’t slippery, so the dogs can walk on it easily,” Jacobs explains. The designer also chose large-format tiles, so there are fewer grout lines to clean. Adds Jacobs: “We went with acrylic chairs that won’t attract dog hair.” Another consideration was the fact that the homeowner wanted her often-ailing dogs to have open space so they can easily move round.

Markham says her previous kitchen was small and outdated. “My dining room was large, though, but not used as much,” she adds. The solution was to flip the kitchen and dining room, making more room for both.

FEMININE TOUCHES Above: Acrylic chairs in the eating area won’t attract dog hair. Below: The designer embraced the homeowner’s desire to include pink in her kitchen.

As for the ambiance, Markham’s dream was to be dog-friendly and to address her feminine nature. She wanted more light, a large island with pink chairs, crystal lighting, and a black-and-white motif.

“We took windows out and opened walls; it was one of the biggest transformations I’ve ever done,” Jacobs recalls of the six-weeklong project. She worked with contractor Dale Leighton of Fenton. “What I love about Debbie is that she wasn’t afraid to do what she wanted, like (adding) pink counter stools, and she was very open to our suggestions.”

With lighting from Italmoda in Royal Oak, a black-and-white marble tile backsplash from Cercan Tile (Michigan Design Center, Troy), and white quartz countertops, the space oozes with drama. Stock cabinetry with a custom hood sold through Artichoke Interiors, White Dove (Benjamin Moore) wall paint, and an island awash in Sherwin-Williams’ Tricorn Black complement light-pink velvet chairs (by Fairfield Chair). KitchenAid appliances from Witbeck Home Appliance Mart in West Bloomfield were also selected. Jacobs’ favorite element? “The curvy custom hood. It’s very Debbie.”

Says Markham: “The space is now sophisticated, elegant, bright, and welcoming.” “Debbie’s whole life is about dogs and she does so much for them,” Jacobs says. “She deserves this.”

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