Built-in bar is perfect for entertaining guests in this dining room. Design: Linda Shears | Photo by Beth Singer
Built-in bar is perfect for entertaining guests in this dining room. Design: Linda Shears | Photo by Beth Singer

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Vacation Homes

While permanent residences in Michigan are concentrated mainly in the state’s southern metropolitan areas, Michiganders’ vacation homes are located primarily in more rural areas in the northern part of the state with amenities close by. And as Michiganders near their retirement, a goal for many is to own a winter home located in a warmer climate such as Florida or Arizona. A few of metro Detroit’s top designers shared their clients’ relaxing vacation homes.

"For many years, my clients enjoyed their unassuming 800-square-foot cottage nestled in the woods overlooking Grand Traverse Bay. Enamored with the Charlevoix area of Michigan since their youth, they decided that they would eventually someday retire here, but not into an 800-square-foot abode. Honoring the scale of the surrounding forest and the grandeur of the Lake Michigan, they recently replaced the tiny cottage with a custom, sprawling 3500-square-foot Prairie-style home. Halquist limestone walls flow seamlessly from the exterior to the interior. The gold and bittersweet color palette was influenced by the undulating metal wall hanging over the dining room buffet, one of the few items transferred to this residence from their home in Oakland County. This palette also echoes the famous sunsets of Lake Michigan, which are enjoyed through the floor-to-ceiling walls of glass windows facing west.
" – Linda Shears, Linda Shears Designs

"This new construction condo located in Naples, Florida, is a winter retreat in a golf community. The homeowners are busy executives and are only able to visit a couple times a year, but they wanted a retreat that had a different aesthetic from most of the Florida residences. They desired a sophisticated and contemporary, yet warm environment, so we used dark porcelain floors as opposed to the traditional lighter floors in the South. It was important that the furniture pieces were comfortable yet interesting. The four woven leather and wood chairs created a separate but inviting place for them to visit with their guests, and the two chandeliers are all made of shell, which gives a nod to the Florida location." – Ann-Marie Anton, It’s Personal Design

"This vacation home sits on the shore of a quiet bay just beyond the reach of northern Lake Michigan. Purchased for its generous lot size and location, the original house that stood on the property was slated to be demolished. The homeowners wanted an open floor plan for the contemporary house, while maintaining the refined scale and intimate room sizes one would find in one of the century-old cottages nearby. Classic materials were chosen for the interior backgrounds. Walls and ceilings were covered in tongue-and-groove paneling while floors were laid with thick, hand-hewn boards. All interior millwork was to be painted white, while outside, materials such as cedar shingles, natural stucco, and chunky field stones were selected for their classic cottage appeal. With the neutral backgrounds in place, the interior could now be brought to life. Painted furniture, vibrant fabrics, and cheerful animal motifs were used throughout the house, playing to the homeowner’s primary request for bright bursts of color and whimsical creatures at every turn.
" – Kevin Serba, Serba Interiors

Left: vintage bowling pins hanging upside down. Right: Mounted 3-D art. Design: Dan Davis | Photos: K.C. Vansen
Left: vintage bowling pins hanging upside down. Right: Mounted 3-D art. Design: Dan Davis | Photos: K.C. Vansen

Monday, May 1, 2017

Art Lesson

A well-placed piece of art or the perfectly incorporated artwork collection can do wonders in completing any space. Whether it unifies a room via an appropriate color palette, or simply provides a stunning focal point, artwork has solidified its role as an essential design element. Some of the area’s top designers shared their tried-and-true methods on how they successfully incorporate artwork into their projects.


“Layering in 3-D elements can add a lot of depth and texture to a space, as well as an element of surprise. Whether the piece itself has dimension or the frame does, or even if it is combined with dimensional pieces in the same grouping, art presents itself in a unique manner when all 3 dimensions are engaged. We use plates, architectural elements, collectibles, and dimensional frames to get this effect.” – Dan Davis, Dan Davis Designs


“Many of my clients are serious collectors and the photo above from a project in Miami Beach is a great example. In fact, the art was purchased before the room was even laid out! The client, a passionate collector, inspired us to design the architecture around the art, which is no small feat in a high-rise. Working with architect Joseph Mosey, we created this dining space with specific lighting and furniture that coordinated with the four art pieces – including the wall-sized painting.” 
– Lucy Earl, Jones-Keena & Co.


“The above images display two different ways I used the artwork in two of my clients’ homes. One of the images shows a very structured and symmetrical collection. The use of large white matting is a powerful way to make smaller items seem more important. The art is visually contained within this set-back wall. A single framed piece in this area would have been far less interesting! The other image features a more collected look. I had a tall wainscot built to act as a ledge for displaying ever-changing photos and art.” – Terry Ellis, Room Service Interior Design


“Most art requires artificial light to maximize the color, texture, contrast, and nuance of the work. Specialty art lights installed in the ceiling are commonly used in galleries and museums. Because of the precision and quality of this type of lighting, it is frequently the choice of architects, designers, and lighting designers to present art as the focal point in a room. Regardless of the method that is chosen, the importance of proper lighting on fine art cannot be underestimated and should be as important to a space as the furnishings.” 
– Kathleen McGovern, Kathleen McGovern Studio of Interior Design

“Most galleries hang their art at average eye level, about 57” - 58” inches up from the floor to the center of the artwork. This is a good rule-of-thumb for eye-level standing up areas where the observer is passing through. Use this standard when hanging art in a hallway or foyer. Adjust gallery height for the people in the house. Think about hanging art a bit lower in kids' rooms. If a room is going to be used mostly for sitting, hang the art lower to keep it at eye-level sitting down. Do not leave a large gap between the sofa and the artwork. A huge gap negates the engagement between the artwork and the sofa. I inwardly cringe when I see art hung too high and floating miles above the sofa. A rule of thumb is 6" - 8" off the floor, above the sofa. What if you have a larger sofa and a higher ceiling but do not have a substantial work of art to fill the wall space proportionately? Groupings are a wonderful answer. They provide interest and can read as a single unit.” 
– Linda Shears, Linda Shears Designs

Charming rustic bathroom designed CLOTH & KIND. Photography by Sarah Dori.
Charming rustic bathroom designed CLOTH & KIND. Photography by Sarah Dori.

Monday, April 3, 2017

April Showers

Spring has officially arrived and the longer, warmer days will undoubtedly be accompanied by several refreshing rain showers. There’s nothing better on a rainy day than to spend time relaxing in a deep soaking tub or taking in a rejuvenating walk-in shower session. A few of the area’s top designers share some of their spa-like master bathrooms.

Shiplap clad walls pair with a soaking tub in this modern farmhouse, designed by CLOTH & KIND, making for the ultimate spot to unwind. An infusion of rustic charm and abstract art by Sally King Benedict make the brand-new space feel welcoming and well-lived in.

Jones-Keena designers Rachel Hartung, Amanda Rink, and Nicole Withers just wrapped up a master bath in a new build Oakland County home. The clients favor contemporary and modern, and wanted a peaceful, luxurious master bath – an oasis with "some sparkle."

A recently completed master bath, designed by Pamela Livingston Hardy of Creative Renovations, provided the homeowner with an enlarged bedroom, larger bathroom, and walk-in closet. The design intent of this room was to create an Urban/Rustic space. The bathroom has a freestanding tub adjacent to the two-sided fireplace that is shared with the bedroom. The natural stone on the fireplace wall reflects the overall theme. The plank tile flooring replicates a wood pattern that blends well with the design of the room. The shower has a Euro door with pebble tile on the shower floor that runs outside of the shower in free form to surround the free-standing tub. The hardware is an Urban/Rustic style that fits very well with the cabinets and tile. The walk-in closet adjacent to the bathroom uses wood tones that match the bathroom cabinets.

A master bathroom designed by Kathleen McGovern Studio of Interior Design is part of a restoration project of a 1926 high-rise condo on the water. The marble mosaic tile floor, vintage style sconces, and a mid-century bench create an eclectic style. The micro-basket weave Carrara marble mosaic tile is Virginia Tile and the mid-century leather bench is from Baker Furniture.

A mid-century inspired master bathroom, designed by Toby Sneider of Sneider Custom Interiors, features custom walnut cabinetry for the double vanity and storage area. The space also includes a vintage rug, lighting, and accessories. Custom L-shaped "his and hers" vanities with figured walnut highlight this bathroom renovation. Custom storage cabinets, porcelain tile, and a glass feature wall provide function and low maintenance as well.

“There is nothing fresher and more elegant than a white bathroom, so the whole space was designed with very light and fresh patterns and fixtures. The master bedroom furniture is traditional, so I selected an updated, more modern bath but with some traditional or vintage accents. The cabinet has traditional Cremone bolts that slide up and down to lock, and the bathtub has a highly carved ball-and-claw foot. The Greek key motif on the wallcovering is also timeless, adding elegance while also complementing the natural cut stone pattern in the floor in a modern way. The amount of pattern in the tile is also helpful in making a person feel safe from slips and falls in a bath and shower area, and this was important in a shower using 18'' x 36'' floor tiles. The recessed medicine cabinets and all-glass shower stall have sharp clean lines with shiny polished nickel finishes with a minimalist style that is also on trend. The van Gogh painting of sunflowers is a classic and adds cheerful warmth. There is also a warm gold mosaic floor border that acts as a connective element and becomes a floor-to-ceiling niche in the shower. The square poles and rings on the drapery rods follow all the right angles in all of the above elements and are in a rustic pewter finish.”
- Valerie Young, Valerie Young Interiors

A master bathroom designed by Gail Urso of Urso Designs invites a relaxing soak in the tub while enjoying a beautiful view from this Lake Michigan home or resting after dark under the pendant fixture, available through the Henredon Interior Design Showroom. The spacious shower in the master bathroom was created with glass tiles, both clear and frosted, from Ann Sacks.