Rooms for Improvement

The kitchen and bath are the most important spaces in the house, and an updated look employing clean design and natural materials is the ideal. Two Realtors also weigh in with what potential home-buyers are looking for in these rooms


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In this 1922 home, which was a blend of Arts & Crafts and Tudor styles, the kitchen was gutted and redone with the owners’ desire to maintain the historic nature of the house. Motawi animal series and floral relief border tiles were used with hand-dipped, sepia-glaze field tiles for a backsplash that bridges the original character of the home and the new appliances and cabinetry. The countertops are Caesarstone (Jerusalem Sand). Colleen Crawley, Motawi Tile Works, Ann Arbor; 734-213-0017,; Meridith’s Fine Millwork (cabinetry), Terrell, Tex.; 972-563-6237; Arthur Nesser Studio (stained glass), Algonquin, Ill.;


At 110 square feet, this bath is relatively small. But the space accommodates a soaking tub, two-person shower, alcove toilet compartment, and double sink. The compact tub is a Japanese Ufuro style, which is filled by a spigot in the ceiling. Overall, the look is organic, due in part to the floor, which is natural river-stone tile set in a continuous grout bed with an electrical heat mat below. The countertop and shower stall seat were made from pressed recycled paper. Michael Klement, Architectural Resource, Ann Arbor; 734-769-9784,; Doug Selby and Larry Maciag, Meadowlark Builders, Ann Arbor; 734-332-1500,


When a new master bedroom was added to this ’70s-era home, the former bedroom was converted to large master bath finished in carrera marble. The spa-like room included a separate toilet room with its own linen storage and storage dedicated to the owner’s travel products for easy packing. Other features include a refrigerator and fine Venetian mirrors paired with Home Depot sconces. A lack of color feels clean and allows for changing towel colors as the mood suits. Janice Morse, Designs Unlimited, Birmingham; 248-258-3222,


A natural stone floor is highlighted by a polished mosaic “rug” insert. The custom vanity was designed and hand-made by a local woodworker who finished it with hand glazing to lend an antique look. The custom stone ledge on the vanity countertop is functional and decorative. Silver-leafed mirrors were specially sized and fabricated by a local art gallery to scale atop each vanity space. The designers used wallpaper to visually separate the main vanity area and tub niche. The green-stripe wallpaper is from Osborne & Little; the floral pinwheel is from Brunschwig & Fils. The plumbing, lighting, and hardware are all polished nickel. Dayna Flory and Michelle Mio, of Rariden, Schumacher & Mio Interior Design, Birmingham; 248-723-9160,; Hunter Roberts Homes, Bloomfield Hills; 248-644-4910,


This powder room in a 1928 Tudor home was challenging because it’s composed of three small areas. The same floor tile (Ann Sacks in cooper, light tan, and cream) was used to unite the areas and create a more cohesive look. The custom vanity is large enough to support a contemporary basin without protruding into the doorways. Each end of the vanity is tapered down to 2 feet to fit within the wall and door trim. A small custom console at the powder-room entry matches the vanity. Lisa Petrella, Birmingham; 248-738-3925.


Two intersecting barrel vaults for the ceiling make this tiny space dramatic. The wall and ceiling surfaces are offset by a vintage Baker demilune vanity and Iron Mountain vessel sink. The ceiling’s special effect comes from elephant-skin tissue paper with a thick paint. The bronze fixtures are from Curry & Co. Robert Clarke, architect, CBI Design Professionals, Bloomfield Hills; 248-645-2605,; Michael Coyne Design, Lathrup Village; 248-559-6828.






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