Restore & Repurpose

Ingenious approaches to turning old into new, and mixing vintage with modern


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Kathleen McGovern

WHO: Kathleen McGovern is the owner of Kathleen McGovern Studio in Grosse Pointe Park.  A designer for 30 years and a graduate of Michigan State University, McGovern has worked on projects in a dozen states and has utilized equally as many different design styles.

Info: 313-331-4600,



“This room was designed for a young, nature-loving family of five,” designer Kathleen McGovern explains. “The goal was to create a space in their Birmingham home that’s warm and stylish enough for adult entertaining, but safe for three small children’s activities. The 100-year-old fallen-oak cocktail table (with iron base and live-edge shelf) was designed for this room.” (Fallen-oak tables, from $4,500-$7,500, Justin Selby Designs of  Traverse City, 231-715-6400.)

Story Time: This chair (similar to the blue ones in room photo) was requested by the mom, McGovern explains. “She saw the value of a swivel rocker that was large enough to comfortably seat a mom and a child together in front of the fireplace.” Jessica Charles Fairfield wool swivel chair, from $3,100 to $4,200, Baker Knapp & Tubbs Showroom, Michigan Design Center, Troy,

forged finery: This hand-forged brass table lamp is by Vancouver metal artist Martha Sturdy. Jackson wire lamp, $3,060, Baker Knapp & Tubbs Showroom, Michigan Design Center, Troy,


Rehab Addict Cherishes Leaded Glass, Detailed Plaster Work, and Historic Tile

Detroit Home met with HGTV-DIY Network star Nicole Curtis after she completed the nearly five-month renovation of a 1929 home in Detroit on Campbell Street. The host of Rehab Addict, who graduated from Lake Orion High School, shared a few of her memorable insights on transforming what was an appalling home in a disastrous state into a charming beauty that continues to tell its fascinating design story. “It was a complete top-to-bottom restoration — new mechanics and roof,” Curtis says, “but other than that, we refinished everything we could.”

Kitchen Throwback: “This kitchen (below) was unique, with a 100 percent original farm sink still intact. A lot of what’s in there is original or I made with my mom, including the sink skirt.”  

Pleasing Plaster: ”This dining room (below) has exquisite plaster detail that had somehow been missed by the fire that ravaged this home.”

Glass with Class: “Leaded glass was redone by Ann Baxter (Grosse Pointe Park-based Baxter Glass Art), who does amazing churches and huge projects.

In Tile: “The tiles are Pewabic (on the outside of the home), and there are also Flint Faience tiles within.” The Flint Faience tiles were created in Flint, Mich., during the early years of auto production. The kilns that were used to create porcelain caps on spark plugs by day were used to make the tiles during off hours.  — Megan Swoyer

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