A Pale & Pretty Palette
BY: MEGAN SWOYER
A mix of rich and layered textures and soothing grays, whites, and creams makes for an unassuming and relaxing heart of the home.
Backstory: When Armina Kasprowicz, her husband, Vic, and their son, Matthew, moved into their Rochester Hills home about 10 years ago, the kitchen was acceptable but not ideal, says Kasprowicz, an avid cook and interior designer who runs AK Designs and Accents. “It had maple cabinetry, not the highest quality, and a little too traditional for our taste; Formica countertops; and an island that was too small — we couldn’t comfortably sit at it (and there were no lights above it). But I was busy with work and my young son, so it wasn’t a priority.” Today, the opposite is true. On any given evening, you’ll find Kasprowicz and Matthew chopping fresh herbs, rolling up seaweed, and cooking rice for sushi, while Vic selects the perfect bottle of wine from a handy rack. “We updated the kitchen; we didn’t want to start from scratch,” she says. The cabinetry got a face-lift with more elongated, contemporary hardware; fresh, light paint; and a new horizontal glass-front cabinet on top. New linen window shades add texture, while a ceramic backsplash, wine rack, and open shelving provide additional style. A new sink and faucet (“we love the coiled, industrial look”) and a new range and hood make cooking more practical. “We all love the kitchen; it’s the heart of our home,” Kasprowicz says. “It’s now more contemporary, sleek, lighter, and fresher, but still warm and inviting.”
“Growing up in Poland, our kitchen was separate and closed from the other spaces and guests; now I have just the opposite,” Armina Kasprowicz, above, says with a laugh — although she still adores her family’s century-old vintage silverware. About three summers ago, her teenage son, above, started cooking with her. “It was summer, he was off from school, and we just started cooking together. It’s a great way to spend time with each other. A kitchen is so much more than the cabinets and design. When the three of us (Kasprowicz, her son, and her husband) are here, there’s that warm feeling that you only get from being together in a kitchen.”
A horizontal line of cupboards with a milky-glass front “creates softness, height, and a finished look,” says homeowner/designer Armina Kasprowicz, “rather than just another panel of wood.”
She loves mixing textures like shiny, silver hardware; a stonewashed linen Roman shade that she designed (Arabel Fabrics, with linen tape from Schumacher); linen sheers, in silver-gray (fabric from Arabel); hammered shiny silver globes (from Arteriors); a quartz countertop; and a sandy backsplash (Cercan Tile).
“There’s no back to the range, so you see all the tile, and we also installed lights under the cabinets so they shine on the textured backsplash.”
“I tend to go a little coastal,” Kasprowicz says, “but not Caribbean … more like Scandinavian, with a light, fresh, casual feel — driftwood grays, sand dune hues.”
“Matthew is so excited about the newness that he cleans the surface regularly. We try not to clutter it, although that’s not always possible.”
The cabinetry was painted Chantilly White by Benjamin Moore (in Cabinet Coat); the walls are Edgecomb Gray by Benjamin Moore. “It’s a very soft gray,” Armina says. “Anything you put in a white kitchen looks gorgeous and pops, whether it’s a bunch of pink or yellow flowers, or the green of avocadoes and limes. Even a mess looks good in a white kitchen.”
A tray (from Home & Garden Shop, Troy) painted black inside; a tray (from Terrafirma Ceramics) with a circle pattern interior; and a fish-shaped narrow white platter (from Crate & Barrel’s Paola Navone collection) add a splash of color.
“I love open shelving, but that’s not possible for our lifestyle, so I created just a little area for that, and (that’s where) I keep a few everyday dishes.”
Follow the Sun
The sun’s daily journey also affected color choices. “We get the morning sun here, but after 2 p.m., the kitchen gets dark — so the lighter palette is great. Stone countertops reflect light from the silver overhead globes beautifully, the cabinet lights add mood … everything, in its own way, makes the kitchen glow.”
The Big Decision
“We all decided that we don’t have to waste things or start from scratch. Keeping the cabinetry was a big part of our design decision, as was keeping the ceramic floor.”
Above the dining area is a chandelier from Serena & Lily. “The strands of cream-colored beads mixed with subtle bronze veining bring earthy glamour.” A Restoration Hardware dining table and hutch (filled with decanters, water glasses, and more) have a heavy wood style. Wicker chairs (also from RH) add more texture.
BY: MEGAN SWOYER
A California-style 1950s galley kitchen called for just the right backsplash, and tileworks entrepreneur Nawal Motawi had just the design
Backstory: Four years ago, Nawal Motawi, owner of Motawi Tileworks in Ann Arbor, moved into her current home in Ann Arbor — a 1953 ranch-style design with California written all over it, right down to a challenging galley kitchen. The kitchen’s granite countertops are striking but busy, explains Motawi, so she opted for a simple backsplash design that wouldn’t compete with the countertop’s pattern or colors. “I wanted it lovely and elegant, but not overpowering,” she says, “and thought about how to get a Mid-Century sensibility with our Motawi tiles.” Working with stainless steel appliances and white cabinetry, the artist/entrepreneur came up with a striking tile palette of gloss and matte black tiles that play off each other. She also sprinkled in an “oak-y golden hue, to pick up the color in the granite.” The stunning layout graces both the kitchen’s sink and window walls.
“I wasn’t in favor of lining up the tiles in the traditional brick-like pattern,” homeowner/tile designer Nawal Motawi says. Instead, the 2- by 6-inch tiles are in straight rows, with a more “Mid-Century effect,” she says. She called on Bill Ransom Ceramic Tile of Ann Arbor to install her vision. “Bill and his son are great — we worked on where things should start and stop.” Their first visit was to check just on fit.
In the Wash
As there’s no basement, Motawi’s washer and dryer are located in the kitchen, beneath a stainless steel countertop. “They’re especially quiet,” Motawi says.
Motawi and her 14-year-old son, Kitson Dong, both shown at right, love the chocolate chip cookie recipe from Laurel’s Kitchen: A Handbook for Vegetarian Cookery and Nutrition. “I’m not vegetarian, but I like it because it uses less sugar but is plenty sweet, and calls for oatmeal. I also add candied ginger, so my son and I have to split a batch because he’s not into the ginger.”
Motawi’s tiles are “soft on the shoulders … the edges,” she explains. “I design that feature on purpose.”
In the Making
When Motawi first delved into functional crafts several years ago, she experimented with a number of mediums, but clay won her over. “It grabbed me,” she recalls, remembering Tom Phardel, a guest teacher at the University of Michigan who had taken Motawi and her classmates on a tour of the many tile-adorned People Mover stops in Detroit. “I was caught by the tile bug.” She went on to work at Pewabic Pottery, which gave her a “fabulous introduction to tile and the business of tile;” took up residency at the College for Creative Studies; and started her first tile business in the garage of her then-home in Ann Arbor. Since that time, her business has expanded and moved, and now Motawi is looking for an even larger space.
Tour the Tile Process
“The tile is made from ground powders from mines around the country that come from different types of clays — red, white, et cetera.” Ground powders, grog (pre-fired clay ground into tiny particles), and water are mixed together. Grog adds strength to the clay body and reduces the shrinkage percentage. (Motawi actually owns a clay company — Rovin Ceramics in Ann Arbor — as well as her tileworks enterprise.) Motawi Tileworks offers tours to the public every Thursday at 11 a.m. “Visitors see the full process, from raw clay to the finished tile that comes out of the kiln that day,” the designer says. Motawi Tileworks’ style is pretty much in keeping with a traditional, early- to mid-20th century look with “a certain softness.”Sentimental Journey
“I have an attachment to my old stainless steel mixing bowls,” Nawal Motawi says. “They’re a little beat up, but they’re the same style my mother has — the ones in which I used to make cookies quite a bit in high school. I can definitely recognize the look, smell, and taste of cookies made the way we made them then. It was a bit of a comfort ritual, I think, though I would never have used such terminology in those days.”
One of Nawal Motawi’s favorite designs was for the bathroom in her former home. “I made the quintessential gorgeous bathroom in all my favorite European-style tiles,” she recalls. “The shower didn’t have a curtain, so it was an open shower stall. Floor-to-ceiling, the colors are blue, green, and turquoise, all in a tapestry pattern with iridescent dots.”
Wine & Dine
BY: JAMIE FABBRI
A Napa Valley feel seems completely natural in this Plymouth kitchen
Backstory: Thanks to a renovated kitchen (and sunroom), travel enthusiasts Mike and Betty Priskorn feel like they’re on vacation even when they’re right at home in Plymouth. “We both work very hard, so we wanted our home to be a place where we could relax — our retreat,” Betty Priskorn says. The couple, who enjoys visits to Florida and California, enlisted Justin Sharer, of Plymouth-based Sharer Design Group, to create a Napa Valley vibe in their kitchen after moving into the home in 2012. “They wanted it to feel like (they were) walking into a winery,” says Sharer, who worked with the Priskorns to open up their kitchen space and incorporate rich hues and materials. Sharer says the end result was “even better than we were imagining.”
When hosting company, homeowner Mike Priskorn enjoys serving wine from Chappellet Winery — one of the couple’s favorite California vineyards.
The Home’s Heart
The Priskorns spend the majority of their time in the kitchen and sunroom. “They’re the hubs of the home,” Betty says.
Brushed nickel hardware was used on all the cabinetry to “complement the stainless steel appliances and sink,” designer Justin Sharer says. He and the Priskorns also liked how the brushed nickel “popped” from the dark cabinets.
The new wine bar — which includes a wine cooler, a rack for everyday wine, and space for glasses, books, and more — is a main focus of the room and something the Priskorns were passionate about incorporating. “The total bottles of wine in our cellar (number about) 600,” Mike says. As many as 60 bottles are displayed in the kitchen.
BY: JUDITH HARRIS SOLOMON
This ultra-clean space — in mostly white, with splashes of blue — manages to retain family-style comfort
Backstory: Jodi and Justin Trivax and their daughters — Sienna, 8, and Tessa, 9 — moved into their brand-new, 5,300-square-foot Fond Du Lac stone and frame home, located in Birmingham, at the beginning of June. They met their interior designer, Sharon Kory, of Sharon Kory Interiors, while working on finishes with their contractor, Jonna Luxury Homes (Kory is an interior-design affiliate/partner of the builder who works with the builder’s clients on finishes and materials). The kitchen’s design was actually inspired by a photo the homeowner saw on Pinterest. “Pictures from magazines and websites have been a very good inspiration for me,” Trivax says.
In the butler’s pantry, four small Limoges porcelain hand-painted treasures (including a chair, backpack, heart, and handbag) sit atop the Calcutta marble counter. “My grandmother bought these for me when I was a teen,” Jodi Trivax says
Made out of natural iron with stainless steel straps, the Trivaxes’ hood was fabricated by Patra and Patra Studios, located in Royal Oak. “We ended up changing the hood just a little … making it a bit bigger and the straps a bit wider than they appear in the (inspiration) photo … so it would really make a statement,” homeowner Jodi Trivax says. Placed among white wooden cabinets and white Calcutta marble countertops, it does just that.
For the kitchen’s hardware, the Trivaxes chose brass, flat-faced knobs and pulls with an antique pewter finish. Manufactured by Top Knobs, they were purchased at Herald Wholesale in Troy.
Catch the Bead
The kitchen and breakfast areas feature white beadboard ceilings, and the breakfast area also has a beadboard wainscot. The beadboard “helps to create a cozy feeling,” says interior designer Sharon Kory.
The room’s bold, double-stacked cove crown moldings add an elegant touch.
Meet and Greet
“The breakfast area is really the center of our house,” Jodi Trivax says. “We meet here, have dinners here, work here, and entertain guests here.”
“The kitchen area is a great place to do homework and to just sit and have conversations,” Jodi Trivax says. “It’s where the kids (shown below with
Trivax) like to hang out.”
Singing The Blues
A blue-and-white color scheme wends its way throughout. In the breakfast area, built-in benches are upholstered with navy blue leather, while the Serena & Lily “Riviera” side chairs and stools (1930s European bistro chairs that have been reinterpreted) are covered in navy and white rattan and woven plastic. The butler’s pantry backsplash is made of Made A Mano blue-and-white ceramic tiles from Denmark, and part of Jodi Trivax’s collection of blue-and-white Royal Copenhagen porcelain adorns a kitchen counter.
The Trivax kids particularly love what the family calls “Taco Night.”
Everybody loves to sit around the huge rectangular, salvaged-wood farmhouse extension table the couple purchased at Restoration Hardware. They decided to push two of the tables together to make one long table. (See more salvaged style beginning on page 42.)
“I love my kitchen!” Jodi Trivax says. “We successfully created an elegant, clean, and classic feel, as well as a cozy environment where the whole family can gather.”
A Little Jewel Box
BY: MEGAN SWOYER // PHOTOGRAPHS BY JEFF GARLAND
Guests get lost in the beauty of this petite gem and its exquisite appointments
Backstory: A couple of empty-nesters were ready for a new look in their Bloomfield Hills home when they hired Jane Spencer, of Jane Spencer Designs. Overall, the home now leans toward a transitional style — classic but streamlined, says Spencer, who’s based in Bloomfield Village. One of the homeowners’ wishes was to have a formal powder room that was ultra-beautiful, so Spencer suggested a look reminiscent of a “little jewel box.” Says the designer: “When you’re in the space, you want to look around. There’s something beautiful in every direction.”
Designer Jane Spencer asked artist Jennifer Haver to paint the mirror to match the silver leaf on the chest hardware. “We hung the mirror on a block of wood so that it floated off the wall, to clear the wainscoting.”
The designer chose Sherwin-Williams’ Tony Taupe (7038), a warm neutral, for all of the room’s moldings.
The two sconces and the lantern, from Currey & Company, also boast an antiqued, silver-leaf look. “They’re all on a dimmer — they create a lot of great shadowing.”
The hammered-nickel sink — and its bands of texture — is a standout.
“We were looking for a luxurious statement with a surprise,” the homeowner says, “and Jane (Spencer) delivered.”
Got It Covered
“The wall covering (on all four walls) is made of an incredible silk embroidered fabric (from Pollack Fabrics, Tennant & Associates showroom, Michigan Design Center),” Spencer says. “There’s a ton of fabulous wallpaper out there, but we wanted this to be extra-special. Not only is the texture great, but the detail is stunning — in three colors — and super gorgeous.”
“Formerly, the overall look was very up-country, which the homeowners didn’t want, but I thought the chest and its nice wood could still work in the space,” Spencer says. She hired Jennifer Haver, of Livonia-based Creative Mural Designs, to apply silver leaf paint to the handles, eliminating the shiny brass look. Finally, “We whipped the top off and replaced it with marble, which has pretty curves that are more modern.” The flooring, a wide-plank oak that runs throughout much of the home, also remains.
A Glimpse of Glamour
BY: MEGAN PENNEFATHER // PHOTOGRAPHS BY JEFF GARLAND
The elegance of a bygone era is alive and well
Backstory: Curtains fall languidly. White Venetian-plaster walls gleam when paired with opulent touches such as gold faucets, his and her sinks, and a clawfoot tub. Then there’s the scene-stealer: a small sink inside the shower. That’s right, a sink in the shower. This Bloomfield Hills master bathroom is so swanky, it almost doesn’t seem like a bathroom at all. Think of it more as a retreat into a decadent world of luxury. “It’s a very glamorous look,” says Pamela Singer, the interior designer who fashioned the space. Singer, who has run Pamela Singer Design in Orchard Lake for the past 20 years, says the homeowners allowed her the freedom to create something truly unique. “They were very open,” she says. “They wanted to have fun. It was a great project.”
Also known as puff curtains, the bathroom’s Austrian-style appointment are most widely
referred to as “theater curtains.” They are gathered horizontally, with vertical strips that bunch the fabric as they’re opened.
Dark cabinets contrast with the almost purely white color scheme. Perspectives Cabinetry in Royal Oak designed the cabinetry — including the mirrored vanity, which contains a small sink.
The homeowners had just returned from Paris, where the husband “loved that he was able to shave in the guestroom’s shower, because there was a sink in it,” Singer says. Explains the homeowner: “I was so excited, I sent Pam (Singer) a picture and she went to work. This was no small task, as this concept is not a standard design feature. I now enjoy it every day.” The mirror over the shower sink is heated so that it won’t steam up. (All sinks and faucets in the bathroom are from Advance Plumbing & Heating in Walled Lake.)
The original bathroom didn’t have a completed shower, so the project was a comprehensive overhaul, Singer says. “When you actually work from the ground up and you see all the elements go together, it’s exciting,” she says.
The whitewashed bathroom’s walls feature Venetian plaster, which makes them look waxed and glossed like ground marble. “It’s breathtaking,” Singer says.
BY: MEGAN PENNEFATHER // PHOTOGRAPHS BY JEFF GARLAND
Sophistication on a small scale is achieved through a ‘less is more’ design philosophy
Backstory: Sometimes the smallest packages hold the most unexpected gems. In this case, it’s the elegantly simple powder room of an Oakland County home. Designer Ricci Bellucci decided the space called for an unfussy yet dramatic touch. The result is a spa retreat-like marvel with rich earth tones that meld with subtly spicy accents like chrome-colored trim placed between the wall tiles. “From a design perspective, I always believe less is more,” Bellucci says. Designing for a small space, he added, is more interesting to him because it’s more of a challenge. Bellucci’s previous life in New York City included a successful 15-year career in the fashion industry working for such companies as Burberry and Puma. He then attended Baker College, where he earned an associate’s degree in interior design and certification in kitchen and bath design, in which he has a keen interest. It was while working at Ciot Tile in Troy that he met the Bloomfield Hills homeowners, who asked him to do some design work in their home.Space Smarts
A small room, such as a powder room, calls for creativity and a smart use of space. To limit the amount of different elements, the floor tiles run up the side of the wall and behind the sink and mirror.
Lighting fixtures from Michigan Chandelier warm the room without sacrificing its crisp elegance. Made of chrome with etched glass, they emit a “magnificent glow,” interior designer Ricci Bellucci says.
“When you have too many things going on, it can be perplexing.”
This bathroom may be small, but that doesn’t mean it lacks a resounding wow factor. In fact, the interior designer says, it makes an immediate statement, since it may be one of the first things guests see as they enter the home.
Even the smallest room should fit with the rest of the house. Bellucci’s goal was to ensure the powder room’s design flowed throughout.
The decorative trim between the wall tiles is called a schluter, and it brings an interesting element and a hint of a flair to an otherwise plain wall. “It gives it a little shiny detail,” Bellucci says. “The chrome kind of pops it.”
A stone sink from Russell Hardware in Bloomfield Hills is the centerpiece of the room, and it gives the space the feel of a spa. “It’s soothing,” Bellucci says. The vanity, also from Russell Hardware, features an exotic-looking wood veneer.
“We love our powder room,” the homeowners say. “It makes a statement, yet it is done in a minimalist fashion.”