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Left, the dining room's fireplace is updated with a white mantel and topped with a white-framed mirror. The walls are painted coral, that is picked up again in the rug, drapes and Chinese-influenced china. Diane Woolsey Interiors of Grosse Pointe Farms created the "Dining in Style" room. Right, the loggia has been transformed into the ultimate girls' retreat with blue walls, wheat-colored furniture, neutral colored drapes and blue and white porcelain vases, tea set and lamps. Gail Urso of Grosse Pointe Park was the designer. photo by Ann L. Fouty.

May 01, 2014
A 1920's house built for family gatherings was chosen for the Junior League of Detroit's 2014 Designer Show House and to celebrate the organization's 100th anniversary.

A slate of 19 metro Detroit interior decorating firms with more than 30 designers, decorators, landscapers and artists transformed the empty house with character into a show piece. Modern ideas and pallets were introduced but the original ambiance was maintained for the JLD's Designers' Show House at 1007 Bishop, Grosse Pointe Park.

Additionally, six professional landscapers pruned, planted and enhanced the grounds. A boutique, greenery and café offer opportunities for shopping for the May event. The boutique, located in the basement, features familiar Grosse Pointe artists, such as Jane McFeeley, Shelley G. Schoenherr, Leslie Kujawski Carr and Jenny Elliott and jewelers Julia Keim and Janet Wisner, among others.

"We are delighted to be able to showcase so many talented interior designers at this year's designers' show house, as well as the top landscape teams in the area, who are making the outside of the house just as beautiful as the inside," said JLD president Cristina Garberding. "We picked a very special house for our centennial year and this group of designers, decorators and landscapers are really pulling out all the stops to present a very special house for the public."

The more than 9,000 square foot Tudor house was built in 1921 for the family of Michael Joseph Murphy, "MJ," a Detroit banker and businessman. Early in his career, he owned the Murphy Chair Company in Detroit, which, in the late 19th century, was one of the largest furniture manufacturers in the country. The home features large rooms, eight fireplaces, five family bedrooms, leaded glass windows, original wood paneling and a loggia overlooking the gardens.

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Seventy-year-old Murphy and his wife, Elizabeth, commissioned the house to create an inviting home for their five children and their families to visit. Two other children, Blanche and Harold, never married and lived in the house with their parents.

The steeply pitched roof, patterned brick work and decorative chimneys houses a non-Tudor interior. The interior colonial style has glass double doors leading to each first floor room from the decidedly masculine library, where poems Murphy wrote will be on his desk, to the loggia, a woman's retreat focusing on a blue cushioned confidante sofa. Gail Urso of Urso Designs in Grosse Pointe Park had the challenge of refreshing the loggia, creating a room where the outdoors could be enjoyed without being outdoors.

"The loggia is built into the structure, which is common in Italy," she said. "It has two brick walls and two walls with screens."

Her inspiration, she said, were birds.

"There were 20 cardinals on the trellis," Urso said when she first visited the house.

From that visual, Urso created a room with live plants, a dining table and cushioned chairs with indoor-outdoor fabric. The sound of trickling water in a copper garden sculpture provides the background as guests enjoy looking at the large yard.

Jeanine M. Haith of Showhouse Interiors of Grosse Pointe chose the kitchen to give herself a challenge.

"As a designer, I've typically been invited into clients houses to provide professional design assistance for living rooms, family room, dining room or bedroom. And when it comes to kitchens, clients often think they have to do a complete re-do to drastically change or update the space. I wanted to demonstrate with a little professional assistance, a kitchen can be transformed without a complete re-do," her e-mail said.

She worked around windows and doors, each with a different pane or transom.

"My solution was to mask the doors/windows and balance the room with floor to ceiling sheer window treatments that flank the fireplace/shelving units. The draperies provide a softness to the space and allow light to filter into the kitchen and balances against the black wallpaper," Haith continued.

She used script print wallpaper, black with white script.

"I wanted to elaborate on the notion that the kitchen is often known as the hub of a house. So just think, 'If only walls could talk,' just imagine the stories they could share about the lives of those that have passed through over the years. So the script wallpaper represents this notion and illustrates the thought that the walls have their own written journal."

Diane Woolsey, D.J. Kennedy and Ray Vuia have done 15 JLD show houses and this year they chose the dining room for its spaciousness and light.

"The windows made us want to create a bright happy room, so instead of using cream or green from the area rug, we chose coral to amplify the sunshine," Woolsley said.

The team began with a pink, coral and green French Aubusson rug, she said, using coral for the walls.

"The shade of coral was difficult to choose because we wanted something bright and saturated, not garish as some pinks can be," Woolsey said.

Furnishings are a mix. She said they used a Continental dining table, French chairs, a modern buffet, an English breakfront and a china cabinet with an Asian flare, "so you can take away from many different view points."

Upstairs, Kristin Ross of Finish by Red Décor of Grosse Pointe took a room painted in deep green and transformed it into a pink sisters' suite.

The room's concept was to "combine similar yet opposite and complementary" ideas.

"I chose vintage textiles and classic motifs in order to give the room a timeless appeal," she said in an e-mail. "I knew this space should not take itself too seriously. Little girls love to play dress up and who doesn't love a giraffe in spectator heels?"

She repurposed a china cabinet into a wardrobe. She added fabricated headboards and a vintage chandelier.

Elisabeth Meda of Elisabeth Meda Interior Design of Grosse Pointe Woods chose the master bedroom's sitting room, titling it "Welcome Home."

"This was my first choice," she said, "because of the windows and natural light. It's beautiful all day. I used crystal and glass accessories because of the light that is in the room. I played off the iron in the windows with an iron and glass cocktail table and iron drapery rods."

To create a cozy space, Meda said, she used an area rug of soft sea grass blue and wheat.

This is the fourth JLD house she has been involved with because it's a good cause and supports the community.

"I chose this room to show the possibilities for small spaces and to create a space for young children to play 'house' or engage in indoor reading," said Jane Shook of Jane Shook Painted Interiors of Grosse Pointe Farms. The room was the upstairs linen closet lined with white cupboards and drawers.

"It takes a great deal of time to create custom hand-painted furniture and the show house time lines require one to plan and execute quickly, but everyone involved with the house is supportive in many special ways to make the house another great success," she said.

The completed show house is open Saturday, May 3, through Sunday, May 18. Hours are 10 a.m. through 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Tickets cost $20 prior to the May 3 opening and $25 at the door. The evening preview party is Friday, May 2. Contact the JLD's office at (313) 881-0040 or visit jldetroit.org for more details and retail ticket locations.

Parking and a free shuttle to and from the house is available at Patterson Park, 16010 Essex, Grosse Pointe Park. Parking is not allowed on the designer show house block.

Event proceeds support the JLD's new health and nutrition initiative — Project E.A.T. — which works to provide and support healthy eating opportunities for the children of Detroit and their families. In its newest partnership with Humble Design, a local nonprofit, the JLD is outfitting kitchens with small appliances, pots and pans and utensils, for families who need assistance.

Designers' Show House corporate sponsors include the Richard and Jane Manoogian Foundation, Mrs. Alfred J. Fisher Jr., Mercedes Benz of Bloomfield Hills, Merrill Lynch, Scott Shuptrine Interiors, Shore Pointe Nursing Center, Comerica Bank, Gandelot & Associates, Higbie Maxon Agney, Inc., Mans Lumber & Millwork, Tompkins Products and the George R. and Elise M. Fink Foundation.

The show house

Held every other year since 1976, the designers' show house is the JLD's most significant fundraiser. Close to $4 million has been raised for programs and projects in the city of Detroit.

Established in 1914, the JLD is celebrating a century of service to the community. Through projects and programs, using its financial resources and trained volunteers, members initiate and participate in community-based collaborative partnerships that work to broaden the educational, cultural, recreational, and health opportunities for children in Detroit.

Designers

Vestibule: John Kline of John Kline Color Design, Grosse Pointe Park;

Library: Renea M. Lewis of Design by Choice, Troy;

Foyer and staircase: David Michael Johns and Jennifer M. Johns-Miller of DMJ, Rochester;

Guest bedroom and bath: Laura Radike of Ethan Allen Design Center, Sterling Heights;

Bedroom and laundry room: Kristin Ross of Finish by Red Decor, Grosse Pointe;

Hallway: Jennifer Gushen-Haver of Design in Time, Livonia;

Bedroom: Mary Lujan and Becky Lujan-Stoitsiadis of Hepplewhite's Studio, Rochester;

Master sitting room: Elisabeth Meda of Elisabeth Meda Interior Design, Grosse Pointe Woods;

Master bedroom: Daniel Clancy and Mark Manaro of Perlmutter-Freiwald Inc., Franklin;

Bedroom and bath: Gordon Robinson of Gordon Robinson Design, Detroit;

Linen closet: Jane Shook, of Jane Shook Painted Interiors, Grosse Pointe Farms;

Back staircase: Barbara and Daryl Johnson of The Walls of Virtue, Southfield;

Back hallway: Jeff and Sherry Allor of Detroit Custom Framing and Gallery, Grosse Pointe Woods;

Maid's dining room: Brian Clay Collins of Brian Clay Collins Designs, Grosse Pointe;

Kitchen: Jeanine M. Haith, Showhouse Interiors, Grosse Pointe;

Dining room: Diane Woolsey, DJ Kennedy and Ray Vuia of Diane Woolsey Interiors, Grosse Pointe Farms;

Loggia: Gail Urso of Urso Designs, Grosse Pointe Park;

Sunroom: Phyllis Whitehead of PJ Whitehead Design, Birmingham and

Living room: Loretta Crenshaw of Crenshaw & Associates, Detroit.

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