Andrea and Mark Brimmer both grew up in homes with a heavy Mid-century Modern style influence, and the couple still adores the look today. “It’s timeless and brilliant,” Andrea says. She and Mark, a football coach, recently built a home on Lake Ponemah in Fenton that defines the classic style and has become fun-central for their grown children, three dogs, and friends. The home boasts 200 feet of lake frontage and is brimming with vivid colors, streamlined accents, and other appointments of the Mid-century era.
To create their dream home, the couple called on Ann Arbor-based interior designer Elin Walters, of Exactly. “My husband and I have very strong design opinions. Elin worked to ensure it had our touch, but took it to the next level with her deep understanding of the aesthetic,” says Andrea, a busy marketing and public relations officer for Ally. Florida-based architect Karl Jasinski designed the home.
“He always wanted to design a Mid-century Modern house. After he completed the design, he handed over the plans and the builder ran with them,” Walters says.
Come summertime, the hub of activity is most definitely the kitchen, along with the adjoining mudroom. “You can actually see the lake and beautiful landscaping (by Matt Shaker of Superior Landscaping) from the mudroom,” Walters says. Meanwhile, the entire back of the home is mostly windows, through which you see the beckoning lake.
Walters found it easy to relate to the Brimmers, as she gravitates toward a Mid-century look herself. She says her own residence, in Ann Arbor, is about 100 percent true to the style, and she thinks the masters of Mid-century, like Eames or Saarinen, would feel right at home there. Most of Walters’ clients choose her as their designer because of her passion for Mid-century specifics. Whether she’s searching for vintage clocks or colorful utilitarian items, her favorite haunts always come through.
In the Brimmers’ home, a Smeg oven holds court in the kitchen. “It was always my dream to have one in bright yellow,” Andrea says. “The color is so incredible; you can’t help but be happy when you look at it.” The couple also loves the blue wall tile, and how Walters designed it to extend beyond the backsplash and onto the wall. “It’s such a statement wall!” Andrea says.
“Andrea and Mark are crazy about colors. Her favorite color is yellow, and she wanted yellows and greens around the house,” Walters says. “The colors in the kitchen are built around the stove’s color. I threw in a contrasting turquoise.”
One challenge that Walters recalls was the stove’s hood. “We had a hood and a short extension that came with it, but it didn’t reach to the tall ceiling. We tried to get an extra extension from Italy, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it would have taken months.” One of the contractors overheard them discussing it and said he had a friend with a body shop in Fenton, and they could probably make it if they could get a color that matched it. And luckily, they did! “It’s a testament to thinking outside the box,” Walters says.
With quartz countertops, leather stools in a caramel color (“which warms up the space,” Walters says), and brass fixtures, the kitchen certainly pays homage to Mid-century appeal. The yellow tile in the nearby mudroom ties in with the stove. The utility space got an extra dose of cheer from colors like salmon and turquoise. The space’s cabinetry was designed by Walters. “Elin’s attention to detail is second to none,” Andrea says.
As for the accent on Mid-century design, the Brimmers say it’s a nostalgic way of living. “The thing we love the most about it is the memories of simpler times that everyone instantly connects with when they walk in our home,” Andrea says. “It just takes you back to your childhood and makes you feel warm and happy.”
DESIGN STAR’S SECRET
“I’m known for my use of color,” says interior designer Elin Walters, “and I tend to be drawn to whimsy. If the design is up to me, I’ll throw offbeat in — like the colorful cubes in the Brimmers’ mudroom.” Another case in point: the felt groceries in the designer’s own home. “I bought a box of Life cereal and a package of Wonder Bread that were made out of felt at a grocery store-themed art installation. They’re squishy and three dimensional; I love them!”
LAKE LIFE LOWDOWN
The Brimmer home is the place to be come summer, and when homeowner Andrea Brimmer is busy with the company she works for and its annual golf tournament (Ally and the Ally Challenge, Aug. 22-28, at nearby Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club in Grand Blanc), things really pick up around the Brimmer home. Professional golfer Mark O’Meara loves staying at the home during the tournament, not only to enjoy the Brimmers’ hospitality, but also to take in the excellent walleye and perch fishing. “Fishing is a great way for him to relax between golf rounds,” Brimmer says. She and her friends and family make the most of the lake. “We love to boat, kayak, and jet ski on Lake Ponemah,” Brimmer says. “It’s a very pretty all-sports lake on a chain of four lakes, and when it’s summer we’re on the water constantly. There’s also a really fun place called Ponemah Lakeside Lodge that we love to boat over to for a drink and a Detroit-style pizza!”
By Megan Swoyer – Photography by Sally Matak