Once interior designer Annie Kordas took a good look at the sunroom in this 1938 Cape Cod-style Grosse Pointe Shores home on Lake St. Clair, she knew exactly what to do. With just a few additions and makeovers, the room would go from dark and earthy to inviting, light, and ship-shape.
“It had a traditional feel, with brocades and velvets. There wasn’t much in the way of coastal or nautical energy,” Kordas says. The woman of the home was ready for a new look and asked Kordas to make it breezier and lighter. “The couple had just gotten married, and she wanted it to be sophisticated but with a bit of a feminine touch, too.”
Kordas, who owns Annie Kordas Interiors, based in Grosse Pointe Farms, injected the space with rich blues, intriguing patterns, fresh accents, and a tiny nod to nautical. “We brought in a hint of nautical; I like to keep that look subtle and tasteful, and less is certainly more,” says the designer, who also redesigned many of the homes’ other rooms.
For homeowners looking to create a fresh look that complements water views at their cottages or full-time lakeside homes, Kordas says new paint colors and reupholstered furnishings are a great way to start. In the room shown here, Kordas had the chairs wrapped in a Schumacher Crusoe Ikat fabric and reupholstered the sofa in a Schumacher Navy performance linen. The ceiling and trim were painted in White Dove by Benjamin Moore, while the walls were painted in Benjamin Moore’s Silver Cloud.
The existing rug and floor were fine, Kordas says. In fact, the rug is neutral in tone and it’s an indoor-outdoor piece, so it works well for a lakeside look. “We purchased new accessories, including Riviera table lamps from Palecek, a lucite drink table from the John-Richard Collection (keeping the look light), and a more size-appropriate coffee table from Braxton Culler that complemented the room’s round dining table and chairs.
An antique hand-crafted live-edge chair, placed beside an aqua ceramic garden seat, adds to the mix. The round rattan table and chairs were already in the space.
“We chose to recover the four dining chairs in the same Kravet Taupe Ostrich Leather that borders the custom flatweave rug in the adjacent room,” Kordas says. “Rattan works well in these types of settings.”
Adding simple touches like a suncatcher to enhance the reflection of the morning sun off the lake, a driftwood bowl of lake rocks on the round table, and large antique calcite rocks on side tables gives subtle recognition to the nautical surroundings, Kordas explains. A brass antique sailboat sculpture and an antique fish tray in a bright orange shade (from Judy Frankel Antiques in Troy) add to the mix without being heavy-handed.
Some light linen and cotton pillows and a wool throw blanket for the winter months (all from Williams-Sonoma Home) are more casual elements. A bronze and oxidized blue chess set adds another tone of blue, in addition to the two original, signed ceramic vessels (filled with fresh moss) in differing shades of turquoise that sit on a heavy “ruffled” driftwood tray.
“Overall, I think we brought that beautiful water in,” Kordas says. As for window treatments, they’re nonexistent. “We wanted to keep it all open to make the most of the view,” she says.
DESIGN STAR’S SECRET
According to designer Annie Kordas, “My No. 1 goal in any space is to make a room that invites your guests’ eyes to look around in wonderment and quietly think to themselves: ‘that’s so cool, I wonder where they found that!’ ” As for achieving a lakeshore vibe, she says: “Subtle is a word I would use to describe the nautical touches used to punctuate the space shown here. Many of them are one-of-a-kind curios, especially the riveting live-edge wood chair. It feels like a piece of art and is actually comfortable! There’s always a balance with design. I find that clean lines, crisp colors, and purposeful, unique accessories always enhance a space. It’s easy to take things too far, and then the space becomes kitsch.”
LAKE LIFE LOWDOWN
Lake St. Clair is a freshwater lake that lies between the Canadian province of Ontario and Michigan. Native Americans gave the lake many names, and its present-day title was bestowed upon it in 1679 by French explorer Robert de la Salle, who arrived on its shores on the feast day of St. Clare of Assisi. The lake is part of the Lake Erie basin and is nestled between the St. Clair River and the Detroit River systems. At 430 square miles in surface area with an average depth of 11 feet, Lake St. Clair is much smaller and shallower than the Great Lakes, but features one of the largest sport fisheries in the world. Nearly a third of the entire annual Great Lakes sport fish catch is pulled from the waters of this lake.