“Like a time capsule from the 1980s” is how interior designer Carrie Long remembers the “before” of a recently completed West Bloomfield project. With four bedrooms and four and a half baths, the home had plenty of positives but also its share of negatives, the designer explains. At the top of the positives list was its lakeside location and the “absolutely beautiful, wide-open spaces” from which to appreciate the views, the designer says.
Not-so-positives, on the other hand, included dark spaces (including bathrooms filled with black absolute marble) and having to work within the existing constraints of the original property, which had been remodeled a number of times through the years. Long estimates that the last remodel was completed sometime in the ’80s. In fact, she says, she isn’t even sure when the original house was built, adding that it has been changed so many times over the years. “The house wanted to be contemporary,” the designer explains.
The answer was “a complete gut and renovation” to bring it into the present, Long says. Luckily, the homeowners were on board. “They let us take it as far as we wanted,” Long explains. “Their No. 1 goal was for it to feel contemporary and clean.” Additional goals were to improve the flow and floor plan, while lightening and brightening the residence and giving its owners the serene feeling they were seeking. “We ultimately changed the entire layout and function of the house,” the designer says.
Updating and modernizing were priorities, too, but so was making the home “sophisticated, yet warm and cozy,” according to the designer. The hands-on homeowners enjoyed the process and worked with Long during the planning stages, researching materials and expediting decisions.
Rearranging some rooms and taking down walls fixed the floor plan. Changes included carving out an office off the foyer from the existing first-floor master suite, and reworking the two upstairs en suite bedrooms. Walls were moved in the lower level to create a yoga and exercise room. While the kitchen had been redone before Long started working on the home, she worked with Perspectives Cabinetry to update both the master and the guest baths, opting for a mix of light and dark tones in both that played with contrast while remaining true to the home’s contemporary style.
Not surprisingly, another goal was to maximize the lake views. “Every view in the entire house was about the lake,” says Long, adding that the dining room, living room, great room, and walk-out lower level had watery vistas. She purposely resisted a color palette that referenced the water and avoided any lake-themed accents, preferring instead to let the dramatic views speak for themselves. “We kept everything neutral so the lake would provide both the focal point and the pop of color,” she explains.
With the floor plan fixed, the lake now takes center stage as the home’s headliner. “The big, beautiful floor-to-ceiling windows showing the view of the lake are definitely highlights of the house,” Long says of the abundant windows. “They were all there, but were reframed and maximized.” The living room fireplace, once adorned with large fieldstone boulders that didn’t complement the home’s contemporary style, was re-clad in lighter stone slabs the designer calls “soft and serene.” The new fireplaces in the living room and master bedroom are, in fact, two of her favorite features, and Long says the living room is where she would like to hang out if the home was hers. “I love how big and wide-open the spaces are,” she says. “The oversized sectional is a great place to sit and enjoy both the striking new fireplace and the lake.”
The extensive renovation took about a year to complete, the designer says. “Everything just works so much better together now,” she says.
Carrie Long, Carrie Long Interiors, Royal Oak, carrielonginteriors.com
Sconce – Torch Wall Sconce, Polished Nickel, Boyd Lighting
Stool, Vanity – White Linen Round Stool, Nickel Base, Worlds Away
Bed Frame (fabric) – Custom, Charcoal Two-Tone Textured Faux Leather, Armani/Casa
Chests, Bedside – Custom, Carrie Long Interiors, Royal Oak
Ottoman – Bright Chair; Fabric, Antica Gunmetal Velvety Fabric, Weitzner
Rug – Light Gray and Silvered Heathered Wool, Stark Carpet, Troy
Sconce – Matte White and White Linen Wall Sconce, Donghia
Wallpaper – Off-White Striped Velvety Wallpaper, Weitzner
Chair, Club – Holly Hunt; Back Cushion Fabric, Chocolate and Silver Stripes, Brentano; Body Fabric, Chocolate Brown Crushed Velvet, Donghia
Rug – Dark Oatmeal Ribbed Rug, Stark Carpet, Troy
Sectional – Stewart; Fabric, Light Oatmeal Hopsack, Castel
Table, Coffee – Custom, Marble and Resin, Martha Sturdy, Baker Furniture
Chair, Desk – High-Back Swivel Chair, Bright Chair; Fabric, Full Grain Aniline Dyed Calfskin Leather, Holly Hunt
Wallpaper – Magnetic Wallpaper in White, Weitzner
Artwork – Francine Turk Studio
Countertop – Bianco Precise Slabs
Faucet – Axor
Sink – Stone Forest
Wallpaper – Hartmann & Forbes
Painting – Francine Turk Studio
Vases – Martha Sturdy
GREAT ROOM/SITTING ROOM, TOP FLOOR
Ottoman – Custom, 60-inch Round; Fabric, Faux Leather, Light Oatmeal, Brentano
Pillows, Accent (fabric) – Dark Gray with Silver Diamonds, Brentano
Sconce – Jonathan Adler Parker Sconce, Deep Patina Bronze, Robert Abbey
Sectional – Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams; Fabric, Dark Gray Velvety Fabric, Donghia
Fan – Boffi