Dapper in Detroit

Client

TYPE

Residential Renovation

Location

Detroit

PHOTOGRAPHY BY

Brett Mountain

COLLABORATORS

Milton Roberts

miltonroberts.com

While our client has been steadily transforming his Detroit apartment over the years, a new relationship brought the need for a bathroom renovation to accommodate two people. We worked together to co-create a space that honors his love for history, his city, and his significant other.

Our Goal:

Located in Detroit’s historic Garden Court Apartments by Architect Albert Kahn, our goal was to lighten and brighten our client’s bathroom with retro materiality, all while elevating the space’s functionality and storage capabilities. 

Our Solution:

Like our client, we love historic interior design. Historic plumbing, on the other hand…not so much. We eliminated some of the more choppy elements to better utilize space. For example, we hid a drain system between the toilet and shower area in a half wall that also houses the new wall mounted toilet mechanics. We eliminated the unused tub as well to make the room look and feel bigger.

Materiality selections, like the midcentury-inspired silhouette sconces and walnut vanity, also enhance the room’s retro feel.

While our design solution maintained a similar footprint to the original space, subtle adjustments helped ensure his girlfriend feels right at home. Instead of keeping overhead lighting, the sconces were installed at eye-level to offer more flattering lighting.

The bathroom’s biggest transformation and primary nod to history is the meticulous tilework, which includes a bit of everything – London trim, pencil details, soldier stacked vertical tile, terrazzo, a floral yet masculine mosaic floor design, and more. Although the bold, green tile that complements the rest of the space sometimes makes an appearance in today’s projects, the vanity tilework is rarely seen in modern interior design. Not only were the selections critical, but the precise application was key in creating an authentic historical feel.

The intentional storage areas also make this bathroom a more beautiful and shareable space. An extended vanity and hidden electrical outlet nook are perfect for styling tools while the niche throughout the entire shower and toilet wall easily houses toiletries and everyday items.

This project is a great example of how spaces can take on a new life with a little bit of storage maximization and plenty of attention to detail. Not only did it become a perfect blend of masculine and feminine energy, but its new identity aligns with the entire building’s spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

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