Melding modern and traditional
This is how Gail Bernabucci described her in-laws -- and it shows in her mother-in-law's home on Long Bridge Road.
Jeri Bernabucci owns the house, but Gail and her husband Paul, Jeri's son, are coordinating its participation in this year's Damien Home Tour.
Upon walking into the front foyer, the massive vaulted maple-covered ceiling and open spaces are striking. The architecture as a whole is fairly modern, providing an interesting contrast with the otherwise traditional aesthetic throughout the house.
Built in 1998 by Warren Woytassek, it sits on a double lot looking north on Detroit Lake, and features plenty of brick, as do many of Woytassek's designs.
Not only is the exterior of the home done in a form of reddish-peach brick, but the floor-to-ceiling wood-burning fireplace inside is done in grey with an interesting diagonal lattice design over the mantle.
A brick pathway runs from the back patio of the home out to the beach and docks, complete with in-laid lights for evenings.
There are actually three doorways to the backyard from inside: one from a sitting room off the master suite, French doors from the living space, and another single door from a small sunroom off the kitchen.
The kitchen is all done in the honey-stained oak commonly seen in late-90s homes, including oak treatment on the front of the refrigerator and dishwasher. Ginger colored granite countertops surround.
Oak returns on the trim throughout the home, as well as the many built-in bookcases.
Wall-to-wall dusty teal carpeting is in nearly every room, except the kitchen, which has linoleum.
Off the front entrance, the master bedroom is a flower lover's dream -- the wallpaper, drapes and bed linens all match perfectly.
Across the foyer from the master suite is a dimly lit study -- Gail said it was frequently used by Jeri's late husband, Jack.
Upstairs, two bedrooms have furniture that looks like it's been in the family for generations -- but Gail speculated that it had been purchased in complete sets by the interior designer the Bernabucci's hired when they built the house.
One bedroom features a low-vaulted ceiling and an arch-topped window; the full bath has double sinks.
A highlight of the upper level is the space commonly referred to in blueprints as a "bonus room." It's a comfy little "nook" now, with a small skylight in the low ceiling, a desk, rocking chairs and dolls, an ideal place for grandchildren to play.
"My mother-in-law is a very petite woman, so she liked this room. She would work at this desk, catching up on correspondence," Gail said.
Looking over the railing at the landing at the top of the stairs, one can take in nearly the entirety of the main floor -- it's a very open design, and the high ceilings make it expansive.
"It's really functional," Gail said of the spaciousness. "When we were here for Christmas, we had 12 people and three dogs, and it still felt pretty open. You don't feel crowded."
She said she and Paul used to come visit from their home in Horace, N.D., nearly every weekend, often staying in the guesthouse over a detached two-stall garage (attached to the house are an additional three stalls).
"Now we've gotten so busy, this summer we've only been here seven or eight times," she said.
The guest space "has more of a lakey feel," Gail said.
It's like a studio apartment -- just enough space for a big bed and a couple couches, with a kitchenette and bathroom.
Big picture windows line the lakeside wall, though -- perfect for catching the sunrise over Lake Detroit -- the perfect respite on a weekend when the leaves start turning.