Shelby home channels Arts and Crafts style
Paul and Kathy Lyons’ Shelby Township home may look like a nondescript quad level on the outside, but like most things, looks can be deceiving.
The couple has spent years remaking their 3,000-square-foot home, project by project, room by room, bringing together a team of experts to help them create just the right Arts and Crafts look, from furniture and tile to paint colors and moldings.
A longtime fan of America’s most famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, Paul says the house is his version of Wright’s style.
“I always say I don’t know if I could’ve lived in a Frank Lloyd Wright house because he was a little quirky in terms of wanting to design all the furniture,” says Paul, co-founder of the Beef Jerky Outlet franchise. “I absolutely love elements of everything so I look at this being my version of him.”
And the Lyons’ version is very true to the Arts and Crafts style. Ann Arbor-based Motawi Tileworks appears throughout the house. Tony Pacella of Hollywood Cabinets custom made the cherry cabinets with a distinct Arts and Crafts dentil molding.
And throughout the house, built in 1978, is Stickley furniture. Dating to 1900, Stickley is known and beloved for its Mission Oak designs.
Given the amount of cherry in their home — which is abundant — Paul jokes there are “a lot less cherry trees in the world.”
But when the couple moved to their quad-level home with their four kids from Sterling Heights in 1999, it was less Arts and Crafts and more country. Still, the couple was drawn to the house’s beautiful wooded lot and spaciousness.
“We came from a tri-level and I never thought I’d have another quad level,” says Kathy. “But when we came in, it’s very deceiving from the front. It looks small.”
Before tackling renovations, they did their homework.
The couple visited at least three Wright houses, stayed in two (including the Palmer House in Ann Arbor) and even visited the architect’s home and workshop in Chicago.
Wright’s style “just connected with me,” Paul says.
They didn’t start renovating the house until their children were grown. Their first project was to redo their master bedroom and bathroom. They combined two bathrooms to create one large bathroom. They also had a special Arts and Crafts-style wardrobe custom built in the bedroom.
From there, “we’ve done about a project a year,” Paul says.
And nearly every project has required a team approach. The Lyons worked with designer Louise Klatt of LK2 Design to help them choose just the right paint colors and install a built-in bar off the family room area.
Designer Frank Maisano of Gorman’s Home Furnishings & Interior Design helped with furniture selection. They have Stickley’s Morris chairs with their signature wide arms, its Orchard Street sofa, even three wool Stickley rugs.
“Everything is Stickley,” says Paul. “... One of the things Frank Lloyd Wright did a lot that I’ve incorporated is he repeats things a lot — the same patterns. I followed that line of thought.”
Several of the Stickley pieces are part of the company’s Harvey Ellis collection. Ellis was a designer for Stickley in the 1930s. Each of his pieces is inlaid with an abstract design that again looks like it blends perfectly with the Arts and Crafts style.
“They’re kind of abstract,” says Lyons. “It’s exactly from that era.”
Contractor Erik Loszewski of Extreme Remod in Clinton Township helped make their vision a reality.
In the lower-level office, Loszewski custom made built-in bookshelves in the corners, along with another dentil molding to again create a distinct Arts and Crafts look. Paul’s desk and a nearby cabinet were made by Stickley.
Loszewski “is really an artist,” says Paul.
Throughout the house, Paul and Kathy have incorporated artwork that they have collected from some of their favorite local art shows, including Franklin Art Fair, Shelby Art Fair, Arts Beats and Eats and Art and Apples in Rochester. They have pieces from Sidney Carter and Aaron Reed, which blend perfectly with their home’s color palette.
“Almost everything you will see on our walls is from local shows,” Paul says.
Just off the foyer is a custom-made abstract wall sculpture by Florida artist Alan Gibson.
“He came here, looked at our colors. He went back to Florida and showed back up at Thanksgiving. He said if you don’t like it, I’ll sell it to someone else,” Lyons says.
Motawi Tileworks also is a common theme throughout the house. Paul says his first experience with Motawi was when they redid their master bathroom, where it’s a feature tile.
“I was looking around at some tiles online and I found those and thought, ‘I really like those,’” Paul says. “I saw they were being sold by someone in California or Indiana, Google-ed them and realized, ‘They’re in Ann Arbor!’ Isn’t it cool?’”
Sunroom is next
The Lyons’ next project is to redo their sunroom, which was actually added to the house in 2010 and overlooks the picturesque backyard. They plan to replace the furniture and possibly add some built-in shelves and a banquette for their dining room table. They’ll also incorporate more Motawi tile into the space.
Looking at all they’ve done, Paul says his favorite part of the house is sitting on the sofa in the living room, looking into the kitchen and the sunroom.
For Kathy, meanwhile, it may be more how the house makes her feel that she likes best.
“I just come home and this house has a calming effect,” she says. “It’s just so nice to come home to.”