PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOHN BESSLER
WRITTEN BY KRISSA ROSSBUND
PRODUCED BY KHRISTI ZIMMETH
The aesthetic voice of Kelly and Matt Shuert's Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, home speaks a language of monotone neutrals. But don't grab a pillow and drift into dreamland quite yet. Spilling from one room to the next, the taupe, ivory, and brown palette is no design snoozer. Instead, the basic hues join forces for a color trifecta that delivers a chic background for elegant entertaining of people and parties-occasions where this family of five shines.
From their first discussions in 2007 about building a new house, Kelly and Matt knew that it needed to welcome and comfortably accommodate the people they care about and the celebrations to be enjoyed with them. That included not only family affairs and holidays, but also philanthropic events. Kelly, who began volunteering for Variety the Children's Charity years ago, now serves as president of the local chapter, and when the need arises for a venue to hold fund-raising events, the Shuert residence oftentimes proves the ideal location.
"Variety is part of our family," says Kelly. "I love that it's an international charity with local roots. The money we raise stays here in Michigan and helps a broad scope of needs. My own children are involved with the organization, too, so we all contribute to the community without taking time away from each other."
Gatherings at the Shuert home can tally upward of 200 people, as in one Variety gala that featured tabletop schemes by Detroit's leading interior designers. An annual Christmas Eve open house, where Matt, Kelly, and their three teenagers all invite family and friends, also brings in a crowd for festive cheer.
The property on which the new house sits was selected for its proximity to Cranbrook, a national historic landmark in Bloomfield Hills that includes a school for K-12, a graduate Academy of Art, and leading museums. Its idyllic campus of mature trees and architecture is where the couple loved to stroll. Because their children are students at Cranbrook School, choosing the neighborhood was an easy decision, but they first had to find a piece ofland that was available. Once something opened up, they builtwith a design process that proved to be a challenge. They insisted their house appear old and blend in with the Cranbrook style, avoiding attention as the neighborhood's newest addition. To meet their requirements, Matt and Kelly hired architect Alexander Bogaerts and interior designer Lucy Earl, who worked in tandem to build a structure and subsequently plan interiors that reflected their clients' vision.
"In the past, a traditional house might have blue in one room, green in the next," explains Earl. "But with the homeowners' modern sensibilities, it was more interesting to have a traditional shell with interiors that were quiet and well-edited. This house has threads of browns, grays, and taupes that run through it, with subtle color added by the rugs to give each room its own personality."
The sophisticated dressings of the house all translate into high-impact style and easily embrace the greenery and extra sparkle of Christmas decorations. Luminous velvet and silk fabrics plus twinkling light fixtures exude glamour. Handcrafted rugs in refined palettes and unique fireplace treatments nod to history and heritage. For example, reclaimed petrified wood encases the living room fireplace with rugged texture and also forms the dining room fireplace surround. Three generations of the Shuert family paid a visit to Detroit's 108-year-old Pewabic Pottery to stamp their mark on the home with the individual tiles they designed.
Whether it's an average day or a special season, the Shuert home welcomes all visitors with open arms and a beautiful visual presentation. "Christmas is an especially meaningful time, when we revisit all our family traditions," says Kelly. "The open-house ritual started by my parents continues in my home, and friends who do not have family in the area join our clan. We've hosted my son's drum teacher, priests who aren't giving Christmas Eve Mass, and countless others. It's a magical time."
Architect: Alexander Bogaerts, Alexander V. Bogaerts & Assoc., 2445 Franklin Rd., Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302; 248/334-5000, bogaerts.us
Interior designer: Lucy Earl; assistant designer: Rachel Hartung, Jones Keena & Co., 2292 Cole St., Birmingham, MI 48009; 248/644-7515, jones-keena.com
Builder: Thomas Sebold & Assoc., 35990 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304; 248/642-7711, tsagc.com
Landscape architect: James C. Scott & Assoc. Inc., 300 E. Long Lake Rd., Suite 120, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304; 248/646-6564, jcsa-la.com
Holiday decorating: Gabrielle Reilly, Flowers by Gabrielle, 15029 Kercheval Ave., Grosse Pointe Park, MI 48230; 313/331-9250, flowersbygabby.com