Farmington Hills resident Ken Klemmer’s 1920s storybook Tudor home is located in the 31800 block of Bond Boulevard in Farmington Hills.

Farmington Hills resident Ken Klemmer’s 1920s storybook Tudor home is located in the 31800 block of Bond Boulevard in Farmington Hills.

Photo provided by Ken Klemmer


History buffs join forces in Preservation Farmington series

By: Sherri Kolade | C&G Newspapers | Published February 19, 2018

 Klemmer and his family moved into his home in 2013.

Klemmer and his family moved into his home in 2013.

Photo provided by Ken Klemmer

OAKLAND COUNTY — Farmington Hills resident Ken Klemmer’s 1920s storybook Tudor home, 31805 Bond Blvd. in Farmington Hills, is a fixer-upper. 

He and his family moved into it in 2013. Klemmer, the chair of the Farmington Hills Historic District, could not pass it up.     

“We were looking specifically for a historic house, and I never wanted to run out of projects to do,” Klemmer said in an email. “We found this one with an interesting history and a very unusual style in 2013. We immediately started restoration — it was kind of messed up — to look like it did when new in 1925.”

Klemmer said in the email that most of the house’s details and furnishings are from the 1920s, “even the train set on the third floor.”

The home’s kitchen and den use modern technology, but they still look “somewhat” historical, he said.   

Klemmer — who said, “We will live here forever” — plans to share his home with the community during the kickoff of Preservation Farmington’s 2018 lecture series at 7 p.m. Feb. 27 at his house. The series, running through the fall, is put on by the local community advocacy group with a mission to preserve and protect historical architecture in downtown Farmington. 

Preservation Farmington was co-founded by Farmington City Councilwoman Maria Taylor and residents Jena Stacey and Marilyn Weimar, who are former members of the Farmington Historical Commission.     

The opening event, “Researching Your Historic Home with Stacey,” will discuss options when it comes to learning about historical homes; a tour of Klemmer’s home will complete the event.

Taylor said it’s “really cool to have a workshop in a historic home and then get to go on a tour.”

Other lectures, all at 7 p.m., include a March 27 discussion on “How Farmington and Farmington Hills Got Their Shapes,” with Paul Szewczyk, at the Heritage and History Center in Farmington Hills, 24725 Farmington Road; an April 27 discussion on “Kit House Hunters 2.0,” with Wendy and Andrew Mutch; and a fall discussion on “Emily Butterfield, Farmington Architect,” with Stacey. Some locations are yet to be determined.

Butterfield — who was described as a pioneer architect in the early 1900s — designed Klemmer’s home, which Klemmer said is unique because it is in a historic district.

Taylor said that Butterfield was the first female architect in the state.

“She designed the (First United Methodist Church of Farmington) downtown,” she said.

“Farmington Hills is kind of a unique situation because we have noncontiguous historic districts,” Klemmer said of historical homes that aren’t bound to a particular neighborhood or area. “Each property is a historic district unto itself.”

He added that the closest thing the city has to a historic district, so to speak, is a group of properties in his neighborhood that are registered as historic districts.

 “(The) properties ... grouped together is actually the neighborhood I live in ... and they’re all within sight of each other … not directly adjacent, but it is walkable,” he said.

Taylor said that the lecture series, which began in the fall of 2016, is making another appearance because the group has received a “fair number” of requests from people looking for old photos of their homes in the Farmington area.

“Do we know the history of a certain building or if we have a photo of historic homes — so we always send them to the (Heritage and History Center in Heritage Park) and tell them to contact Mary Yarder, a volunteer at the Heritage Room, or a volunteer there,” Taylor said.

Taylor added that the lecture should give individuals who care about historical homes the tools to research information on these topics.

“It should be a good presentation,” Stacey said. “It will have the original content (from the original series), plus some more — and it is a good basis for people who want to start researching their historic house.”

Stacey added that the research is not only specific to Farmington-Farmington Hills — although some parts are focused on this area — but residents from all over can benefit.

“For our last lecture series, I had people come from Redford, a little farther downriver; someone come from Royal Oak,” Stacey said. “I think it will be interesting and (will) appeal to audiences not just in the Farmington-Farmington Hills area.”

Klemmer said that his home was designed to look old.

“The roof looks like it is sagging a little bit. It’s got this old thatch roof — it’s kind of a restrained example of the storybook style. It’s supposed to convey this look of age and this romantic period of architecture that was a style that was becoming popular on the West Coast in the 1920s,” Klemmer said.

 Admission costs $5, payable at the door; admission is free for Preservation Farmington members.

For more information, go to www.preservationfarmington.org.