Home design awards honor excellence

By: Linda Shepard | C&G Newspapers | Published April 1, 2015

 Marianne Jones accepts the 2015 Brian Killian Rising Star Award. Nicole Curtis, host of HGTV’s “Rehab Addict,” presented the award.

Marianne Jones accepts the 2015 Brian Killian Rising Star Award. Nicole Curtis, host of HGTV’s “Rehab Addict,” presented the award.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

METRO DETROIT — Elegance and simplicity are essential elements of award-winning home design.


“Our clients want quality architectural details,” said John VanBrouck, of Luxe Homes, one of the winners of the Detroit Home Design Awards, held March 24 at The Fillmore Detroit. “They are looking for something that is different, unique and creative with classic styling.”

The Design Awards honor amateur and professionally designed entries for residential and commercial real estate. Entrees are reviewed by a team of industry professionals and selected to receive honors in more than 60 categories.

Design categories include a wide array of topics ranging from overall architecture, landscaping and decor to intricate details like millwork, lighting, window treatments and more. Historic renovation and restoration is also awarded, along with vacation home design and contemporary architecture.

The awards, presented by Hour Media and the Michigan Design Center, were the highlight of an elegant evening that included a strolling dinner and musical entertainment in the historic Fillmore Detroit. The Fillmore was built in 1925 as the Palms Theatre, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1982, and is now in the center of Detroit’s Foxtown district.  


“It is nice to come to downtown Detroit for this, amid all these beautiful buildings,” said William Stephenson, owner of Virginia Tile, an event sponsor. “It is a great opportunity to aid with the resurgence of the city.”


Homeowners are “modest in the Midwest,” said Virginia Tile showroom manager Jeff Kolp. “People love color here but are afraid to put it in their homes.”


VanBrouck, who has taken home top honors at the Design Awards for the past six years, agreed.


“Our clientele are very private people,” he said. “Very educated. They are looking for quality in details like millwork and ceilings.”


VanBrouck and his wife, Donna, who co-founded Luxe Homes, have traveled extensively throughout Europe to research the castles, chateaux, cottages, palaces and villas of France, Italy, England and Spain for inspiration.


He said his high-end customers in Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham and Oakland Township look for first-floor master bedrooms and lots of room for indoor and outdoor entertaining. “The big things are the kitchens and outdoor living,” he said. “It is a lot about covered courtyards for outdoor entertaining.”


Shelby Township-based Cranbrook Custom Homes received the 2015 Reader’s Choice/Best Overall Home honor for a Rochester Hills home that features a rustic style with Montana granite and clear cedar trim, hand-hewn walnut floors and solid-timber exposed trusses. The home also boasts a 3,500-square-foot indoor spa/pool/gym and massage area with a 20-foot indoor waterfall.


Moceri Custom Homes with Pinetree Lighting and Furniture took home a first-place award for interior and exterior lighting for a treatment that replicates historic New Orleans neighborhood lighting with the use of energy-efficient LED fixtures.


Interior designer Marianne Jones, whose business is based in Birmingham, received the 2015 Brian Killian Rising Star Award.


“Opening my own firm was the culmination of my design, renovation and business experience,” Jones said in a statement. “A beautiful home is a collaborative effort inspired by the family and guided by the knowledge and strengths of the design team.”