Founding Sister



When Janie Roth says “downsize,” there’s still plenty of spectacular to go around.
After her children were grown, Roth and her builder husband moved into a 15,000-square-foot beauty. But now, with kids and grandkids coming and going, she wanted something easier to maintain.

She found the bones of what she wanted in a Bloomfield Hills condo, half the size of her previous home, and to be a stop on the Temple Israel House Tour on June 1. Roth, the founder of the popular annual tour, and her longtime designer Richard Ross, owner of Richard Ross Designs in Royal Oak, set to work bringing the space alive.

“Richard is very talented using space,” Roth says. “And he’s able to keep it both fresh and timeless. He tends to like clean lines, but all of his houses look different.” Though Ross tore a few walls down, his job was mostly about making the most of the space and creating functional, livable and cozy pockets.

“Downsizing can be fun and glamorous,” Roth says. “I wanted it bright — colors and lighting all affect me very much. But I wanted it to be usable for my grandchildren. We have vinyl cushions in the dining room, we can eat without worrying. But I’ve collected a lot of artwork, especially from local artists, so I’m also surrounded by what I love. I was able to keep my favorite pieces of art, and find places for them.

“I love that I can come home and plop down,” Roth adds. “It’s my baby — it’s home to me. I’ve found home. •


The 24th-annual Temple Israel Sisterhood House Tour, featuring six homes, will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday, June 1. $25 in advance; $30 on the day of the tour. (249) 661-5700;

Lynne Konstantin Arts & Life Editor   |  Brett Mountain Photographer

In the living room, a curved Donghia sofa from the previous home was reupholstered with a dot-patterned Pollack fabric; a pair of curved loveseats in the foyer adds a second sitting area to the enormous space. A painting by Pakistani artist Jamali — founder of Mystical Expressionism whose art is collected by Oprah and Prince — hangs over the fireplace.
Janie Roth entertains often, so the kitchen had to be both functional and livable. She also wanted it to be light and airy. Ross gutted it, adding two islands (one for prepping, the other for serving and eating) and a butler’s pantry with coffee bar.
Ross added mirrored doors to the pale gray cabinetry covering the food pantry, which adds to the kitchen’s sense of openness. Across from it (not shown), a hutch with glass doors allow dishes to be visible. The second white-topped island, with two levels, allows behind-the-scenes serving while the upper level is for eating, with stools tucked into the other side.
Roth picked up the breakfast area’s corner chair in Petoskey. The artwork was a gift from Carol Hooberman, owner of the former Birmingham gallery. Ross added Ann Sacks gray tile “bricks” to the fireplace, formerly a big drywalled wall. “Because of the high ceilings, I thought it needed something more spectacular,” he says. The herringbone-patterned marble on the surround is echoed on the backsplash wall.
The twisted-leg settee in the breakfast area was brought from Roth’s previous home — which Ross also designed. “It was her favorite spot to sit in her previous kitchen,” he says. The exposed bulbs on the Ralph Lauren lighting above the kitchen table gives it antique look. “I love the simplicity of it,” Ross says. Roth and Ross added juicy punches of fuchsia against the mostly pale gray and white palette throughout the home.
French doors open to a den brimming with sentiment: Roth picked up the rocking chair from a home sale in Detroit — she rocked her children and fed them their bottles in it. A pair of Winged Victory candlesticks belonged to her mother-in-law; her father made a wooden violin, piano and box on the table. The lampshade by the rolled-arm sofa was found in Aspen and fringed with the beading of a Spanish shawl.
A c. 1900 Chinese bench sits beside the curved freestanding tub, which steps out to heated floors.
A fuchsia powder room is “unexpected but really works with the rest of the home,” Ross says. He designed the vanity to look like a piece of furniture; above it is a wallcovering designed to look mirrored. The French provincial mirror belonged to Roth’s mother; reflected in it is fuchsia-and-gold striped wallpaper.
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