An artist becomes interior designer for her family’s new home —
one of seven on this year’s Birmingham House Tour.


Jennifer and Todd Kroll had lived on an idyllic street in Birmingham for 17 years — and their teenage daughters, Lilley, 16, and Marlee, 14, had spent their entire lives there.

They loved the area so much that when the growing family began to burst out of the closets of their circa-1950s home, they called in reinforcement for a renovation.

“We were going to expand a bit and add space over the garage,” Kroll says. “I had the plans all drawn up.”

Meanwhile, four blocks over, a brand-new street — still part of their same neighborhood — had been cut in, and a couple of houses had already been built.

“We drove past them every day,” Kroll says. “Literally, just after I signed the papers for our renovation, Todd says, ‘Why don’t we just take a look at the lot over there.’”

They looked — and the same day, Kroll canceled the renovations.

The plans for the new house had already been drawn up, but the couple were still able to tweak them, customizing details that they’d always wanted, including large closets and space to display art collections.

Kroll, who is a jewelry designer and metalsmith, took on the interior design of the home. “I’m super-picky,” Kroll says. “I like to choose everything — I would find what I wanted and have it shipped to the builder. It’s transitional on the outside, but I call it ‘industrial farm’ on the inside.

“I’m really good at finding things,” she says. “And I don’t like to have someone else do what I know I can do myself. I’m sure I would be a pain if I were working with someone else, but since it was just me, I was the only one suffering.”

The family moved into the home in January 2015 — just two weeks before Marlee’s bat mitzvah.

“It’s been said,” Kroll says, “that I’m a little crazy.”

Photo Credit – Brett Mountain

The Community House’s Birmingham House Tour, presented by Hall & Hunter Realtors, features seven homes, from traditional to contemporary. 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14. $40/advance; $45/day of the tour; proceeds benefit the Community House children’s and adults’ programs and services. (248) 644-5832;