Martin Vecchio Photographer
A pair of empty nesters downsize to 7,500 square feet and open their home to their kids, grandkids and friends — and guests on the Temple Israel House Tour. Here’s a sneak peek.
Three years ago, a woman went on a house tour with some of her girlfriends.
“I wasn’t looking to move; we just love to go on these tours when they come up,” she says.
Her husband, however, had been prodding her to downsize from their home of 17 years now that they were empty nesters — especially since they wintered in Florida, summered in Traverse City and spent less and less time in Bloomfield Hills. The woman, however, was reluctant.
But on this particular tour, she visited a detached condo in Bloomfield Hills that she fell in love with.
“I kept my eye on it,” she says. “Every now and then I’d check the listings to see if it came up.” And one day, it did.
“We went to see it the same day,” she says. “My husband was so excited that I was willing to move that he didn’t even look at it — he just sat in the living room. When I was done touring it he said, ‘You want to buy it?’ I said ‘Yes.’ And we made an offer.”
After years of house touring for fun, she knew who to call to make her own house a home. “Whenever I saw a house I liked, I asked who the designer was, and Jeffrey’s name often came up,” she says of hiring Jeffrey King, president and owner of Jeffrey King Interiors in Birmingham.
“I really didn’t know what I wanted. But he got to know us and our style, and I was very confident giving him the reins,” the homeowner says. “I don’t think I vetoed a single thing he presented to us.”
“[The homeowner] knows what she likes and doesn’t like,” King says. “Once I knew how to tickle her fancy, I knew how to get her excited about it. Even when I get as much freedom as I did on this home, I don’t want people to look at it and say, ‘That’s a Jeffrey King.’ It’s all about bringing their visions to reality.”
The development was done about 20 years ago, “and it was done very well,” King says. “It’s classic, with timeless building materials. But technology has changed so much, we had to update everything — the appliances, the plumbing. It’s a 2018 house that got tied into a 1998 house, but it flows seamlessly. We’re really proud of it.”
Because the couple’s children and grandchildren visit often for holidays and family gatherings, they wanted to be sure the home was entertaining-friendly — which meant room for everyone to be together and be comfortable.
“I love how Jeffrey created a flow from room to room,” the homeowner says. “It’s really cohesive. It’s not pretentious — he made a very homey home — that is also really beautiful.”
The 25th annual Temple Israel Sisterhood House Tour, featuring six homes, will be take place 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday, May 30. $25 advance; $30 on the day of the tour. (248) 661-5700; temple-israel.org.