Continuing with our series of blog posts profiling the homes on a specific street, this week we explore the first block of Vendome, offering us a glimpse into something special.
Having recently profiled the classically designed homes on Cloverly, and the unique collection of homes on McKinley Place, Vendome presents us with an eclectic mix of houses of varying styles, created by some of Detroit’s finest architects. The architectural styles on display span French and English Colonial, French Provincial, Georgian, and Mid-Century Modern. With so many fine homes to explore we will start with the first block, before moving further up the road next week.
Many of the homes on the first block of Vendome were conceived during the late 1920’s – a golden era of architectural significance in Grosse Pointe Farms. This period attracted some of the big names from Detroit’s leading architectural firms, with many of them making their way to Vendome to create some truly stunning homes.
During the early 1930’s Vendome was home to many prominent residents, who were key figures in manufacturing in Detroit.
H.H Micou designed around 15 homes in Grosse Pointe, with 8 houses in Grosse Pointe Farms alone over a period of 4 years – 1927 (77 Moran) through to 1931 (301 Touraine). His style encompassed from Colonial, Tudor Revival and French Eclectic. Four of his homes can be found on Vendome. Two are on the first block next door to each other: Number 84 (1929) – a French Provincial home and Number 83 (1928), while two further homes are located at 162, and 176.
Gustav Steffens created several homes throughout Grosse Pointe. Based in Detroit he was a leading figure on the committee who put together an Architectural Exhibition in 1909, hosted by the Detroit Architectural Club and the Society of Arts and Crafts (the committee also included Frank Baldwin, Marcus Burrowes, William B. Stratton and Mary Chase Stratton). He created house number 75 – superb Georgian home in 1929.
Robert O. Derrick is one of Grosse Pointe Farms most prominent architects. Having previously worked for Murphy and Dana architects in New York City, Derrick moved to Detroit in 1921 to become a partner at the firm of Brown and Preston. Having moved to 407 Lincoln Road his first commission in Grosse Pointe was the ‘Little Club’ in 1923. Here on the first block of Vendome he designed a Georgian residence, Number 70 in 1929. He created two further homes on Vendome located at 168, and 211.
Hancock and Butler – very little is known about this firm, however they did create this rather stunning French Colonial Home, number 69 in 1929
It is unclear who created the home located at number 56, but the very distinctive English Colonial, built in 1928, is believed to have been built with stone from the Detroit Public Library.
Finally we reach the first home on this block, on the corner of Vendome and Grosse Pointe Blvd, house number 55, created by mid-century architect Alexander Girard in 1952. Unlike the traditional homes designed in the 1920’s this residence is one of a handful of modernist homes that can be found in Grosse Pointe. It is particularly unusual given it Japanese style influences.
Girard had previously collaborated with Charles Eames, Minoru Yamasaki, Georg Jensen, on numerous projects, along with working for Herman Miller from 1952 to 1975.
An architect, interior, furniture, industrial and a textile designer Girard has been described (based on research from Wikipedia) as ‘part of a design team (featuring George Nelson, and Charles and Ray Eames) that has influenced the fundamentals of design throughout the United States and the rest of the world’.
His work at 55 Vendome created a one of a kind home. Nestled in a superbly landscaped corner, this 4,641 sq ft residence fits beautifully into its surroundings and is barely visible from the road.
The homes on the first block of Vendome certainly offer us something special. The array of architectural styles of display provides a magnificent collection of work from an era when the architectural map of Grosse Pointe changed forever.
Next week we will cross Kercheval and make our way up the next block of this special street as we continue with our second part of the Vendome story.
Written by Katie Doelle
Copyright © 2016 Higbie Maxon Agney
If you have a home or building you would like us to profile please contact Darby Moran – Darby@higbiemaxon.com – we will try and feature the property.
(For more historical information on Grosse Pointe, visit Grosse Pointe Historical Society).