Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – The Modern Colonial Work of Omer C. Bouschor – Part 2

Last week we covered the Tudor work of Omer C. Bouschor. During his career, this Detroit based architect created well over 29 homes in the community – more than many other architects.

The architectural style(s) that influenced Omer C. Bouschor’s homes in Grosse Pointe could be described as be defined by two very distinctive approaches. From the residences we have presented there is a distinct shift from his Tudor Revival homes of the 1930’s, through to the modern colonial homes he created between 1935 and 1954.

This week we explore the 15 modern colonial homes he created across the Grosse Pointe communities. Given that Bouschor’s 14 Tudor inspired homes (during the 1930’s) are clearly the work of a man who was adept at one particular architectural style, it is incredible to think he could so seamlessly transition into designing handsome colonial homes.

Having worked primarily in Grosse Pointe Park during the 1930’s Bouschor, in the 1940’s, began to work in the Farms and the Shores. From the list below you will see just how many superb homes he created during this period.

1935
113 Merriweather

This is one of the earlier homes to display a change in style to his modern colonial approach. Constructed from brick, with a clapboard front on the second floor, this 3,500 sq ft home is poles apart from the Tudor homes he was predominantly creating during the 1930’s, and was possibly his first project in Grosse Pointe Farms.

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113 Merriweather

1936
15127 Windmill Pointe Drive

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15127 Windmill Pointe Drive – Courtesy of Realtor.com

1939
759 Berkshire

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759 Berkshire

1117 Bishop

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1117 Bishop – Courtesy of Realtor.com

505 Middlesex

1940
103 Vendome

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103 Vendome

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – An Exploration – Part 4: Bedford Road

Continuing with our review of individual streets in Grosse Pointe, we proceed in our exploration of Grosse Pointe Park and the intriguing street of Bedford.

Many of the houses in the Park were built prior to World War II, created for high-flying executives looking to relocate their families to Grosse Pointe. By the 1940’s the Park had an abundance of architecturally significant homes, located on many prestigious streets, including: Bishop, Kensington, Yorkshire, Edgemont Park, Three Mile Drive, Berkshire, Balfour, Middlesex, Westchester and Bedford (to name but a few).

Bedford has many interesting houses for us to profile including a number of homes created by several noted designers including: John C. Stahl, J. Ivan Dise, Robert Calder, Walter Mast, and William Kuni.

While these designers might not be household names, these architects made a difference to the architectural scene in Metro Detroit. They worked diligently throughout the area, creating houses that left a mark on the communities they touched.

John C. Stahl designed two homes on Bedford – 1006 and 729. Stahl (in collaboration with Donald L. Kinsey) designed 1006 Bedford in 1919 for one of Detroit’s most prominent realtors, John H. Tigchon and his family. The home was one of only a few homes in Grosse Pointe to be designed by the architectural firm of John C. Stahl and Donald L. Kinsey. Very little is known about Donald Kinsey, however John C. Stahl was recognized as one of the most skilled church and school architects in the state.

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1006 Bedford

This Colonial style 4,000 sq ft home is constructed from brick with a slate roof. It has a classic oversized entrance associated with this architectural style, which is flanked by a row of two columns either side of the door, supporting a roof above the entrance. At the time of completion the house was featured in an edition of Michigan Architect and Engineer as depicted by the black and white image below. You can read the full story of this home by clicking here.

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1006 Bedford – Courtesy of Michigan Architect and Engineer

House number 729 was completed in 1938. It is a 4,205 sq ft English Tudor style brick home that features a cathedral ceiling in the great room, along with beautiful natural woodwork throughout. At some point the home was expanded. We believe the expansion, in part, featured an update to the second floor – the master bedroom was altered to be equivalent in size to the living room (18’ x 24’sq ft) and a large master bath (11’ x 14’ sq ft) was also added.

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729 Bedford

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Grosse Pointe Open Houses for this weekend – Sunday, October 23, 2016 from 2-4 p.m.

HMA has an open house this weekend — Sunday, October 23, 2016 2-4 p.m.:

Liana Schissel will be holding open 1100 Devonshire, Grosse Pointe Park

Spectacular Move-In ready 4000+ sq. ft Colonial on a large corner lot with an oversized attached garage.  Come and enjoy the expansive center entryway, large dining room, and stunning details throughout this show stopper home.  Tastefully remodeled kitchen (2014) with large butcher block island, newer appliances and a beautiful butler’s pantry complete with secret storage drawers and a gardener’s sink. Refinished hardwood floors and completely new interior paint (2014).  Three fireplaces – Living Room, Master Bedroom and Library. The master bedroom has a large walk-in closet and ensuite bathroom. Beautiful lushly landscaped English garden with a lovely private outdoor patio.  The finished basement has a rec room with laundry, bonus back room, 2 walk in closets for storage as well a half bath.

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For more detail visit:  http://ow.ly/cK1x305mNrh

 

We look forward to seeing you!

 

For a full list of this weekend’s Open House’s visit: http://ow.ly/OfcZr

 

 

 

Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – The Work of Charles Kotting

Having recently featured Mr. Kotting’s work at 43 McKinley we wanted to continue with our exploration of this architect by profiling some of the other homes he created in Grosse Pointe.

Charles Kotting, born in the Holland in 1865, worked on both commercial buildings and residential projects throughout Metro Detroit. Having completed his architectural studies in Amsterdam, Kotting moved to Detroit at the age of 24. He joined the prestigious firm of Mason and Rice, where he stayed for thirteen years. In 1903 he team up with fellow architect Alphus Chittenden. During their 13 years together they created several ‘landmark’ buildings in Detroit including the Detroit Boat Club’s building on Belle Isle, the office building at the Detroit Stove Works plant, along with some very prestigious homes in Grosse Pointe.

After parting with Chittended in 1916, Mr. Kotting worked alone. It is believed during his career working in the city, having gained the reputation as an incredibly skilled designer, Charles Kotting created over 100 structures in Metro Detroit. From the book ‘The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922, Volume 3’ (by Clarence Monroe Burton, William Stocking, and Gordon K. Miller), Charles Kotting is ‘recognized as an architect of pronounced skill and ability, one whose designs combine in most attractive form, utility, convenience and beauty’.

Here in Grosse Pointe Charles Kotting created several stunning homes, which include (amongst others) the following –

Projects with Alphus Chittenden:

43 McKinley – built in 1905 (for Dr. Ernest T. Tappey)

This classic English style residence is constructed from brick, and features a heavy slate roof with copper gutters and downspouts, Built in 1905, the 8,500 sq ft residence was possibly one of the larger homes constructed in the Farms during this era. You can read the full story of this home by clicking here.

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35 McKinley – built in 1909 (for David Gray)

The 7,000 sq ft residence is constructed from double brick walls, and finished with stucco. It has many superb features and characteristics from two designers who were accustomed to creating elegant homes. You can read more about this home by clicking here.

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16900 East Jefferson – built in 1913 (for Frank W. Hubbard).

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Courtesy of: The Buildings of Detroit – William Hawkins Ferry

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – An Exploration – Part 3: Westchester 2nd block

Having previewed the myriad of architectural styles on display on the 1st block of Westchester we continue our journey down the street as we explore the 2nd block – between Fairfax and Exeter.

Many residences on the first block were created during the golden era of the 1920’s, however the homes on the second block span several decades. Primarily the 1920’s through to 1940, the broader range of influences come from numerous different movements and eras – there is the Art Deco styled modern home at number 766, the excellent example of a classic Georgian Colonial home, number 895, the Tudor inspired home of 718 and the French Provincial style of house number 705.

So lets begin with one of the older homes on the block, house number 705. Designed in the French Provincial style the 3,306 sq ft house was built in 1921. Constructed of brick, like many homes from this era, the design demonstrates several distinctive characteristics of this style, including the tall second story windows that are arched at the top, a steep roof with a tall rectangular slender chimney along with wrought iron detailing.

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House number 899, a 2,300 sq ft English inspired residence, was designed by renowned architect Richard H. Marr in 1923. Marr created numerous Tudor Revival and English country manor inspired residences throughout Grosse Pointe including 740 Whittier, 1009 Three Mild Drive and 905 Balfour (to name but a few). Richard Marr was known as the “Architect of the Midwest Millionaires”, creating upper end homes for some of Detroit’s wealthiest families.

This home is currently for sale; you can view the full listing by clicking here.

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Image courtesy of mirealsource

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – An Exploration – Part 2: Westchester 1st block

Continuing with our exploration of individual streets in Grosse Pointe, we now turn our attention to Grosse Park and the sunny street of Westchester with its eclectic mix of homes.

Having recently previewed the houses on several prominent roads in Grosse Pointe Farms and the first block of Roslyn Road in Grosse Pointe Shores, we thought it was time to start exploring the Park.

Many of the houses in the Park were built prior to World War II. Built for high-flying executives looking to relocate their families to Grosse Pointe, the requirement for a grand home close to Lake St. Clair began to attract many noted architects. While some of these architects were based in Detroit, others came from further afield and were of national prominence.

With its collection of large, architecturally significant homes, the Park has plenty of prestigious streets, including: Windmill Pointe Drive, Bishop, Kensington, Yorkshire, Edgemont Park, Three Mile Drive, Berkshire, Balfour, Middlesex, Devonshire and Westchester (to name but a few).

Westchester has a superb range of architectural styles, so much so we will be previewing the 1st and 2nd blocks as two separate posts. In this first post we will be introducing you to the excellent example of a Dutch Colonial home, number 947, the clinker bricks of 960 and the rare Spanish style of number 940.

So lets begin with our adventure on the 1st block – between Jefferson and Fairfax. Many of the homes on this block were created during the golden era of the 1920’s. There is a myriad of architectural styles on display along with a wonderful collection of attractive details.

Two of the older homes on the street are numbers 947 and 961 – both homes were built in 1922. House number 947 is arguably one of the finest examples of a Dutch Colonial Revival home in all of the Grosse Pointe Communities. The Gambrel roof is its most distinguishing feature along with the decorative doorway, and multiple windows. This home is 2,324 sq ft and is an excellent example of the varied architectural styles that can be found on this road.

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947 Westchester

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947 Westchester

House number 961 has been described as colonial style with Italian influences. Also built in 1922 this 2,916 sq ft home features an excellent example of a porte-cochère. Traditionally, this structure provided a covered place for vehicles to stop thus allowing passengers to be protected from the weather as they entered the home. It also allowed a vehicle to pass from the street to an interior courtyard. It was a feature of many 18th and 19th century mansions and public buildings in Europe.

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961 Westchester

961 Westchester

961 Westchester

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961 Westchester – porte-cochère.

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – A Home Fit for an Architect

Having profiled the work of architect Leonard B. Willeke, and the highs and lows of his career, we wanted to conclude our research on this superb architect by profiling the two homes he created for himself – 1100 Berkshire and 1142 Bishop.

The year is 1922 and Willeke is in the midst of completing his initial design for the Oscar Webber mansion (to be located at 22 Webber place). Willeke’s career is soaring; having designed many beautiful creations for his clients Willeke turns his attention to creating a new home for himself and his wife Leona at 1100 Berkshire, Grosse Pointe Park.

The couple, along with their three-year-old son, had previously resided in an apartment located on Elmhurst Avenue, before moving, in 1920, to a new home he had designed on Moss Street, Highland Park. A couple of years after moving in Willeke’s career and income was such that he decided to build a larger residence for himself in Grosse Pointe Park. The decision, it is believed, not only made practical sense from a personal point of view, but also business sense – it would put him closer to the lots he had recently purchased on Balfour to create several speculative homes. (Between 1922 and 1929, he created 7 residences on Balfour that included 4 speculative homes).

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Residence on Moss Street, Highland Park – Courtesy of Excellence in Architecture and Design by Thomas Brunk

 

1100 Berkshire
Willeke referred to the design of his new home as ‘Modern English’. The floor plan has a U-shaped configuration, which not only made it compact and convenient but also provided light and excellent air circulation throughout the house. Research from Thomas Brunk’s book ‘Leonard B. Willeke, Excellence in Architecture and Design’ states ‘Willeke designed the home with two main entrances – one at the front and the second at the side, each with direct access to the library’.

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1100 Berkshire

The research continues to describe the 2,974 sq ft home as having a mahogany paneled library, which served as Willeke’s consultation room. ‘The first floor features two levels. The lower level contains the vestibule, main hall, library and the living room, while the dining room, breakfast room, kitchen and living porch are raised (by one foot) and are situated along the back of the house’.

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe –Leonard B. Willeke – A Career of Highs and Lows – Part 2: Coming Back

Part two of the Leonard Willeke story, a career of highs and lows, continues with the architect’s career in 1930 – the financial devastation Willeke suffered from the Great Depression, and how he reestablished his career.

The 1930’s
Having experienced the ultimate high, during the 1920’s, of working with clients such as Henry and Edsel B. Ford, Oscar Webber and William A. Petzold, building many prestigious homes in and around the community Willeke’s income in 1930 was only half that of the previous year, and he was virtually without income during the following three years. Source: Heritage Magazine, 1987.

Willeke’s financial plight in 1932 resulted in him leaving the large home at 1100 Berkshire – he had built for his family in 1922 – and moving to a small apartment on Village Lane. Having weathered the worst of the financial storm Willeke, 1934, began to receive some small remodeling jobs, followed by a commission from attorney Henry C. Bogle for a new home – 433 Lakeland.

Despite his dip in fortunes, Willeke had lost none of his architectural flare. The formal brickwork of 433 Lakeland makes for a classic design, while the irregularly cut shingles provide an interesting design element.

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433 Lakeland

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe –Leonard B. Willeke – A Career of Highs and Lows – Part 1: Balfour

Leonard B. Willeke – architect, designer, landscape artist, product, and furniture designer. A genius of his time and yet a man who has only received the credit he deserves within the last 30 years.

The majority of the noted and prominent architects who worked in and around Metro Detroit from 1910 onwards have received endless plaudits and recognition. From both their peers, the architectural community and the real estate market in general, as people seek out to purchase the homes these designers created.

However there is one man who managed to slip through the net, and it is only recently that the work and architectural talent of Leonard B. Willeke is being re-discovered.

One of the unsung hero’s of architecture in Grosse Pointe Leonard B. Willeke was one of the most adaptable and prolific architects to work in the community. He was an extremely versatile designer, and one might say, an unrecognized champion in his contribution in providing Grosse Pointe with some exceptional homes.

WillekeWilleke was virtually a one-man band, and while he had a very successful career he also experienced several dramatic change in fortunes. Having experienced the ultimate high of working with clients such as Henry and Edsel B. Ford, Oscar Webber and William A. Petzold, building many prestigious homes in and around the community, Willeke also experience the ultimate low – financial devastation – courtesy of the Depression.

Part 1 of our story on the highs and lows of Leonard Willeke’s career profiles the fabulous homes he created during the 1920’s on one street in particular – Balfour.

The 1920’s were the golden years for Leonard Willeke. Having completed several large projects (residential and commercial) for Henry Ford, Willeke was commissioned by a number of rather prominent clientele to design homes in Grosse Pointe – including the Oscar Webber mansion – located at 22 Webber place – you can read the full story of this home here. And, amongst others, two rather striking homes on Three Mile Drive – you can read about his homes on Three mile by clicking here.

Balfour, in Grosse Pointe Park received a lot of attention from Willeke during the 1920’s. Between 1922 and 1929, he created 7 residences including 4 speculative homes.

The definition of a speculative home is – ‘a residence built without a particular buyer in mind or under contract, but design to appeal to the maximum market possible’.

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Grosse Pointe’s Best Kept Secret – Edgemont Park

Located between Ellair Place and Park Lane in Grosse Pointe Park is a small unassuming dead end street called Edgemont Park. The secluded road is lined with an abundance of trees, so much so that many of the homes are almost hidden from view. At the end of the street is a small lakefront park, it is believed each family has a key, providing residents with a place to call their own. Edgemont Park is quite beautiful.

The road is home to a handful of residences; there are some superb architectural examples on display created by a number of skilled designers.

The houses are somewhat unique to Edgemont Park. The styles range from French Colonial, English Tudor, through to several excellent examples of Italian Renaissance Revival design. Many of the homes were constructed during the 1920’s and were created by some prominent architects, including: Louis Kamper, Hugh T. Keyes, Clair W. Ditchy, and two homes by Marcus Burrowes,

The Homes:

820 Edgemont: designed by Hugh T. Keyes in 1927, this 9,204 sq ft house is a beautiful property on the shore of Lake St Clair. Keyes was a prolific designer of fine homes in the Grosse Pointes and was arguably one of the most diverse architects to ply his trade in the community.

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Courtesy of Grosse Pointe Historical Society

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835 Edgemont: A Colonial home designed in 1925. The architect is not known.

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Courtesy of Grosse Pointe Historical Society

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