Kay Agney celebrates over 30 years in Real Estate as an ‘industry legend’ at the 21st annual Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate fall conference

Kay Agney, broker/owner of Higbie Maxon Agney (HMA), recently attended the Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate annual fall conference in Aspen, Colorado for members of the prestigious network. HMA is the only regents member from Grosse Pointe Farms.

The annual conference brings together a global collection of the finest luxury real estate brokers in the world to share their knowledge and connect with fellow luxury professionals.

A highlight of this year’s event was the expert panel discussions led by prominent members of the Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate network. Kay was invited to be part of the panel comprised of ‘Industry Legends’ – realtors who have 30+ years experience in real estate. Members of the panel were asked to participate in a video offering an insight to their hugely successful careers by sharing – the key to their staying power, their leadership philosophy, inspiration, and what high or low point has taught them the most during their career.

Kay was honored to speak as an industry legend. Not only did she enjoy sharing what she has learned throughout her career, but also she always welcomes the opportunity to connect with the next generation of real estate innovators and fellow luxury professionals.

LRElion_JS_r1Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate – known in the industry since 1986 as the Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate network, a global collection of the finest luxury real estate brokers in the world, this group of more than 130,000 professionals with properties in more than 70 countries, collectively sells in excess of $190 billion of real estate annually.

Members are selected by Chairman/Publisher John Brian Losh, one of REALTOR Magazine’s 25 Most Influential People in Real Estate and broker of fine properties through his Seattle-based brokerage firm, Ewing & Clark, Inc.


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.



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.



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


Courtesy of: The Buildings of Detroit – William Hawkins Ferry

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Revealed – 43 McKinley

Arguably one of the most recognizable homes in Grosse Pointe Farms is 43 McKinley Place. For many years the house, situated on the corner of Grosse Pointe Blvd and McKinley Place, has only been visible through the ivy that covered the front and side elevations.


For those of you who regularly pass this residence you may have noticed the ivy has now gone and the home has been revealed – it is time to share the tale of this most recognizable property.


43 McKinley was designed by Alphus Chittenden and Charles Kotting for Dr. Ernest T. Tappey in 1905.

The Detroit based firm of Chittenden and Kotting was founded in1903. During their 13 years together Chittenden and Kotting created several ‘landmark’ buildings in Detroit including the Detroit Boat Club’s building on Belle Isle, and the office building of the Detroit Stove Works plant. They worked predominantly in Detroit’s elite neighborhoods’ such as Indian Village and Grosse Pointe, creating many splendid homes.

The house Chittenden and Kotting created for Dr. Tappey, a resident of Detroit for over 50 years, is a classic English style residence constructed from brick, featuring 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.


Courtesy of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society


Courtesy of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Talmadge C. Hughes and his homes on Meadow Lane

Those of you who are familiar with Grosse Pointe Farms know that throughout the community there are many dead end streets. We recently covered one such street – 30 Preston Place, the elegant former residence of Louise Webber and Edward P. Frohlich.

We would now like to turn our attention to another dead end street, Meadow Lane, and the 4 homes that were created by architect Talmadge C. Hughes on this road.


Image courtesy of:

Mr. Hughes was born in Alabama in 1887. Having completed his studies and travelling extensively he arrived in Detroit (the year of his arrival is not known) and worked for several prestigious firms in the city, including Smith, Hinchman and Grylls and Albert Kahn Associates.

It appears he had a varied career, from research in the book ‘A History of Detroit’s Palmer Park’ by Gregory C. Piazza, we understand Hughes designed several theatres in Metro Detroit, including the Emsee Theatre, Mount Clemens, while two of his designs won the Best of Year Awards – the Ryan Theatre (1949) in Warren, and the Rapids Theater (1950), in Eaton rapids Michigan.

In 1937 Hughes designed 999 Whitmore, a stunning Art Deco building which he considered to be his masterpiece. It is believed to have been one of the first cast-concrete residential structures in Detroit.


999 Whitmore – Courtesy of ‘A History of Detroit’s Palmer Park’ by Gregory C. Piazza

We also understand from Piazza’s research, when Hughes wasn’t designing, he spent a substantial part of his career serving (for many years) as secretary for the American Institute of Architects. Hughes, along with many other noted Detroit architects, was also a member of the Michigan Society of Architects and he was part of a committee tasked in creating the first edition of the Michigan Society of Architects’ handbook.

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – An Elegant Home – 30 Preston Place

Nestled in the corner of Grosse Pointe Farms is a small dead end street – Preston Place.

Preston Place was originally part of Kercheval, however over the years the land was sub-divided, with the separate plots of land creating the Preston Place subdivision.

The home was the recent location for the Grosse Pointe Historical Society’s Pop-Up tour, and we would like to thank the Historical Society for contributing a large amount of their research to us for this blog post.

So lets travel back in time to 1920 – Ms. Louise Webber, niece of J.L.Hudson (of Hudson’s Department store), is living with her husband Roscoe Jackson, president of the Hudson Motor Car Company, in an Arts and Crafts style home (designed by Leonard B. Willeke) in Indian Village.

Looking to reside next to the lake in Grosse Pointe Farms, we believe, based on research from the Historical Society, Louise Webber commissioned the home during the early 1920’s.

New York architect Duncan Candler was hired to design the house. Mr. Candler was a prominent architect in Maine. He designed many large prestigious residences, including a summer residence in Seal Harbor, Maine for the Rockefellers, along with creating Skylands, the Edsel Ford estate that is now owned by Martha Stewart. He is also credited with designing the Grace Dodge Hotel in Washington D.C, opening in 1921.

It is not known, however, when Chandler completed the design for the home and it was nearly ten years later before it was actually built. Prior to its completion Louise Webber lost her husband, Mr. Jackson, when he died unexpectedly while on a trip to Europe in 1929. They believe this tragic event, coupled with the dramatic downturn in the economy; courtesy of the Great Depression resulted in the delay to the home being built until 1932 when 486 Kercheval (now known as 30 Preston Place) was finally completed.

The Grosse Pointe Historical Society (GPHS) believes Ms. Webber used the residence primarily as a springtime home, spending the rest of the year in Palm Beach, Florida and Bay Harbor, Maine.

It is a lavish property, set on 10 acres of land, in a wooded area with a view of the lake.



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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.



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.



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.


947 Westchester

947 Westchester 2

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.


961 Westchester

961 Westchester

961 Westchester

961 Westchester arch

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).


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’.


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 – An Exploration – Part 1: Roslyn Road

One of the more intriguing things about living in Grosse Pointe is the array of architectural styles that are visible on every street in the community. There are the older homes, and the more modern residences, homes created by some of the states leading architects, properties with architectural significance, and the homes that may not have been created by a noted designer, but are utterly charming.

Having recently previewed the houses on several prominent roads in Grosse Pointe Farms (most recently Kenwood Road) our thoughts turned to exploring some of the other roads that are part of the five cities. Many of the roads in the community have a superb collection of homes featuring some real gems that we may barely notice. We might not know much about their history, or the architect who created them, but many of these homes are unique and are certainly worth talking about.

Over the next couple of weeks we will be profiling several roads throughout Grosse Pointe, and highlighting some interesting finds. We start our exploration with the first block of Roslyn Road (from Lake Shore to Morningside Drive) in Grosse Pointe Shores.

Many of the homes on this block were created from 1940 onwards. However, in amongst them are several older residences – built between 1920 and 1930 – that are not only attractive but have some delightful details.

Lets start with house number 21 – this 4,400 sq ft Colonial was built in 1922 making it one of the older properties on the block. The design features an excellent example of a rounded gable over the main window above the porch, providing the house with a neat formal appearance.


21 Roslyn Road


21 Roslyn Road

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Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Welcome to Kenwood Road – the Designers’ Collection: Part 2

After recently profiling the first block of Kenwood Road – ‘the Designers’ Collection: Part 1’ – we continue with our exploration of this roads stunning homes. Having presented the French inspired residences designed by Raymond Carey – numbers 51 and 100 – we continue this trend with a look at the work of D. Allen Wright.

D. Allen Wright. D. Allen Wright was a talented designer; he created the Headmaster’s House at Cranbrook School (in 1930), two homes on Kenwood long with two French Inspired homes on Cloverly Road. His creations on Kenwood are once again excellent examples of the French Provincial approach. House number 79 (completed in 1925) is particularly noticeable and typifies the qualities associated with this architectural style that were present during this period. The detailed brickwork around the front door is impactful. Wright also created the French inspired home – number 104 – in 1928.


79 Kenwood Road

79 Kenwood

79 Kenwood Road

79 Kenwood_door

Front Door – 79 Kenwood Road


104 Kenwood Road

104 Kenwood

104 Kenwood Road

House Number 90 – architect unknown. Also influenced by French architecture, house number 90 was built in 1926. The front façade and the roof are particularly distinctive, as is the entrance with the wrought iron above the door.

90 Kenwood

90 Kenwood Road

90 Kenwood_side

Entrance – 90 Kenwood Road

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