Magic Touch: Clever Architecture Keeps This Home Hidden In Plain Sight

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Extraordinary clients need homes conjured from great imaginations. So when a theatrical couple wanted a dream home, they sought out architect David Iannuzzi and designer Elizabeth Fields.

“The clients are young and very spirited,” describes Fields, who knows them personally. “They’re artists, and we have a really wonderful connection.”

The brief was no small order. The couple wanted a home that felt modern while also fitting into a traditional Michigan community. Also on the list were central spaces for gathering with guests, with private areas set apart.

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Drawn to the duality of both being there and not, Iannuzzi designed a cluster of pavilions surrounded by mature forest and rolling knolls so passersby might mistake them for one big building or simply a trick of the light. Even up close, the buildings appear to be in mid-transformation, thanks to exterior materials that include parallel cedar planks accentuating narrower sides, cement fiber panels on longer sides and dark, steeply pitched, striated roofs.

Guests enter mere steps from the entertaining pavilion with its soaring ceilings and banks of windows. But a hearth-like structure housing a double-sided fireplace prevents visitors from seeing inside right away.

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Fields also sought to surprise as she spread texture and color throughout the house. For example, the fireplace enclosure is lined with planks that echo the exterior, which are further echoed in a sizable piece of minimalist art Fields sourced through Detroit’s Library Street Collective that delivers a welcome burst of color.

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Elsewhere, Fields customized a wallcovering until its florals became dramatically oversized. And a carpeted staircase cycles through different colors of the rainbow with each step.

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The kitchen boasts a striking wall of verdant cabinetry. “They were absolutely not going to do a white kitchen,” Fields notes. So she found a shade of green with just enough black to act as a neutral accent. Green also features in the energetic tile animating the primary bath. Fields relates that “reason and whimsy” dictated its placement, which she helped shape working alongside the tile layers. But the design is not wild color all the time. “There’s still a place for rest,” she adds. “It really is a curated balance.”

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“What I value the most about working with Lizzy is that she’s involved the whole way through,” describes Iannuzzi. Rather than wait for a baton-pass from architect to interior designer, Fields participates from the start, encouraging a truly integrated collaboration that has led them to work together on multiple projects. “We are really lucky to have one another,” Fields agrees. “I support David; David supports me.”

This bonhomie continued with the clients during construction. “They would sometimes text me or call me, and say, ‘We just went to the site,’” Iannuzzi remembers. “‘We can’t wait to live in this house.’”

Exterior Photography by Rafael Gamo
Interior Photography by Dustin Halleck

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