Take a classic contemporary house designed by the late Irving Tobocman.
Save the architect’s lauded lines and volumes, but strip back to the studs for exotic woods and Italian marble.
Then hire Seattle’s futuristic Val Design Studio to rebuild the kitchen and the main closet. Commission Shelby Township furniture artist Anton Maka to invent one-of-a-kind pieces throughout. Finally, accent the house with art and sculpture.
What’s next? Decide you love a different house more and put this finished project up for sale, including everything inside. This property adds new resonance to the phrase “as is.”
That’s the story behind this stunning contemporary house on Island Lake, in the area behind Kirk in the Hills church In Bloomfield Township. The house, its new landscape, its lake toys, its one-of-a-kind custom art furniture, art and sculpture are all in one package at $3.5 million.
And the owners did more than renovate inside and out; they added 21st Century innovations to the 1977 Tobocman original.
For example, over part of new rear patios they built a room-sized metal pergola. Its horizontal slats are mechanized to tilt or lie flat. With a remote control you can tilt them up to let in sun, or close them flat to keep out rain.
At a spot where the second floor steps out to a roof terrace, they turned a wide solid wall into a nano door. That’s an entire wall of glass door panels that fold onto each other accordion style. They can all be slid into a single layer of doors at one end of the glass span.
They changed the original garage doors to today’s hot product, garage doors of opaque glass. They wired the house with Savant System automation.
All the plumbing and electrical work is new — same for the unusual light fixtures. “Not one thing was untouched” said Realtor Rebecca Sokol.
In the kitchen the remake by Val Design is stunning. Backsplashes are dark burled wood; cabinets are black lacquer, and the island is solid black marble with white veins.
A four-seat eating extension is attached to this island. This is made with two slabs of wood, the same dark tone with rough-hewn edges — another style newly popular today. Floors here and through the main rooms are white Italian porcelain.
Val Design also created the large main walk-in closet, using cabinets imported from Italy.
The new owners’ bath is an explosion of marble — white with black veins — cut into 4-by-8-foot slabs and matched so patterns continue. A Tobocman favorite — an 8-foot skylight — pours light into the gleaming scene.
These owners also revamped the whole setting. At a sliver under one acre, it has a new driveway, new patio, new walkways, new landscaping. At the water’s edge it has a large new permanent dock that currently holds about eight paddleboards or kayaks.
Island Lake is a 111-acre nonsports lake. That means no jet skis or power boats, but hand-paddled kayaks and canoes are fine as well as small electric motors for fishing.
Island Lake home
Where: 3897 Lakeland Lane, Bloomfield Township
How much: $3.5 million
Baths: 4 full, 1 half
Square feet: Just under 5,300
Key features: Classic Tobocman-designed contemporary house has been stripped to the studs and redone with luxury materials inside without changing his trademark spaces. Glamorous finishes, all new systems, all furniture and art contents included.
Contact: Rebecca Sokol, DOBI, 248-410-6697.
A note about photos
In order to limit our staff’s exposure to coronavirus, the Detroit Free Press is temporarily suspending its practice of using our photographers to capture images for House Envy and is instead using photographs prepared by listing Realtors, with credit to the photographers. We thank the Realtors for helping in this effort.