This Timeless Family Home Shows the Sophisticated Side of a Pink Color Palette
With his signature twists on traditional design, Corey Damen Jenkins outfits a Detroit ranch house in runway-worthy style.
Impressive Pink Color Palette
Pink didn't top the list of colors Jeff Solomon envisioned for his new home. In fact, when he and wife Michelle had their old Tuscan-style house near Detroit razed to build this ranch, Jeff thought he had bid farewell to pink, mauve, and toile, until designer Corey Damen Jenkins showed him the palette for the new place. "We're doing pink again?" Jeff asked, a bit incredulous. Jenkins replied with a chuckle: "Yes, and you're going to love it."
Pink in Jenkins' hands is the button-down shirt beneath an Armani suit: part of the look, not the complete ensemble.
For easy traffic flow in the entryway, Jenkins chose a Century credenza rather than a hall table and snugged furniture along walls.
Timeless and New
Classic elements, such as paneled walls, elegant millwork, fine furniture, floral fabrics, and patterned wallcoverings, set a stage upon which Jenkins can work his magic, creating something at once timeless and new. "I want something that doesn't feel dated," he says. "I don't want my rooms to feel like they have a time stamp."
Contemporary color and pattern put a certified-fresh seal on Jenkins' work. That's evident from the entry of this home, where he introduces his design with wallpaper. Inspired by an antique Chinese silk panel, the motif is traditional. But its blush hue is completely current—this is Millennial Pink's moment, after all.
Judiciously applied to only two of the foyer's walls, grounded with a run of paneled and painted wainscoting and lit by floating lanterns, the wallcovering, with its birds-and-blossoms pattern, evokes the feeling of walking through a garden. That resonates with Michelle, a confirmed foodie, gardener, and home chef who only recently fell under the spell of wallcoverings. "Before, when I heard 'wallpaper,' I pictured my great-aunt's house in Akron, Ohio," Michelle says. "I never realized it could be so chic."
Velvet fabric with a tape trim freshens circa-1900 Belgian chairs.
Michelle is also a convert to another of Jenkins' design sensations: overscale lighting. "I laugh because initially, I fought Corey on the orb chandeliers," Michelle says. "Now I love them so much. You see the first one in the foyer and then step down into the great room and see three more. It's so spectacular. People gasp when they walk in."
To sneak in extra seating, designer Corey Damen Jenkins flanked the fireplace with conversation nooks, their green velvet panels set in harlequin style and "tufted" with a single button.
Sophisticated Great Room
Jenkins sized the chandeliers so they'd be framed by notches in hefty trusses and match the proportions of 20-foot-tall rooms. "I didn't want the ceiling height to be overwhelming or feel McMansion-like," Jenkins says. "The chandeliers give the great room a comfortable, cozy feel, and their orbs add geometry to the space. I also like the smoke-color crystals; they're fashion-forward and add a masculine touch."
Along with the chandeliers and ceiling trusses, Jenkins' color and pattern choices provide continuity through the large, open living space, delineated with areas for gathering, dining, and cooking. "Entering the great room, the first thing you see is a tufted sofa upholstered in pink. It's the lightning rod of the palette," Jenkins says. "But I tempered it with judicious use of green (emerald, olive, and sage) plus masculine chocolate-espresso hues."
Dark linen along the bottom of draperies, strategically placed at sofa height, floats the soft pink on a tantalizing sea of chocolate. Rich, dramatic wood floors, along with liberal swaths of greens and creams, layer in sophistication, complexity. What you see, how you interpret this room, might depend on who you are. "A lot of what we do as designers is Jedi mind tricks—the power of suggestion," Jenkins says. "Here, it's pink, but it's also these other things."
Casual Eating Spot
Green, seen on chairs, an ottoman, and even upholstered niches in the living area, repeats on dining chairs and the painted kitchen island. Creamy tones thread throughout in draperies, on bar stools, and on kitchen cabinetry. Florals also reappear, notably on the tiled range backsplash.
To mesh with the family's lifestyle, Jenkins opted to forgo a formal dining room in favor of this casual eating spot that links the living area, kitchen, and patio. Repeated design elements unify the spaces.
As the design connects the spaces within the open plan, the layout connects the Solomons. "Walls create an opportunity for a family to not be together," Jenkins says. "But this floor plan flows with them as they move through their day."
Form meets function in the kitchen, which caters to Michelle's culinary bent. "She's an amazing cook," Jenkins says. "You wouldn't believe her lemon meringue ice cream pie." Ann Sacks tile on the range backsplash informs much of the home's palette.
When formal entertaining is on the agenda, the Solomons can share time with guests in the parlor. Linked to the pink-papered foyer, its chocolate-hue paneled walls supply a delectable counterpoint. "The chocolate paint makes the moldings pop," Jenkins says. "In a paneled room, I like to do the walls, moldings, everything the same color. It makes a space cozy and elegant."
"Any time I did pink, I did a burst of chocolate," says Jenkins, who coated the parlor's paneled walls with a luscious counterpoint to the entry's soft blush and cream.
Chic stripes give a vintage piece new life.
Quiet, personal time also has a place in this social home. Jenkins created a "Jeff-centric" gentleman's study, where he can work or watch a game. "I pulled inspiration from his closet," says Jenkins, who covered the walls in a menswear-plaid-pattern paper and layered in mulberry, cranberry, plum, and bourbon hues.
The menswear patterns and rich colors form a fitting backdrop for Jeff's sports collectibles, including his prized Babe Ruth sculpture.
Patterned Powder Room
This jewel box is home to Michelle's favorite wallcovering, from Cole & Son. It reminds her of her butterfly-pattern dishware.
Jeff and Michelle's master suite, one of the restrained home's two bedrooms, also offers respite from the world outside with a handy coffee station and an intimate conversation nook tucked in a bay window beside the bed.
Blue Master Bedroom
Sumptuous navy velvet on chairs invites lingering on weekend mornings. "I love the impact of dark colors," Jenkins says. "Bedrooms should be dark, cocoonish, sexy."
"A lot of pattern isn't for everyone," Jenkins says. "But it keeps a room from feeling too trendy. Pattern has always played a role in traditional design. I'm inspired by how classic designers used patterns and by the new patterns available today."
Elegant Soaking Tub
Dramatic navy hues continue in the conversation nook and the elegant master bath.
Children's rooms should fit the kiddo's personality, and that's certainly the case with daughter Zoe's space. "Michelle's pink is subtle ballet-slipper pink," Jenkins says. "But Zoe's is bubblegum, Candy Land, over-the-top fabulous."
"Zoe loves it in there, but she also is drawn to the daybed in the living room, or you'll find her toting our new puppy, Goose, all over the house in her American Girl dog carrier," Michelle says.
Oil paintings ground Zoe's girly getaway in tradition.
Powerful beams define the architecture of the ranch home.
The Perfect Fit
"This house fits our family. I love everything about it. Sometimes I can't believe that this beautiful house is mine—that I'm living here. This house is magic."
Jeff and Michelle Solomon relax with daughter Zoe and puppy Goose.
Designer and Happy Homeowner
Designer Corey Damen Jenkins is pictured here with homeowner Michelle Solomon.