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ERA Architects


Grosse Pointe Estate

Grosse Pointe Estate

This residence is a significant landmark in Grosse Pointe. It was designed in 1921 by renowned New York architect Alfred Hopkins and Associates and is surrounded by landscape designs by Ellen Biddle Shipman. Illustrated in Hopkins’ 1931 book, Planning for Sunshine and Fresh Air it is an excellent example of his approach to residential design. The 9,000 sq. ft. house had fallen victim to the foreclosure crisis of 2008 and was abandoned, stripped, and vandalized when, in 2015, our client purchased it with its significant deferred maintenance as well as the more willful damage.

ERA was asked to provide architectural design services and conservation consultation to make the building better serve the needs of their family. This effort focused on returning the residence to a state of good repair, leveraging its magnificent features, and upgrading the comfort level of both the house and grounds.

ERA proposed improvements throughout the building: to the ground floor’s principal and supporting spaces; a small addition; and significant alterations to the second and third floor rooms, which transformed a warren of small rooms and narrow corridors into six comfortable suites. The owner now enjoys a large and comfortable primary bedroom which provides an inviting retreat within the grand house.

ERA also advised on repairs to the graduated slate roof, ornamental original copperwork, and the carved stone and stucco exterior. ERA consulted on the refurbishment of original steel casement windows, and the restoration and replication of interior hand-modelled plasterwork. ERA planned for the salvage and reuse of significant archaic interior components like a massive wooden refrigerator (refurbished and reactivated for wine and flower storage) and a large zinc sink in the butler’s pantry.

The renovation reactivated the residence for a new century of family life. Where it was once damaged and abandoned — with an uncertain future — it has now been rightly restored as an important landmark in Grosse Pointe.

Grosse Pointe, Michigan
Scott Weir/Sanford Riley

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