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A Bloomfield Hills Dream Home on Gilbert Lake

September 21, 2021

Inside one couple’s mid-century dream house on Gilbert Lake — an oasis of comfort and connection with nature.


When Clare and Michael Smith (not their real names), decided to build their dream house, the couple had a simple vision: a house that embodied peace and would offer a sense of belonging to the environment they were inhabiting — in their case, 1.4 acres overlooking Gilbert Lake in Bloomfield Hills.

Dream Home on Gilbert LakeJames Haefner Photography, Inc

PICTURE PERFECT The homeowners worked with Bloomfield Hills architect Lou DesRosiers to build their 10,250-square-foot house, a process that took just over a year.

The pair, who are in their 50s and asked to remain anonymous for privacy, spent countless hours scouring the internet and poring over books and magazines searching for inspiration for the design. “We used Pinterest like crazy,” says Michael, who runs a continuing-education business. They finally found their vision online in a mid-century home they called “the reference house” because so many of its features appealed to them, from the clean lines, open spaces, and expansive windows to the simple design, warm materials, and use of colors.

Dream Home on Gilbert Lake

MID-CENTURY MASTERPIECE Taking advantage of the lake views was top on the homeowners’ wish list — still, they wanted the house to feel warm and inviting, not like they were “living in a glass box.” The solution: an open floor plan with large expanses of glass trimmed in wood.

Dream Home on Gilbert Lake

The couple worked with Bloomfield Hills designer Patti Kelter to nail the home’s mid-century motif, complete with a 60+-year-old Dunbar couch that’s been in the family for decades.

Nearly two years ago, after a building process that took more than a year, (The homeowners worked with Bloomfield Hills architect Lou DesRosiers) the couple moved into the 10,250-square-foot home, the highlight of which is its stunning, and plentiful, lake views: All the rooms, except for two of the bedrooms, face the water. Even the master bathroom features a corner window that peers onto the lake.

BED, BATH, AND BEYOND The master bed and bath (below), Michael’s favorite spot in the house. “I really like its calm, clean, cool lines,” he says.

“We underestimated the impact living on water would have on our daily state of mind,” says Clare, a public-health professional. One of her favorite perks: watching the sunset over the lake. “There’s not a day that goes by where we don’t look at each other and acknowledge how much we appreciate living here,” she says. “It never gets old.”

The home is filled with art (2) that ranges from $20 paintings scored at a flea market in Cuba to a painting by Louisa Matthíasdóttir, a well-known Icelandic-American artist. “The bottom line is we just put up stuff that we like,” Michael says.

Dream Home on Gilbert Lake

The kitchen was especially important to Clare, who loves to cook for her family. She made sure the layout would allow for a lake view while she prepped meals.


James Haefner Photography, Inc

DRAMA TO SPARE While the front of the house is unassuming, says architect Lou DesRosiers, the back is dramatic, with flat planes of cantilevered overhangs. The backyard features a large outdoor area that’s easily accessible from the kitchen. “We live out there as soon as the weather permits,” Clare says.

James Haefner Photography, Inc

TAKE IT OUTSIDE Portable heaters extend the amount of time the couple can enjoy the covered outdoor space (below), which features an inviting seating area with a large TV and a fireplace. Nearby, a table with seating for eight offers a spectacular view of the pool, hot tub, and lake. “Our lives feel so busy all the time,” says Clare. “Having the tranquility of the water in the backyard has been really calming.”


Check out more of our favorite dream homes in Metro Detroit.

Do you know of an incredible home in Metro Detroit that we should feature in Home SEEN? Email us with photos and details at editor@seenthemagazine.com.


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