Attorney Jessica Woll opens up her Bloomfield Hills home to give back to the arts. Take a 3D tour inside.
By Susan Peck
Photography by Brett Mountain
If every house tells a story, then the designer home of divorce and family lawyer Jessica Woll’s reads like a combination of an illustrious world travel guide, and a few of the finest chapters from the best-seller “Eat, Pray, Love.”
Woll, managing partner of Birmingham-based Woll & Woll, P.C., was hands-on with the design of her Bloomfield Hills home and worked with interior designer Jill Schumacher of Rariden Schumacher Mio & Co. in Birmingham. The multilevel space she shares with her 12-year-old daughter is the stunning frame for Woll’s precious art treasures from her extensive travels to Japan, Thailand, England, India, Belgium and more.
Built for entertaining, the 9,600-square-foot-home has three levels, two full kitchens, spacious guest rooms, a walk-in wine cellar and an infinity edge pool with an exquisitely landscaped patio and garden.
“I wanted a home to share with others on many levels, and what’s important to me is that most everything in my home has a significant meaning,” Woll says. “Each room has a piece from one of my favorite journeys or artists, and really reflects aspects of who I am.”
The eclectic interior showcases an antique, hand-painted, silk light fixture from Shanghai, authentic street stones from Belgium, 1700s hand-carved wooden doors from India — used for the entrance to the wine cellar — and a stunning wall covered with shadowboxed butterflies. “I created the collage myself because I love their transformational quality,” Woll says.
A supporter of Michigan’s art culture, she also loves to surround herself with the works from local artists. There’s a life-sized metal horse sculpture by Northern Michigan artist Doug Melvin that graces the entrance, a trio of paintings depicting the ’67 Detroit riots by Hamtramck artist Leon Johnson, a contemporary painting by local artist and Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center member Clint Schneider and a striking iridescent Pewabic tile backsplash in the kitchen.
“My home is a warm and comfortable space for family and friends to be together — especially around the holidays — and for the passion projects and charity events I host here,” Woll says. “I feel strongly about contributing and reaching out to my community in ways that can make a difference, like the initiatives I’ve been involved with to bring scholarships and art to underserved students in Detroit, Southfield, Oak Park and Waterford.”
Newly appointed chair-elect of the BBAC Board of Directors, Woll has hosted a successful Fine Art of Summer fundraiser at her home several years ago and has been a sponsor of the event ever since. “Jessica is the definition of community engagement,” says Annie VanGelderen, president and CEO of the BBAC. “Her generosity and passion certainly moves people to action.”
Other programs Woll will help spearhead include the “Meet Me at the BBAC” art program for people with Alzheimer’s and for those with special needs at the Southfield nonprofit Angels’ Place. “Jessica’s efforts with the BBAC are helping to reinforce the commitment to carry on the legacy of making art accessible to everyone,” VanGelderen says.
Modern-Day Renaissance Woman
Practicing law for over 20 years, Woll holds a Juris Doctor from Wayne State University Law School and a bachelor’s degree in international relations and economic development from the University of Michigan. She is a member of the National Council of Jewish Women in Metro Detroit and National Association of Professional Women.
Steeped in curiosity and holding expertise in the arts, literature, law, and all things culinary, Woll is a genuine polymath — a contemporary Renaissance woman who is skilled at many different things.
She learned the culinary arts firsthand at the Regent Singapore, a Four Seasons Hotel, where she trained with the hotel chefs the summer before law school.
Today, Woll is also an excellent cook who takes special interest in working with up-and-coming chefs in Metro Detroit. Christopher Jones, 29, met Woll several years ago, and she took him under her wing. “She saw something in me I guess because she had me cook for a few of her private parties, and now we’re collaborating on bigger events, like a pop-up restaurant for a charity benefitting the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in Detroit,” Jones says. He describes Woll as “a fairy godmother” and special mentor to a lot of people “who will never be able to repay her enough for her support.”
Woll is partnering with Chrysler executive Don Stewart and the Detroit Optimist Society — the parent company of bars and restaurants including Sugar House in Corktown and Wright & Company downtown — to run a new charcuterie-centric restaurant called Gratiot Avenue Provisions in Eastern Market. The restaurant is an anchor for their charcuterie brand by the same name, launched earlier this year.
“If you want to get something done, ask a busy person” seems to fittingly describe Woll and all her varied accomplishments.
“The upcoming holidays will be busy times between family get-togethers, events and out-of-town guests, but opening up my home, connecting and spreading love brings me the most joy, especially this time of year,” Woll says.
“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort” is a quote from “Eat, Pray, Love” that Woll most certainly lives by.