Ready to start a new chapter in her life, Dr. Kathleen Yaremchuk bought the 29th floor penthouse at the Book Cadillac. See how she’s maintained the integrity and history of the hotel.
By Susan Peck
Photography by Brett Mountain
Dr. Kathleen Yaremchuk describes her 29th-floor penthouse condominium at the renovated Westin Book Cadillac Hotel as “a front-row seat for all of the most exciting things going on in downtown Detroit.”
Yaremchuk is the chair of the Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at Henry Ford Hospital, a sleep medicine specialist and the vice president of clinical practice performance. She began looking for a special location to live near her workplace, after living the suburban life in Bingham Farms for years.
“After seeing the gutted space in 2016 I was mesmerized by its three levels, with a panoramic 360-degree view of the city — available for renovation within the historic Book Cadillac Hotel,” says Yaremchuk, a native Detroiter. The original skyscraper hotel located in the Washington Boulevard Historic District was liquidated and shuttered in 1986, after falling into a state of disrepair. The historic renovation of the main hotel began in 2006 and was completed in 2008, followed by a grand opening that same year.
Yaremchuk was ready to start a new chapter in her life. With help from Detroit-based Integrity Building Group and RL Concetti interior designers, she transformed what was originally the boiler room for the tallest hotel in the world when it opened in 1924, into a 5,100-square-foot designer penthouse, with the ultimate cityscape.
But family and friends weren’t quite as enthusiastic. “Even though the hotel renovations were going to be magnificent — 67 premier condominiums, penthouses on the top eight floors and 455 hotel rooms — my three grown children and my financial adviser told me I needed to have my head examined when I told them my plans,” she says.
“But they’ve all come around now,” says Yaremchuk, who remarried last fall. “My kids love to spend time here because there’s always something exciting to do downtown, or a new restaurant to check out, and the new shops in the area make it a walkable and bikeable community for us. Friends love an invite whether it’s to watch the Thanksgiving Day parade, boats on the Detroit River or my Friday night parties in the summer to watch the Tigers at Comerica from my living room, complete with fireworks at dusk.”
Built for entertaining, the open floor plan can easily hold 70 guests. Each floor has a wine cooler, and all three bedrooms have their own walk-in closet and bathroom. The open kitchen features stainless steel appliances including dual ovens from the Thermador Professional Collection and an oversized marble island with a built-in prep sink.
RL Concetti co-founder Lauren DeLaurentis says they aimed for an interior design that allows the building’s rich history to emanate. “It helped that Kathleen took great pride in its structure and gave us creative freedom to complement the majestic building that noted visitors like Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Elvis and the Beatles have all stayed (in).”
The design aesthetic is focused on European art deco, keeping with the style and integrity of the hotel’s original neo-Renaissance structure.
“Right from the start we knew the floors, and even the walls, should include black and white marble. We used oversized 24-by-24 white marble tiles for the main floor — the perfect backdrop for a bold pop of color like the deep blue velvet sofas that flank the fireplace,” DeLaurentis says. “The blue tones in the furniture, Oriental rug and Kathleen’s favorite painting of a sailboat on the main floor, are all inspired by her love of the water.” RL Concetti principal Rachel Nelson says it was important to Yaremchuk to use design pieces from the original hotel. “The best find was a large corbel from the architecture that now serves as a focal point,” she says, “and a furniture piece in the main living space.”
Statement light fixtures are authentic art deco pieces, like the one over the dining room table from New Orleans circa 1920 and a chandelier hanging beside the main staircase from the original Book Cadillac Hotel. There are also unique elements in the master bath. “We knew it was important for our client — lover of the Detroit skyline — to relax and enjoy the view with a glass of wine at the end of a long day. And what better spot than soaking in a freestanding Jacuzzi tub placed front and center of the third-story arch window?” Nelson says. “The space also includes an all marble walk-in shower with an oversized rainfall shower head.”
An important objective of the interior design was to accentuate the neoclassical architecture by playing up the three-story arched windows, all while not distracting from the city view. The nearly floor-to-ceiling windows bring the outside in. “I have no shades or window coverings by choice. Waking up to the sunrise, sights of cranes high in the sky, and the bustle of the city, and ending my day with a beautiful sunset, city lights and the moon and stars — is something I treasure,” Yaremchuk says.
She may downsize in the future, but will not leave the city she loves. “I’m looking forward to another world-class project that once again highlights the city of Detroit,” she says, “and makes a statement about the fabulous people that live here.”
You can also watch a tour of the Penthouse, on our latest episode of Home SEEN.
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