Big Plans – Ann Arbor Condo Gets Face Lift

A modest Ann Arbor condo gets a major face-lift



Jeffrey Vlasic, of the Vlasic pickle family, wanted something youthful and fresh for his home, much like the impressive portfolio of Corey Damen Jenkins, owner of Birmingham-based DWV: Design With Vision.

When he was hired for the project, Jenkins did not disappoint, turning his client’s less-than-1,500-square-foot condo in a 1909 house into the ultimate retreat for the ER doctor.

“He already had great taste, but we needed to make the spaces more visually appealing and give them more functionality,” says Jenkins.

The extensive renovation led to a complete transformation that included luxurious lighting in the form of recessed, chandeliers and sconces.

“There was a lot of electrical revamping,” says Jenkins.

History Lesson

“We wanted to make sure the older home with older sensibilities was still in place with a hip, fresh overlay of design that includes custom elements and amazing art,” says Jenkins.“We tried to make it as custom as possible without sacrificing the traditional bones of the home.”

Jenkins, who describes the sophisticated interiors as “21st century modern luxe,” took the existing finishes that came with the house and added modern touches, so it’s not just traditional.

“It’s got some glam,” he says. “This is no man cave. He didn’t want it to look like a bachelor pad,”  Jenkins explains. “We wanted to make it masculine with a touch of elegance.”

Personal Contribution

The designer took advantage of his client’s tasteful array of art and antique Oriental rugs.

“He is very well-traveled. He collects antiques and rugs from around the world,” says Jenkins who built his concepts around the collections. “The living room rug was like a big canvas for us to work with.”

An olive green sofa warms the space. Black leather swivel chairs strike a classic note. Pillows wear Kravet fabric. The unique sofa table came from the homeowner. A chandelier with brass chains dazzles from above. Most of the artwork in the living room and dining room is from the homeowner’s collection, except for the piece on the mantel from TRA Art Group at Michigan Design Center in Troy.

Double Duty

Tailored drapery panels in the dining room share the same green palette as the nearby sofa.

“I wanted to splash some color on the walls and soften the feel,” says Jenkins. “It makes the room feel warm and more composed.” The homeowner already had the diningroom furniture. “I like the pop of black,” says Jenkins. “It grounds the space.”

A home office in the dining room is an unconventional but clever move.

“It’s like a New York space,” says the designer. “He had just graduated, so we hung his diplomas and achievements.”

Walls wear Garlic Clove by Pittsburgh Paints. “It’s a simple creamy white with a yellowish base to it, so it’s very warm,” says Jenkins.

All Together Now

A standard coat closet became a stylish wine cellar. “He collects wine from all over and he really wanted to showcase his collection,” says Jenkins who worked with Kastler Construction in Royal Oak.

The chrome cable system supports the bottles while the entire space is lined with porcelain tile from Virginia tile that looks like wood.

“It’s like a hotel elevator when you mix in that clean, modern element with extremely traditional bones,” says Jenkins, who took the storage to the ceiling and added a commercial-grade glass and chrome door.

Back to the Future

The master bath is wrapped in gleaming glass tiles in a Chevron pattern from Ann Sacks. A lacquered ceiling done in high gloss black was a daring move that paid off in the end. “It’s a very edgy room,” says the designer. “It’s much more moody when you embrace the dark element.”

Light comes from the shapely sconces and mirror, as well as a crystal light fixture that you wouldn’t expect to see in a bachelor pad or a bathroom. A floating vanity in white lacquer stands out against the black granite countertop.

Rest Assured 

The deluxe master bedroom features custom elements like the tufted leather headboard and the bedding made from Kravet, Lee Jofa and Robert Allen fabrics.

“He wanted this room to really feel like a five-star luxury hotel, so we had to create that ambience,” Jenkins says.

Exquisite nickel-plated sconces flank the bed. “Sometimes you can forgo art and use decadent lighting instead,” says Jenkins.

“It can be costly, but the right piece can make a powerful impact.” So can a thoughtful design in a modest space.


Matlow, Jeannie. “Big Plans” Styleline. March 2014, Volume 7, Issue 4: 108-112. Print

Online Article: Pages 108-112

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