Young at Heart – Ann Arbor, MI

Young at Heart: an aging client’s forever home in Ann Arbor, MI.

A thoughtful renovation tackling the reality of preparing a home for “aging in place”, while still nurturing a youthful spirit. The primary bathroom was transformed into an open, zero barrier space, while the living room became a welcoming and comfortable haven for our client to surround herself with her friends and family. Edges are softened, seating is maximized, spaces are easy to navigate, cushions are plentiful and the colors glow like our client does.

Tour the Project


Tessa: This project had to address physical aging, head on. The client’s goal was to do the renovation of her dreams, while creating a home that she could live in for as long as possible. We needed to look ahead and address the realities of an aging body and how it will continue to change the way a space is used. Great care was taken to create a space that was free of barriers, with adequate clearances for a walker should the need arise, and grab bars were introduced in discreet but intentional ways. While the years have taken their toll on our client’s body, they have done quite the opposite to her spirit, she radiates with a youthful and vibrant energy. It was a pleasure to tap into her energy, allowing it to guide the design, creating a space that feels fresh, enthusiastic and full of life.



Zeb: The concrete tile on the bathroom floor really does it for me. It read as a hexagon before it got installed but after it all went down, the white spaces read like circles and the colored triangles look like lines shooting across the floor. The ultimate effect was very unexpected and really pleasing to watch come together.

Tessa: The credenza, the credenza, the credenza! The way the colors work together, how the boxes stand proud of the frame, all the little reveals, I love all of it. Every angle you view it from gives you a different presentation of the reveals and the quantities of each color. It was a really fun piece to design and fabricate.



Zeb: We integrated a hidden LED into the smallest purple box in the credenza. We didn’t want any colors, we were after just a white light. These days, most LED options come with a disco frenzy amount of color settings, so we ended up with one that was perfect in every way, except that it included 16 different color settings. We decided we would try to ignore the options and avert our eyes from the controller that looked like a box of watercolors. We got the LED installed and fired it up, only to find that the white setting actually looked blue and nauseating inside the purple box. Once we started playing with the color options, we were thrilled! Changing the light color made the whole box change colors, if you didn’t know that the box was purple to begin with, there is no reason to believe that it isn’t actually, pink, orange, red or even turquoise!



Zeb: This project is nearly four hours from our workshop and our tools, and it wasn’t feasible to drive back and forth between the two. Because of this, we needed to fabricate mostly everything on site, including the custom credenza. The credenza elements needed to be painted with a spray rig to achieve the furniture quality finish we wanted. This presented a problem since we did not have access to a paint booth. Ultimately, we purchased an inflatable spray booth with a filtration system, that would just barely fit, fully inflated, in our clients two car garage. We’ve referred to the booth as The Shumai, since the day it delivered. It delivered perfectly, precisely and tightly rolled up, looking a lot like a massive shrimp shumai. We’ve never been able to replicate the same precision, although Riley has gotten pretty close with his patented log roll technique. The Shumai has provided endless laughs!