To bring variety and splashes of color to this mid-century interior, Project Designer Miranda has put together a selection of vibrant tile applications. The tiles themselves are an eclectic mix of texture and pattern. On the first floor, we're utilizing an 8x8 terra cotta tile to mimic the varied grain of the 7" hickory flooring. The varied wash colors of this tile will be a nice accent without drawing too much attention. 

The powder room and kitchen backsplash will have dramatic punches of color and texture, and the second floor master bathroom will feature both a wood grain tile and a striking concrete stamped tile.

Stay tuned for a video about these beautiful and natural tile selections featuring our designer on this project, Miranda Frye!


Jef Forward, owner of Forward Design Build talks tile selections and flooring tips at the Lutz Ave project in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Jef talks design decisions, window placement, and making the most out of available natural light.

While this home is in a traditional neighborhood with traditional exterior features, our homeowners desired a mid-century interior feel to the home. One of the things we're focusing on is bringing the outside in and showcasing a magnificent magnolia tree in the backyard. We're accomplishing this through the use of corner windows- in the bedrooms upstairs, the kitchen and dining rooms, and the mudroom. It's a simple approach that is subtle to the outside but on the inside makes a dramatic difference.


In this project we're using a unique 7' wide engineered hickory finished-in-field hardwood....say what???  YES, finished in the field engineered hardwood.


This stage is usually a low point for our clients, as it can be a pretty boring time in construction. However! Once drywall installation is complete and primed, it makes a dramatic difference. 

The light starts to reflect and the sense of space comes into play. It almost looks like a home now!


This house features a combination of blown in closed-cell insulation in the existing walls and blown-in cellulose insulation, all of this reaching an R-value of 21. 


The mechanicals of the house will utilize traditional ducted vents, and the plumbing supply is tried-and-true copper and PVC.  Of course the most important part of a smooth installation are INDEX cards and tape!!  We use these extensively to coordinate with our clients - noting the exact locations of their future electrical, plumbing and HVAC so there are no surprises. All of this coordinated in our “pre-mechanical meeting."


The first floor of this home features Marvin Integrity windows with a stained interior and black exterior (Wood Ultrex), while the second floor’s windows have a white composite interior (All Ultrex).  This was a cost planning decision, and the design intent is for the first floor windows to have a warm, touchable effect and the second floor windows to blend in.  The upstairs master bathroom will feature a window in the shower to maximize natural light in the space.


  • The site conditions of this house necessitated a creative solution when it came to sunlight, as they're positioned on a hilltop well-lined with trees. In the new dining room, we sculpted a vaulted ceiling to incorporate two large skylight wells; they're a unique feature and provide an overflow of sunlight into the space. 

  • This corner also features two triple doors opening up that entire corner of the house, capturing views for the shaded back yard.

  • To open up the space between the front living room and kitchen, we concealed several LVL beams in the top and bottom of the walls. A fun structure to figure out!

  • The kitchen will feature an exposed steel beam, carrying the load from the second floor addition over the kitchen.


Sometimes we really nerd out. Like when beautiful tile arrives and is even better than we imagined! These two blue selections are from Fireclay Tile, and they will be used in the Lutz Avenue kitchen (dark blue backsplash) and first-floor powder room.  It's not ready to install yet, as I'm sure you can see - but keep your eyes peeled for a future finishing post!


Framing a two-story addition to a structure over 75 years old has its challenges, but the end product will be a cohesive and personalized space for our clients. 

The existing structure of this home features traditional 2x4 framing, and we have added blown-in foam insulation.  Our new addition's structure utilizes 2x6 framing to accommodate (less expensive) cellulose insulation, which will achieve improved R-value at a better price. In the end, both the old and the new structures will have an R-21 insulation value.


The existing foundation of this home was beyond repair and needed replacing - badly. This was a major catalyst in the redesign of the home. One of the benefits of replacing a foundation is the ability to make it deeper, which provides more headroom in the basement space.

One of the unique challenges of this site is the hill; we had to essentially trench out a road to get access to the basement! The new addition gets a brand new foundation as well, focusing on a crawlspace foundation type - a concrete block over a spread concrete footing. 

Insulation will be added soon to keep this home as energy-efficient as possible.  A temporary steel beam support system has been utilized to keep the house in place during the removal and replacement of the existing concrete block walls.


There really is something beautiful about walking through a house that is stripped to the studs... the regimented geometry and beauty of the old worn wood.  Several aspects of this will obviously change but we will be reusing as much as we can.


Our clients desired to mix the traditional exterior of their home with a modern interior approach, balancing traditional details in an open floor plan. Bringing all of these ideas together and delivering the right mix to express our client's style is one of our favorite aspects of this work!

Below are some of the 'selections boards' that our designers have put together for the clients.


What do you find in an old house? A lot of plaster and lath, and a lot of dust.  Gutting the house is an essential aspect to a deep dive remodel, allowing all new electrical, mechanical and most importantly, all new insulation to take over.  The guts of this house will be all new!


Before pictures (grayscale) and renderings of what the space will look like when finished.


Our clients had been looking a home in the Eberwhite neighborhood of Ann Arbor for years! When this house became available, they jumped at the chance to own it; at the same time, they understood that it would take work to make this a livable home.  Our primary goal for this project was to turn this small house into a more comfortable home that serves the family for years to come.

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Client Remodeling Goals

Our clients had been looking a home in the Eberwhite neighborhood of Ann Arbor for years! When this house became available, they jumped at the chance to own it; at the same time, they understood that it would take work to make this a livable home.  Our primary goal for this project was to turn this small house into a more comfortable home that serves the family for years to come.


After - Rendering

Our Design Solutions

To begin, the existing house suffered from a failing foundation. Our new design replaced and deepened the foundation for a larger basement. By adding a two-story 'side addition,' we are able to create a four-bedroom home, including a full master suite. The first floor has been opened up to create a larger front living room with visually connected dining room and kitchen.

Architectural detailing aids the transition between spaces with a visual layering effect.

The rear of the home now features a large family entry with a connected laundry room, and a new front office spills out onto a large front entry porch.