From Paris to Birmingham: French design, details create standout home

The owners say this Birmingham home is French — drawn from France’s southern Provence area — and many of the home’s details support that. Wochit
Buy Photo

They call this corner of Birmingham “the San Francisco district” with its wandering streets, houses perched on the sides of hills and small city lots.

This house plays that hand out fully — three stories tall, a steep-cobblestone driveway up to the garage, a cobblestone path farther up to the front door, limestone stairs and a finely manicured little piece of land that uses every square yard.

But its owners go further. They say it’s French — drawn from France’s southern Provence area — and many of the home’s details support that.

The architecture is French Provincial — with a flat front, mansard roof, raised terrace and Juliet balconies.

They call this corner of Birmingham "the San Francisco district" with its wandering streets, houses perched on the sides of hills and small city lots.

(Photo: Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press)

Most landscape materials came from France, the owner said. The driveway, walks and courtyard are built from cobblestones from a road in St. Tropez. The stone fountain in the courtyard came from central France.

The beautiful entry gate came from a suburb of Paris. It’s a slim-lined butterfly, shaped from curving wrought iron and bronze. It is set into two pillars of limestone carved with grapevines.

Read more:

Wrought iron is a main theme here, both inside and out. It surrounds the terrace and balconies, forms the banisters and encloses the steps. You see five different graceful patterns you probably won’t find at your home improvement store.

The lot is all cobblestones and thick green ground cover — no grass to mow —although an owner who wants grass could take out some cobblestones. Ivy climbing the walls adds to the Old World feel. Tall, slim evergreens keep the space private.

Step inside and the French details go on. For example in most rooms the walls have architectural molding. “Obviously moldings are something you see more in Europe,” the owner said. The couple have lived in both Europe and Egypt.

The stairs have a delicate scrolled railing next to a diamond pattern marble floor. French doors open out to a big terrace. All three bedrooms have a Juliet balcony.

At a quick glance, the floors on the terrace and balconies look like today’s popular bluestone. But the owner said those floors are all paved with weathered copper.

As a background for their collection of European antiques, these owners have painted every wall white. “A lot of the homes in Paris are stark white,” the wife said.

This house is three stories tall, plus the lowest level, where you drive into the garage. City style, the entrance is on the side, which allows good use of a small lot.

Enter the marble foyer and you face left to the large living room with the French doors and terrace beyond. It’s open to the formal dining room.

To the right is the open kitchen and breakfast room, which look out to the private back yard. A butler’s pantry or service bar has glass-front cupboards and a bar sink.

The second floor has three bedrooms and two baths. The owners’ suite is large and dressy with a carved marble fireplace and French doors leading to two Juliet balconies. All the bathrooms are white marble.

The top floor is one big room with dormer windows and two skylights. This could be a playroom, office or library.

Location is one big attraction here. The hill it’s on is a dead end street just up above the small shops, restaurants, park and weekly farmers’ market on Birmingham’s Old Woodward. It sits up in the treeline, which keeps it private from the busy scene below.

“It’s nice. You can just walk down to the eateries, the parks, the market,” said Realtor Tammy Lord. “You walk out and you’re in this bustling town, everything’s going on around you.

“Then you come home and you’re tucked in your own private area, buffered by all the trees.”

Birmingham home

Where: 650 Brookside, Birmingham

How much: $889,000

Bedrooms: 3

Baths: 2 ½

Square feet: 3,040 on three floors

Key features: Gracious French-style house has a private, treed niche above a bustling street in Birmingham. Intensely landscaped city lot with Old World cobblestone paving and wrought iron. Bright, open interior, walk-out terrace and Juliet balconies with floors of weathered copper.

Contact: Tammy Lord, RE/MAX Grande, 810-397-3803.

Source Article