Historic preservation architecture

Historic Preservation Architecture

A Detroit Historic District Project by CBI Design Professionals

Detroit, a city steeped in history and distinctive neighborhoods, provides a unique canvas for architectural masterpieces. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through an inspirational journey where a client, supported by the architectural prowess of CBI Design Professionals, acquired a property in the historic Detroit neighborhood Indian Village, to be closer to their daughter and grandchildren. This venture not only rekindled family bonds but also led to a remarkable architectural endeavor.

historic preservation architect

Navigating Historic Design Regulations

One of the principal challenges in reimagining a property in Detroit’s historic neighborhoods is navigating the stringent review and approval process overseen by the Historic District Commission (HDC). The HDC plays a pivotal role in preserving the city’s architectural heritage by ensuring that new constructions align with the district’s character and principles of design. These principles encompass elements such as height, proportion, rhythm, materials, colors, textures, and the scale of the façade, all of which are integral to preserving the historical integrity of these neighborhoods.

Materials, windows, height, and massing are all significant topics in HDC’s evaluation process. To meet these criteria, CBI Design Professionals conducted extensive massing studies to determine the height and volume of the proposed home concerning neighboring structures.

historic preservation architect firm

Balancing Tradition with Modern Needs

The client’s vision for their new home presented a unique challenge. They aspired to incorporate modern amenities, such as a first-floor primary suite and an attached garage, into the home’s design. These additions would significantly increase the overall footprint, a departure from the typical footprints in the neighborhood, which remain consistent from the first to the second floor.

To preserve the historical charm while accommodating the client’s needs, CBI Design Professionals made several strategic adjustments. First, they decided to remove the third garage bay and instead created a separate detached garage in the rear yard. This not only maintained the historical streetscape but also enhanced practicality.

Second, the roof design was meticulously reconfigured. The roofs on either side of the house were adjusted to emphasize the central massing, aligning with the rhythm and scale guidelines mandated by the HDC. This thoughtful approach allowed for a seamless integration of the new structure with the existing architectural landscape.

Historic preservation architecture MI

Preserving Community Heritage

An elm tree on the property held special significance for the community. The challenge was to preserve this tree while planning the driveway. Through careful consideration and a dedication to community preservation, CBI Design Professionals situated the driveway at a distance that protected the cherished elm tree, ensuring its continued place in the neighborhood’s historical tapestry.

The story of this Detroit property is more than just a narrative of architectural adaptation; it’s a heartwarming account of a family’s desire to be close to their loved ones while respecting the historical fabric of a community. With the guidance and innovative solutions provided by CBI Design Professionals, challenges were met with grace and ingenuity. This project exemplifies how modern living can seamlessly harmonize with the past, serving as a testament to the preservation of family bonds and the city’s rich history.

In Detroit’s historic districts, every brick and tree has a story to tell. With a deep respect for the past and a vision for the future, new chapters are authored, and history lives on – a testament to the creative partnership between the client and CBI Design Professionals.

historic preservation architect

histroic preservation architecture firm MI

historic preservation architect firm MI

historic preservation architect mi

Historic preservation architecture MI

histroic preservation architecture firm

Luxury Residential Design

Building a Custom Lake House

For this Lake House project, we incorporate the natural surroundings in our design process. The home optimizes sweeping lake views and natural light to create a natural, calm experience.

Simple but striking design elements are built into multiple aspects of the home, such as the wall of built-ins and the fireplace, adding just the right amount of character to the living area while keeping a focus on the natural light and lake views. While a home suspension cable staircase in the middle of the home, creating contrast in design elements.

Luxury Residential Design

A Spring Transformation

Spring has us in a transformative mood!

For this adaptive re-use project in Hillsdale, Michigan, we converted a carriage house that certainly had seen better days, into a multi-family residence.

Though our updates were extensive, it was important for us and the client that the historical character of the original structure be preserved. The end result could not have been better, and the client could not have been more pleased. 

If there are two things we adore, one is an adaptive re-use project that gives new life to a historic



building and the other is a happy client.

Considering an adaptive re-use project for a historical building? Give us a call today!

Luxury Residential Design

Working Virtually Amid the Pandemic

As we began this expansion of a family cottage for a former client the COVID-19 pandemic began, putting the world on hold for some time. On the beautiful lakeshore of Lake Erie on Pointe Pelee Island in Ontario, Canada, this cottage has been inaccessible to us (and our client!) for the duration of the project. But, just because the process is virtual, does not mean work had to stop. 

We originally did a few quick doodles over a picture for them to show how the character of a new screen porch could look. We gradually have worked with the builder on the island to develop details of how to actually build that character. Along the way the project has expanded to replace the windows, deck, and create sunscreen trellises across the lakeside,” says Robert Clarke on the challenges of working virtually. “No one could cross the border to see how it really is coming together!”  

It is a challengbut we are getting through it and the builder has been great with sending us updated images throughout the process.

The owner is very anxious to go see and experience the new space and all its character. Hopefully, for this summer things will be clear and the home will be ready for enjoyment. We must say, the views across the lake have made it all worth the wait.

Luxury Residential Design

Making New Memories While Preserving Old

One of many memories.

This historic home, which we were delighted to work with, saw many celebrations throughout its long life. Based on the photo included on the right, the home certainly saw its fair share of get-togethers and celebrations. Our historically sensitive renovation effort and expansion was done using careful work to preserve old memories while leaving room for many more to come.  

Take a close look at the before and after photos for this project. Originally built in the 1920s, We matched the stone in the new additions with the original for a seamless expansion of this historic home.

Looking to update, expand, or preserve your historic home? Give us a call or email, today!

Renovation Architects

Home For the Holidays

Happy Holidays to all!

This year of at-home celebration does not have to be boring, just find exciting ways to bring the outside in. Take a cue from this two-story fireplace featured on the left. It’s designed with the same Michigan Split Face Fieldstone that was used on the exterior of the home. During the process, we designed custom fireplace with sightlines across the room to the window, at just the right height to see what’s going on, on the other side.

Another idea could see you opening that special bottle of wine you have been saving for just the occasion. In this instance, take a gander at our specially designed wine cellar on the right.

As this tumultuous year comes to an end it feels extra important to take the time for reflection. And having the perfect space for it certainly helps!

This two-story library featured not only has three sitting areas but houses multiple collections including one comprised of maps!

Reflect on what you are passionate about and how you can bring more of it into your life.

Need more space for it? We are but a call away.

Renovation Architects

The Story of a Historic Renovation

A few years after living in this 100-year-old home, the family decided it was time for a few changes. Enter our CBI team.

The home, with its white clapboard and Michigan Split Fieldstone façade, from the very beginning, was approached as one of historical sensitivity. The renovation began with removing the aluminum siding that covered the original wood and the original single car garage – building a laundry room, family room and mud entry in its place.

A new three-car garage replaced the single garage that was removed in the first phase of renovations. Pay attention to the arches in the feature photo. These and the quite perfectly matched (by hand) Michigan Split Fieldstone seamlessly connect the old and new additions to the L-shaped home. From the beginning, this kind of historical sensitivity was very important to the family – to expand the home to suit a contemporary lifestyle but to stay true to its original character.

That is what we delivered down to the finest detail.

Renovating the spaces of a historic home is always a challenge especially when reconciling the old and new, traditional and contemporary. One of our tips is to find ways to subtly reference the original in the new. In this foyer on the right, we created new arches that exactly match the original, historic proportions. And though new, the slate tiles reference the size and pattern of the original flooring throughout the home.

Another aspect of the project, a garden room, opens up to the patio as well as the adjoining living room. During the process, we designed the layout to be easily adaptable to any size and style of gathering. While there may not be many guests, for now, the hosts are enjoying the serenity of the room’s simplicity and sweeping views.

Residential Architect Firm

Renovating a 100-year-old Bloomfield Township Home

This 100-year-old Bloomfield Township home, originally built for a prominent family, is steeped in history. When the owners called us regarding some renovations, we just knew we had an extraordinary project at hand. We are always conscious of the delicate balance required when redesigning a historic home, and this one was certainly no exception.

We started at the front of the home for this historical project, taking the old screened-in porch and converting it into a wine tasting room. During the process, we also preserved the original watering trough for horses. Though the flagstone floor and salvaged ceiling beans are new, they also reference the original textures and patterns found throughout the home.

Over the course of the process, we carried materials that make a nod to the historical features of ages past, such as the fieldstone, throughout the entire home — inside and out! — connecting the newly renovated spaces to the historical narrative.