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Modern Love

Take a peek inside a builder's own Birmingham home.

Todd Emerson has built and renovated hundreds of homes, including four of his own. Fortunately, Sterling Custom Homes & Renovations in Bloomfield Hills, which Emerson co-owns with his brother, Marc Alexander, is a one-stop shop for everything he needed to build his most recent home.

With each home, he’s gone “more and more toward modern,” says the builder and founder of Sterling. “Now, with this one, I’ve gone all modern.”

The modern Prairie-style home, constructed from stone, stucco and aluminum, allowed Emerson and his wife, officially empty-nesters, to downsize (but at 6,200-square-feet, it still has plenty of space for visitors) and be able to walk to Downtown Birmingham. And with the help of frequent collaborator Amy Miller Weinstein, interior design and owner of AMW Design Studio in Birmingham, every inch of space is utilized in a functional, friendly way.

With a “completely open floor plan on the main level,” Emerson says, he and Weinstein created two seating groups, one near the fireplace and another in the den, plus additional seating at the dining table and at the kitchen island, making the entire space conducive to conversation. The area near the fireplace, to the left of the kitchen island, is what Emerson calls the “hearth room.” Tucked right next to the hearth room is a corner bar, which provides additional seating and is replete with wine storage, ice maker, beverage cooler, sink and more, is centered around a mosaic tile backsplash of polished marbles and stones.Above the fireplace is a Samsung Frame TV, which becomes artwork after being turned off. 

Central to the two-toned kitchen is a Belvedere black granite island with a leathered finish and a prep sink. To the left of the window is the covered refrigerator; to the right is a dish pantry. “You open the two doors at eye level, and there are shelves for glasses, coffee cups,” he says. “In the drawers is an adjustable peg system that holds plates, bowls and other china. Doing dish pantries is a trend that’s not going away anytime soon.” In lieu of a walk-in pantry, a wall of black-painted cabinets with frosted glass has pull-outs for canned goods, snacks, potatoes and bakeware, plus a countertop that hides the blender, toaster and other appliances. Beyond that a sliding black barn door opens to the mudroom; beyond the dining table is an inset den, with a 12-foot sliding door that opens to an outdoor deck — extending the space substantially. 

Beneath the three-car-attached garage, very uncommon in Birmingham lots, is an exercise room and shower with sauna in the lower level, which leads to a second living area with billiards table and wet bar.

In the office, a sturdy porcelain double-sided desk looks just like concrete and creates two complete, separate L-shaped work spaces for Emerson and his wife, who works in finance; printers are stored inside the cabinets by Perspectives Custom Cabinetry in Troy (who crafted all of the cabinetry in the home). “There’s plenty of room to spread out, and it’s symmetrical,” Emerson says. “Everybody loves symmetry.”

Here, take a peek at Emerson’s supremely livable modern nest.

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