Having recently focused on the modernist work of Alexander Girard we turn our attention to the more traditional styling’s from the firm of Harold C. Beckett and William R. Akitt.

The firm of Beckitt and Akitt practiced in Detroit from 1920 until 1934. The firm primarily specialized in designing large residences in Michigan, including Metro Detroit, and at least six homes in Grosse Pointe.

Harold Beckett was born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1890. Having moved to Toronto in 1910 he worked as an assistant at the architectural firm of Wickson and Gregg. In 1912 Beckett moved to New York City to study architecture at Columbia University, graduating in 1915. After serving in Europe with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces during WW1 Beckett relocated to…

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Last week we covered the exceptional home, 232 Lothrop, created by the extremely talented artist Alexander Girard.

Described as one of the most important, prolific and influential textile designers of the twentieth century, Girard was also extremely skilled as an architect, interior, product, and graphic designer.

Alexander Girard (early 1950’s) – Courtesy of Vitra Design Museum

This week we focus on Girard’s other architectural projects in Grosse Pointe. Aside from designing the modern contemporary home located at 232 Lothrop (1951), Girard also created two further homes on Lothrop – number 222 (1948) and 234 (1949), along with 55 Vendome in 1951. All of his projects were created in his signature contemporary modern style, which was…

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This is the story of an exceptional home in Grosse Pointe Farms. Some of you might remember this work of art, while for others this will be an introduction to a modern contemporary masterpiece.

232 Lothrop was built in 1951, but was razed several years ago. This one of a kind home was commissioned by Dr. George Rieveschl, a research chemist, and was the product of two masters of modern architecture. Alexander Girard designed the original home, while William Kessler extensively remodeled the property in 1959 (at a reported cost of $250,000 – around $2million today).

Situated on a secluded wooded ridge of over one and a half acres the residence was located on the highest point of land in Grosse Pointe Farms on a magnificent pine shaded site. Each…

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Last week we introduced you to some of the hidden homes on the lake in Grosse Pointe Shores. Many of these homes, constructed between 1900 and 1918, are concealed from the road, and their elegance remains hidden. The construction of these homes spans many years, and we would like to continue with our exploration with the introduction of several more superb properties constructed between 1923 and 1934.

Grosse Pointe Shores has undergone a number of transitions over the years, in terms of growth, population, and being recognized as a community in its own right. By the 1920’s Grosse Pointe Shores was establishing itself as a haven for some of Detroit’s wealthiest families. The area had witnessed the construction of numerous grand homes, with many having…

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Over the past couple of weeks we have focused on the grand Lake Shore estates’, exploring the home of Mrs. Henry Stephens, and the five superb buildings constructed in Grosse Pointe Shores by legendary architect Albert Kahn.

This week we stay in Grosse Pointe Shores to bring you some of the hidden homes on the Lake.

As you drive along Jefferson and approach the Ford house you will have noticed the long driveways, and possibly caught a glimpse of the superb homes that line this part of the lake. The construction of these homes spans many years, yet many of these homes remain a mystery, concealed by the beautiful landscaped gardens that hide their full glory.

The smallest of the Grosse Pointe communities, Grosse Pointe Shores has developed rapidly…

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Each week we ask for suggestions of homes, buildings and streets you would like us to profile. This week we focus on one of our recent requests – the grand estate of Mrs. Henry Stephens – 241 Lake Shore.

At the beginning of the Twentieth Century Grosse Pointe Farms was in the midst of a substantial transformation from a summer colony to a year-round residential community. The growing desire for many of Detroit’s wealthy residents to move out of the city to the suburbs was well underway. The area evolved quickly, the ribbon farms and summer cottages were replaced with grand estates and formal landscaped gardens – most visibly on Lake Shore.

One of the more notable arrivals was the estate for Mrs. Henry Stephens (wife of lumber baron Henry Stephens…

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Probably one of the most elegant and sought after residential buildings in the community is the Detroit Towers.

Constructed in 1925, the distinctive eighteen-story red brick and cast stone tower that is overlooking the Detroit River – offering some of the best views in the city.

Built in the Roaring Twenties for luxurious living (at an estimated cost of $1.6 million – around $22m today) the 18-story building contains thirty-four large units, two per floor. Each unit contains 9 rooms including servant’s quarters, and is around 2,400-2,800 sq ft.

Chicago architect Walter W. Aschlager designed the structure. He had a stellar reputation, and was nationally known for his design of hotels, skyscrapers and motion picture palaces.…

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Welcome to 225 Touraine – a charming gem, nestled in the midst of Grosse Pointe Farms. From the outside it has all the characteristics of an utterly charming little cottage, but on closer inspection this home expands to a large 4,214 sq ft residence, which begs the question…it is a cottage or a castle?

There are a limited number of homes in the Grosse Pointe communities that provide an illusion of size on this scale. Most homes over 4,000 sq ft present us with an instant impression of a large grand home. However, 225 Touraine doesn’t fit the mould – the quaint little country cottage exterior it is quite delightful, whilst the splendid interior is equally appealing.

Oscar C. Gottesleben & Walter A. Bernardi originally built the house for…

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Several of the architects who created residential work in Grosse Pointe also worked in commercial, industrial and municipal architecture. Albert Kahn was not only capable of working in all these different disciplines, but he was indeed world renowned for some of his innovations.

There are numerous other architects who were as equally diverse. However, what makes Kahn almost unique in the world is that he had a separate design language for each type of building – he created modern/groundbreaking industrial designs, was open to following the latest trends for his commercial projects, and developed very traditional residences. In a limited group of architects who possessed these skills, this makes him quite remarkable.

Kahn’s early career was dominated…

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Welcome to part three of our Lakeland exploration in Grosse Pointe City. Over the past couple of weeks we have investigated some fabulous homes. Part one explored several residences completed between 1909 and 1924, while part two presented numerous houses constructed between 1924 and 1927.

Lakeland has a wonderfully diverse selection of architectural styles that have evolved during a period of significant growth in the Grosse Pointes. We are fortunate enough to be able to see the transition that is so clearly evident on this street – from the grand 12,000 sq ft Georgian home created for John M. Dwyer in 1909, to the exquisite French provincial residence completed in 1927, through to the modern colonial home completed in 1955.

We begin our final…

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