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Fit for a Queen

Originally built in 1894, this Queen Anne Victorian in Ann Arbor has a long list of university dignitaries who have called it home. The home had not been updated in decades and had been used as a rental in the interim. It was in need of a total overhaul. With an intensive design+build process, Meadowlark brought this home into the 21stcentury while keeping true to its architectural heritage.


Our design goal in working with the client was to stay true to the Queen Anne vernacular, but make it work for a modern-day family who frequently entertains. Our clients envisioned details such as glossy (English-style) black lacquer paint for the doors and trim among other period details. Traditional with a formal feel, it was designed to be comfortable for an active family and to accommodate large gatherings when necessary.

The Team

Design & Architecture: Melissa Kennedy

Project Manager: Meadowlark Production Team

Photography:  Martin Vecchio


Schematic Design

Our clients added to the list of University dignitaries who called this historic Queen Anne on "University Row" in Ann Arbor their home. They were able to see past the rundown condition of the home (which was full of piecemeal updates and renovations that were done poorly or incorrectly), and envision a stately home that paid tribute to the home's historic past.  They also wanted to bring the home into the 21st Century and make it work for their family.

Focusing on using 19th-Century traditional architectural and design elements while updating the home structurally and mechanically, our design team was ready to accept the challenge. 

Our Client's Wishlist:

  • A large open kitchen with a butler's pantry
  • Formal areas for entertaining separate from more casual areas for the family to enjoy day-to-day living
  • A primary bedroom suite with a walk in closet
  • Laundry on the second floor
  • Air conditioning and improved comfort and energy efficiency
  • Extra guest rooms to accommodate visiting family, friends and colleaques
  • Create better traffic flow through the home
  • A mudroom 
  • Update/replace/restore all finishes to create a cohesive feel that stays true to the original architectural aesthetic.

Design Development

This home was in pretty dire shape. A laundry list of poorly done additions and renovations over the 120+ years since it was originally built had created a home that structurally was not safe. In addition, the home was built using balloon framing which was no longer up to code and had to be remedied - no small task on a 3-story home! The home had to be completely gutted to remediate the major structural issues and bring it up to current-day code requirements.

Our designers reworked the spaces and added onto the back of the home to create a casual great room that included a stunning kitchen with a casual eating area, a family room, a butler's pantry and an efficient desk area/drop zone. 

  • Superior Wall foundation system used in new crawl space under the new addition
  • Spray foam insulation added throughout the home
  • The existing radiant heat system was reworked and updated to accommodate new heating requirement
  • Ductless mini-split air conditioning added to second floor bedrooms
  • Original doors and bronze hardware were refinished and reused
  • First and second floor original hardwoods were restored. Matching hardwood used in new addition and feathered into existing
  • Calacatta honed marble used for kitchen countertops
  • Super white honed granite used in master bath
  • Living room fireplace surround is hand-carved marble, circa 1860's and was acquired from a local antique estate vendor Materials Unlimited.
  • Holandlac Brilliant from Fine Paints of Europe used for black and white lacquer trim  and doors throughout the home


The Results

With a collaborative effort driven by our clients vision - this 1890's historic home has been brought into the current century. With a focus on staying true the original Queen Anne Victorian architectural aesthetic, the results are a stunning family home that now pays tribute to its past and provides a warm, welcoming environment for all who cross her threshold.

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