achel and Chris Hulen had their eye on
a house. Rachel, who grew up in West
Bloomfield, met her husband Chris, from
Bradenton, Fla., when they were both attend-
ing medical school in Miami, she studying
radiology and he, spinal surgery. After their daughter, Phoebe,
now 5, was born (son Jack is 2), they returned to Rachel's
native Michigan and took a rental in Huntington Woods until
they knew if their relocation was permanent. In the meantime,
they often would admire a sprawling window-lined Cape Cod
going up in their neighborhood that happened to be for sale.
Confirmed to be Michiganders for good, the couple called
the builder. "We purchased the home when it was nearly com-
plete and had the chance to be involved with many of the inte-
rior finishes — and, of course, the landscape," says Rachel.
Their first step was to call Four Seasons Garden Center,
in Oak Park and Birmingham, as they had admired the
company's designs on homes throughout their neighborhood,
and began work with master gardener Stacy Feldman. "Stacy
came out to meet with us, and she was so enthusiastic about
the design [of the home]," says Rachel. "I think the greatest
feature of the house is all the windows — we always wanted a
house with a lot of natural light. Stacy really listened to what we wanted and cre-
ated a beautiful plan that catered to both of our desires."
What they wanted was a peaceful landscape that complemented the architecture
of the house, "ordered, but not too formal," explains Rachel. While the Hulens
had some specific ideas (Rachel loves hydrangeas) and preferences (both wanted to
incorporate yellow, their favorite color), they also wanted Feldman to be a creative
force beyond their vision.
Mission accomplished: Feldman accented the strong architectural lines of the
home by using massing, repetition and soft texture, creating an organized founda-
tion of Green Velvet boxwood, Capitata yew and PJM rhododendron. The effect
is softened by the gently flowing texture of masses of various hostas and accents of
Little Bunny grass, and the delicate colors of forsythia and an Autumn Brilliance
serviceberry tree in the spring and Annabelle hydrangea in the summer.
While she would love to say that the focal point of this property is the landscape,
says Feldman, "it is in fact the beautiful home itself, with the landscaping serving
as a means of bringing it all together into one cohesive setting. I wanted the yard
to provide peace, relaxation and beauty every time the Hulens arrived home from
The city of Huntington Woods might say Feldman is just being modest: It
awarded the Hulens, who are active members of Temple Emanu-El in Oak Park,
with the 2009 Beautification Award for their work on their home. In the
end, though, all that matters is that a house took root and became
a home, inside and out.
Above: Chris and Rachel Hulen,
who met in medical school in Miami,
requested a peaceful, relaxing and
beautiful setting that would enable
them to enjoy their yard during spring
and summer, their favorite seasons of
the year, says master gardener Stacy
Feldman. Bottom left: Brick pavers add
texture to the covered patio, where the
Hulens love to enjoy their garden in
the spring and summer sitting around
a teak dining set from Home Depot.
Bottom right: Annabelle hydrangeas
offer summertime color in the midst of
lush yet orderly green.
Above: Rachel and
Chris Hulen bought their
Huntington Woods Cape
Cod home while it was still
a work-in-progress and so
were able to be involved in
many of the interior details
— and the landscape.
.IN platinum •
APRIL 2010 •
P 1 7