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May 09, 2013 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-05-09

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home

>> at home

Lynne Konstantin I Design Writer
Brett Mountain I Photographer

A historic Birmingham
home blends periods,
culture, color and
comfort with style —
and is open to the public
during Temple Israel's
annual hbuse tour.

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hyllis Whitehead loves history. And
architecture. And patterns, sculpture
and exquisite design. Fortunately,
she is an interior designer, so she was able
to pull the collections she has amassed
throughout years scouring flea markets and
antiques shops during travels with her hus-
band, George, and bring them together in her
Birmingham home in a way that honors each
piece without detracting from others. She
loves it.
"It's a no-children house she admits
(while designating an entire upstairs wing
to her grandchildren's highly anticipated
visits) of the home, where she and her hus-
band entertain often. Built in 1880, and on
the National Register of Historic Places, the
former farmhouse was occupied by the same
family for 59 years before the Whiteheads
bought it and began renovations in 1992 to
create the expansive open floor plan, added
garage and 1,000-square-foot wraparound
veranda, like those of the Southern plantation
homes she adores.
"I'm very influenced by French furniture
design — I like comfortable seating without it
being oversized:' says Whitehead. "My house
is a lot like ones you find in New Orleans,
with an emphasis on French design but
blending that with all different nationalities,
cultures and styles."
Brimming with pieces inspired by nature
— from animal prints to paintings to pottery
bursting with images of tropical flowers —
the home is a tribute to what Whitehead and
her husband find interesting and soothing
and her ability to mix it all together, just like
the Birmingham shop, Fifi and Coco, which
she owns.
"More and more, people are downsiz-
ing but have gorgeous, high-end furniture,
Persian rugs, crystal chandeliers, original
artwork that they don't want to waste. So I
take it:' says Whitehead, who sells 90 percent
of her shop's home furnishings by consign-
ment and fills out her stock with tabletop
pieces like candlesticks, placemats, chargers
and more.
"I love playing different periods against one
another, and I do that in my shop and in my
home says Whitehead. "I don't really have a
signature style, but I like things to pop, and I
like vintage because I like to sneak in things
that are one-of-a-kind. It's very eclectic, and
I know it's not for everyone. But at the end of
the day, this is where I want to be:'



The Phyllis and George Whitehead

home is one of six unique, local homes

open to the public through the 20th

annual Temple Israel Sisterhood

House Tour, founded by Janie Roth. It

runs 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday, May

29. $25/advance tickets; $30/day of

tour. For details, call (248) 661-5700,

with the community? Contact Lynne Konstantin at lkonstantin@thejewishnews.com .

36

lay 9 • 2013

or visit temple-israel.org .

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