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  Glacier Blue® Architectural Topics & News     
          Monthly Newsletter
February 2016
In This Issue


Topic of the Month: A Dutch Home in Detroit

Architectural Firm of the Month: McIntosh Poris Associates

Helpful Links for Architects     

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Welcome to the February issue of our newsletter! In each issue we present you with interesting and informative articles about the various projects architects and designers are working on around the country. If there is a project you would like to share with us, please feel free to contact us and tell us about it! Your project could be featured in one of our upcoming issues of this newsletter. To learn more about our "high-end" cut-to-size Glacier Blue® Devonian Sandstone products, please click here to visit our website.

Photo by Kevin Bauman

McIntosh Poris Associates provides architectural, interior, and urban design services to commercial, residential, and institutional clients.  The firm's goal is to transform buildings, communities, and urban centers with architecture created through vision and dialogue.  "Our work is about new relationships and meanings at multiple scales," says Principal Michael Poris.  "The transformation of buildings, sites, neighborhoods, and districts alters our perception and interaction of cities and how we live."  These talented architects have built more than 100 diversified residential, mixed-use commercial, institutional, and arts projects in Michigan, California, Connecticut, New York, Las Vegas, Toronto, and Illinois.

For more information visit:

Photo by Justin Maconochie

One look at the Melchers-McIntosh residence gives us a glimpse back into 17th century Delft in The Netherlands, making it easy to imagine the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer painting away in a golden sunlit upper floor studio. This house is in Detroit, Michigan and was renovated by architects of McIntosh Poris Associates starting in 2001. According to architect Michael Poris, the project took five years to complete, "since much of the time it was being lived in." Poris undertook the renovation with fellow architects James and McIntosh who were the owners of the home.
The original, Dutch-influenced home was built and designed in 1896 by Gari Melchers for his father Julius Melchers who was considered Detroit's first sculptor. 
The restoration and renovation project involved a complete overhaul of internal mechanics, restructuring of dilapidated areas, new construction, and detailed restoration based on historic photographs.
Before the renovation, most parts of the house were abandoned and the back wing had nearly collapsed.  After comprehensively revamping all of the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, the back wing was lifted off its original foundations and reinforced with structural steel.  A new cedar and copper roof replaced three other roofs layered over the original pine roof.  The exterior wood clapboard was stripped of 20 layers of paint.  Rotted perimeter eaves and inverted soffits were rebuilt.  A meticulous restoration of the original Melchers hand-carved details was achieved by consulting historic photos of the house.  The colors used on the exterior include colonial yellow with a cream trim accented with green tones to highlight details of the restored carvings. 
Interior construction required establishing sectional relief where there originally was none.  Three bedrooms evolved into the master suite on the second floor.  A revision of the original sunroom created a two-story sunroom with views of the newly created courtyard and carriage house.  A large family room was created on the third floor, where once three bedrooms existed, and a new third-floor balcony replaced unfinished attic space.  A fourth-level loft overlooks the third-floor space and completes the complex relationship within the restored structure. 
The renovated three-story structure includes a foyer, music room, morning room, sunroom, four new bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, master suite, three bedrooms, family room, balcony, and loft.
The foyer, music room, and dining room were designed to maintain original tones set in the 19th century.  An intimate Dutch vestibule complete with antique Dutch courting mirrors flanking the split Dutch door, stands at the elegantly carved grand entrance and stair hall.  A prismatic light fixture from the 1930s graces the entry foyer, while pocket doors cordon off the music room and sitting room.  Off the stair hall is the original, restored marble butler's sink. A 1920s-era Steck player baby grand piano graces the music room. 
The dining room's design includes the restoration of Gari's original corner cupboards and 400-year-old Delft tile imported from Holland.  A century of paint was stripped from the ceiling, walls, and ornamentations to reveal original, hand-carved details.  A blue porcelain finish completes the walls above the wainscoting, accentuating the hues of the Delft tile surrounding the fireplace. Two restored, carved heads flank either side of the window seat and are supposedly Julius Melchers' older children.
A new carriage house outside of the main house functions as garage, a courtyard, and a storage facility and takes advantage of the alley access to the home.  The space comprises two symmetrical wings flanking a sunken courtyard.  Each wing accommodates one car, with a storage loft located above.  The connecting space between the two garages was designed to be a summer kitchen that can extend to the courtyard, which doubles as an alfresco dining room.
According the Poris, the biggest challenge was, "Probably living in the home the entire time during the renovation process."
The renovation was beautifully executed and although modern in all of the ways that matter, in design and details it brings one back to a more serene time in a faraway town in Northern Europe. 

            Photo by Justin Maconochie

Helpful Links for Architects

AIA Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN) 

The Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN), a Knowledge Community of The American Institute of Architects, is committed to the promotion of all residential architecture based on architectural content irrespective of style. For more information visit:  

AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community

The AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community provides leadership and expertise to practitioners of interior architecture and design, working cooperatively with its members and other interiors organizations to address relevant, timely practice issues, markets, and trends, such as licensing, liability, environmental, and technological considerations. Through the Interior Architecture Knowledge Community, important links are maintained with allied professionals, service providers, and manufacturers. If you wish to become a member of the AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community, call AIA Member Services at 800-242-3837, or visit: 


Architect Online's Continuing Education Center

Architect Online's Online Continuing Education Center gives professionals a convenient way to earn necessary continuing education credits without having to set foot in a classroom. The courses listed, sponsored by the companies noted, are accessible from anywhere you can establish an online connection. Just register, read the required material, and then take the test, either through a downloadable mail-in form, or free via a secure online connection, depending on the course. You'll be able to maintain your professional credentials, at your pace, and at a location that works for you. Visit: 


Architectural Record Continuing Education Center

Architectural Record magazine has a free Continuing Education Center where architects can earn AIA Continuing Education Credits online. Visit:

Architectural Record Discussion Forums

The McGraw Hill Construction Community, publisher of Architectural Record, has provided architects with a forum to express ideas, opinions, suggestions, and gripes. The discussion forums are open to all, and include topics such as Green Building Projects, Virtual Design, Practice Matters and a forum for younger architects. Visit:

CORA - Congress of Residential Architecture 

CORA is a grass root organization that encourages our members to participate in the dialog of improving residential architecture in a way that suits them best. The purpose of the CORA is to provide a continuing forum for advocating and enhancing residential architecture by all individuals, both professionals and non-professionals, that share a common interest in improving the quality of the homes and communities we live in. Visit: 

The Green Meeting Industry Council

The Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) is a non profit 501(c)(6) membership-based organization. Their goal is to encourage collaboration within the meetings industry toward the development of green standards that will improve the environmental performance of meetings and events on a global basis. The GMIC is the only professional green meetings organization that is a member of the Convention Industry Council. For more information visit: 


The World Architecture Community
The World Architecture Community invites all architects to create a free profile on their website. The World Architecture Portal is a unique comprehensive international directory and catalog of contemporary architecture where all architects, scholars and institutions may submit their work and links to share with colleagues from around the world.
For more information visit:

We hope you enjoyed our informative monthly e-newsletter. For questions, comments or more information, please e-mail or call us today.





Liz Benton, Editor 
Glacier Blue® Architectural Topics & News
Devonian Stone of New York, Inc.

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