Motor Home

Fueled by its residents’ love of cars, a loft becomes equal parts garage and dwelling


Published:

Kyle Evans and Michael Chetcuti don’t curb their enthusiasm; they park it in the living room.

Their Royal Oak loft, a sort of high-end drive-thru, showcases their shared affinity for automotive art. Among the many original aspects of the industrial-turned-residential space is its ability to accommodate a vehicle indoors, where it becomes “sculpture,” as Evans says.

“It’s not saying, ‘I’m a gearhead.’ It says that what people see as a piece of machinery becomes a piece of sculpture in the living room,” Evans says.

Evans, an exterior stylist for Chrysler and a transportation design instructor at the College for Creative Studies, and Chetcuti, the CEO of Quality Metalcraft Inc., in Livonia, and a principal in Streetcar USA, bring their work home from the office in a big way.

“A lot of us car guys, when we’re hanging out, where do we end up? The garage,” Evans says. “We’re always surrounded by cars. We like to see, feel, and touch the cars we like to have.

“And it’s Detroit. It’s something we’re proud of.”

That said, the pair didn’t want the house to become a museum of kitschy car collectibles. The finishes and furnishings reflect a Detroit-style ability to design and build things.

At Quality Metalcraft, a stamping, engineering, and development company founded by his father, Chetcuti worked his way up from the tool room. The growing company is involved in specialty and niche vehicles and aftermarket parts. In partnership with designer Camilo Pardo, Quality Metalcraft manufactured key stampings for Pardo’s design of the Ford GT.

With Streetcar USA, Chetcuti acquires, manufactures, and markets concepts in the aftermarket and specialty vehicle industries, including the Montana-based Jeep aftermarket legends American Expedition Vehicles (AEV). He’s also a licensed builder.

Their combined skills are reflected in most aspects of the 5,600-square-foot loft that formerly housed Hinson Heating & Air Conditioning. The partners spent two years gutting and refitting the building.

“When I need to find something, nine times out of 10 I’m building it instead of buying it,” Evans says. “I’m conscious about the environment. I like to recycle. We’re always on the lookout for vintage furniture or things we can design.”

The home is a work in progress. Evans says they plan to attach a light fixture to the existing overhead crane so that the fixture can illuminate the dining table on casters (yet to be built) wherever they place it.

“I want the space to be very transformable,” Evans says.

That flexibility makes the loft an automatic hit with children. When young family members visit, “they can drive their remote-control cars all over the place or play with their dolls and not worry about hurting anything. It’s like an enormous basement.”

Although the home is part basement and part garage, it also manages to be sophisticated. The gourmet-quality kitchen is a magnet for guests. The courtyard and second-floor terrace are an asset for summer parties.

Although the loft has industrial underpinnings, it’s remarkably airy, with expansive windows and window walls that open to create indoor-outdoor living.

“I can look across the room and see outside,” Evans says. “It makes me feel comfortable and relaxed,”  like the pleasure of the open road.

Click an image to view the entire gallery
Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Men's Spring Fashion: On The Town

Men's Spring Fashion.

Fall Arts Preview: Upcoming Events

Cultural life is especially vibrant this season. In this section, we offer a glimpse of upcoming exhibits, concerts, and drama, along with an introduction to the fresh faces of the DSO and a look inside a new book devoted to Detroit’s architecturally stunning churches.

2011 Men's Holiday Fashion

MAN ABOUT TOWN: A throwback to an earlier, classic era projects an undeniably suave, masculine appeal.

Best of Detroit 2011

Thousands of readers — the largest number ever — played favorites in online voting for Hour Detroit’s 2011 Best of Detroit list. Check out the 258 winners, and then go play tourist in your own hometown.

Best of Detroit 2013

Thousands of readers selected their favorites in online voting for Hour Detroit’s 2013 Best of Detroit list. Find out who joined the league of over 500 superheroes in the city!
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Top Docs List 2018
  2. Memories of Miya
    Citizen Yoga founder, Kacee Must Leeb reflects on her sister’s suicide, its impact on her...
  3. Introducing the Piekie
    These cookie-shaped pies win big on-screen and off
  4. The Sixth Man
    A youth basketball coach teaches lessons on and off the court
  5. Seeking Support
    Like many metro areas across the U.S., finding a therapist in and around Detroit can prove to be...
  6. Therapy in the Digital Age
    New innovations that revolutionize traditional approaches to counseling
  7. Food Recipe: Chili
    Michael Keys, of Red Crown in Grosse Pointe Park, shares his favorite chili recipe
  8. Author's Cuisine
    At M Cantina in Dearborn, Junior Merino is creating a new kind of Mexican cuisine that is...
  9. Seeing Clearly
    The co-founders behind Genusee on making eyewear with a mission
  10. Mending Migraines
    Nausea, excruciating head pain, sensitivity to light and noise: The oppressiveness of the list of...