After renovating every room in their 1941 Beverly Hills home, Dr. Larry and Paula Stawick decided to do some exterior work on their park-like, tree-filled, 4-and-¾-acre lot. A deck situated on the top of an old storage garage several feet from the home wasn’t very practical. “We’ve used that deck maybe for 20 minutes,” Larry says with a laugh. “The mosquitos were bad. It was falling apart. I was thinking of building a gazebo out there, but you’d have to screen it in. I was then toying with the idea of having a nice hideaway.”
Enter architect Kevin Hart of Kevin Hart Associates in Birmingham. “Kevin thought it’d be a great getaway spot, so we started BS’ing about what we’d like,” Larry says. “I described to him that I’d want a lot of windows and drew a tiny picture. Kevin asked if I wanted to heat it, and, if so, he could put the furnace in the garage below. We also thought a fireplace would be neat, and so on.” Hart then drew up the plans. “Kevin incredibly designed what my exact thoughts were right down to a T. It’s a dream.”
Today, the busy gastroenterologist, who is a Michigan State University clinical professor as well as a faculty member of the Ascension Providence Gastroenterology Fellowship Program, enjoys writing lectures and reading his students’ papers, playing his guitar, and maybe sipping on a cognac, in what he calls his tree house.
“He works close to 65 hours a week,” Hart says (Larry is also a gastroenterologist in private practice and is on staff at Ascension Providence Southfield and Ascension Providence Novi). “This ‘away’ room structure gives him a remote study area to read a book, catch up on his research, and enjoy a roaring fire just a few steps away from his house.”
The Stawicks and Hart worked with interior designer Connie Lovell (now based in Pinehurst, North Carolina) on choosing furnishings and with builder Victor Talia of Victor Talia Architecture in Birmingham. (Hart and Talia won a Detroit Home Design Award for the project). “I love it,” Larry says of the end result. “In the winter when it’s snowing, it feels like you’re Up North. It’s my little domain. Five minutes after I walk in there after work, I’m relaxed.”
Here, Larry, who, incidentally, was named a Top Doc in Hour Detroit, gives us a tour of his special space.
A Look at Dr. Larry Stawick’s Backyard Getaway
Painted in gray-blue and crisp-white tones, the backyard getaway evokes a traditional look and perfectly complements the main home. The siding is a HardiePlank (a manufactured product that looks like wood). The stonework includes a mix of Michigan stream stone and Michigan river rock.
“My wife made a pillow that has a tiger head on it, and I have an afghan that her aunt made for me,” Larry says. The needlepoint pillow is made from canvas and wool that Paula bought in England.
Under, around, and over
For the flooring, Larry chose a gray-blue slate that complements the light wood (hand-hewn Michigan cedar) used on the walls and ceiling.
An antique scale sits above the fireplace, as does a pistol that “looks like an old pirate pistol,” Larry says. The scale was purchased at an auction at Detroit’s DuMouchelle Art Galleries. The old pirate pistol is a replica and is the same type of pistol Johnny Depp used in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean. Another gun is a replica of a flintlock.
Larry cherishes the beer mug that his late brother gave him when he was a freshman at Michigan State University. There’s also a crystal decanter for his favorite cognac.
Larry is loyal to his Spartans. One of his favorite books depicts the history of the buildings on MSU’s campus.
The small side table contains a music box that plays Larry’s mother’s favorite song from the movie Doctor Zhivago. His parents bought it on a trip to Switzerland and his mother disassembled it and snuck it back to the States in her bag.
Instrumental for relaxing
Larry plays classical guitar and practices in his backyard getaway. If he’s not strumming strings, classical music fills the air through built-in speakers. “I didn’t want a television out there,” he notes.
Want to take a peek into more metro Detroit interiors? Read our other I Need My Space features here.