A Look at an Ann Arbor Family’s Music Room

This pretty retreat provides solace for a mom and daughter
music room
Brigitte Kapnick (left) plays the piano in her family’s music room while her mother, Tiffany Birch, listens.  

When Tiffany Birch and her family moved into a new house in Ann Arbor one year ago, her 17-year-old daughter, Brigitte Kapnick, asked not only for a special space to play her instruments — but also for a grand piano to add to the collection.

“We had an upright piano that was really old and out of tune. My mom was always telling me that she’d buy a grand piano if we moved. So, I said, ‘OK, we moved, are we getting this piano?’” says the Pioneer High School senior, who also plays the guitar, viola, and ukulele. 

Birch, an interior designer who runs Birch Design Associates in Ann Arbor, discovered a Kohler & Campbell baby grand for sale on Facebook Marketplace through a friend’s post. “We got it tuned, fixed the pedals, and had new pads put on,” Birch says. Now, it takes center stage in the music room.

 “Beyond the piano, I love the room’s ceiling and the wood beams,” Kapnick says. “And I like it when the light shines through the window onto my sheet music [which is likely works by Chopin or Beethoven]. My piano teacher won’t stop talking about the room; he says that it looks like it’s straight from England.” 

Birch says the design goal was to keep the history of their 1929 home “but give it more of a California vibe where it’s sort of light and modern.” Here, the mom-daughter duet share insights on some notable music-room elements. 

More on The Music Room

Lime on a dime

“We had the fireplace painted the same as the wall color, but in a flat finish to look seamless and resemble limestone,” Birch says.   

Gotta have art

A lithograph by Alexander Calder, “The Frog and the Saw” (or “La Grenouille et la Scie” in French), hangs over the fireplace. “Orange is my favorite color; I had to have it,” Birch says. Adds Kapnick: “I like a lot of what my mom likes, so what she did in this room is great.”

Choice chandelier

A Ralph Lauren Home chandelier featuring a horse theme, with bits and leather straps, hangs from the home’s original solid wood beams. 

Star power

Hanging on the wall near the piano are framed black-and-white photos of the Sex Pistols and Bob Marley. “Those are two of my mom’s favorite musicians,” Kapnick says.

Pretty panes

The room features all the original leaded-glass windows. “The owner before us had them all restored,” Birch says.

Floored by beauty

All the flooring is original 1928 tile from Pewabic.

Front-row seats

“Two chairs flank the fireplace and offer seating to enjoy a drink and listen to Brigitte play,” Birch says, “not unlike what people used to do decades ago during dinner parties. I think that tradition should be brought back.” 

Canines and cows

Birch is flanked by Kapnick’s viola and Penny the dog. The rug is a cowhide rug Birch purchased at Baker Furniture at the Michigan Design Center in Troy.

This story is from the June 2022 issue of Hour Detroit. Read more our digital editionAnd click here to see more metro Detroit interiors.