$ 2.3M Tudor in Ann Arbor combines the past with great modern improvements

With a slate gable roof, massive chimneys, and 3,300 small panes of leaded glass, this 1920s Tudor home in Ann Arbor has been carefully restored and expanded.

A big part of it is improvements that you won’t see if you don’t learn about them – restoring dozens of leaded glass windows, for example. These were run with zinc, which crumbled after 95 years.

A glazier rebuilt all the windows with new zinc. He counted 3,300 diamond-shaped discs.

But other new pieces not to be missed – especially the 41-foot glass conservatory attached to the rear. It opens to the living and dining rooms to improve the internal flow. The three glass sides open to the spacious property and the gardens.

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The 95 year old Tudor Revival home has been carefully restored to look like it would have been when it was rebuilt.  That included glazing the whole house with diamond-shaped lead glass - 3,300 small panes.

Ingenious solutions are integrated into the project. For example, the owners wanted to set up a lavish office in the basement of the house, but the basement ran out of space.

So they rented heavy equipment and dug more basements. Then, while they were there, they also dug a wine cellar. The wine cellars are now located under an outdoor terrace, which means that the temperature remains constant.

The finished wine room on the lower level of the 2010 Devonshire house in Ann Arbor.  This is a beautifully restored Tudor from the 1920s that has been recreated almost faithfully, but with sophisticated techniques that cannot be seen.

The owner, Dr. J. David Blaha, had longed for this house since the 1970s when he was a surgeon at the nearby University of Michigan Hospital. It’s an elegant Tudor Revival design full of vintage details like all of the leaded glass windows, lead and stained glass doors, artificial tile floors and an original Pewabic tile bathroom.

Blaha is now Professor Emeritus of Orthopedic Surgery at UM Medical School. And yes, he’s the brother of George Blaha, the Detroit Piston play-by-play announcer. Dr. Blaha’s wife, Tamara Blaha, is a nurse who retired to help oversee her project. It covered the years 2002 to 2004.

Your job started with a problem caused by a faulty ice machine in the basement. When its waterline broke, it flooded what a contractor would call the floating hardwood floor.

An original lead glass door is one of three in the entrance foyer and anteroom.  From left to right, the three vintage doors are the public entrance, a cloakroom, and a door above the original staff entrance to protect guests from staff visits.

“It actually became a floating parquet floor,” said David Blaha. “We took that out and started the renovation.”

Much new living space has been gained through the theft of old-time staff. The old 1920s floor plan had deterred owners from mingling with the staff or seeing the staff’s messy duties.

Now the lower level – once all work, no play – has the big, beautiful office. It is lined with wood paneling and fixtures made by a craftsman. It is entered from a hall, which is also lined with root wood and hides the door in its paneling. “I always wanted a secret room,” said Blaha.

The finished lower level office of the 2010 Devonshire house in Ann Arbor.  This is a beautifully restored Tudor from the 1920s that has been recreated almost faithfully, but with sophisticated techniques that cannot be seen.

The office also has a full bath in case another owner prefers a fifth bedroom. On the lower level there is also a large family room, bar and the beautiful new wine cellar, which was built by the same craftsman.

The list of improvements is long here. “What I really wanted was to keep the contemporary nature of the house while I update behind the scenes,” said Blaha.

The winding driveway, once paved, is paved with bricks. What you can’t see is the full concrete drive that the Blahas first built to give the brick a stable foundation.

Becoming empty nests is what drives the blaha movement, but saying goodbye is not easy.

“This house is going to host a special kind of person who loves the fact that it’s classic,” Blaha said.

“It kind of breaks my heart to leave. On the other hand, it is the right time. ”

A Tudor with a past

Where: 2010 Devonshire, Ann Arbor

How much: $ 2.3 million

Bedroom: 4th

Bath: 4 full, 2 half

Square feet: 4.831

Key Features: Beautifully restored Tudor from the 1920s, almost true to the original, but with sophisticated techniques that you cannot see. All leaded glass windows, stained and leaded glass doors, artificial tile and oak floors, Pewabic tiles, tree lots and gardens of 1.6 acres, a second buildable lot.

Contact: Anne or John Sloan, Reinhart Realtors, 734-476-3444. All cq

A note on photos

To limit our employees’ exposure to coronavirus, the Detroit Free Press is temporarily ceasing its practice of using our photographers to take pictures for House Envy, and instead using photos created through listing brokers, we are the photographers the Honor brokers for their assistance in this endeavor.

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