Revisit 1960s Metcalf design in $1.5M mid-century modern Ann Arbor house

Revisit 1960s Metcalf design in $1.5M mid-century modern Ann Arbor house

MLive Real Estate News

ANN ARBOR, MI – Take a step back into Robert Metcalf’s 1960s in a mid-century modern Ann Arbor house that’s for sale for $1.5 million.

The house at 2320 Devonshire Road was built in 1951. In 1965, well-known Ann Arbor architect Metcalf designed an addition and outfitted the house in his signature minimalistic style with functional built-ins and a strong connection between the residence and the surrounding landscape.


Arjay Miller, Ford Motor company president at the time, and his wife Frances owned the house when they hired Metcalf for the renovation. The most recent owners were Richard Spaid, an executive at American Standard, and his wife Elizabeth.

The next buyer will need to take on modernizing the house, said real estate agent Stephanie Savarino — unless bold retro wallpaper on the walls and ceilings in most of the rooms suits your style.

“We’re not saying it doesn’t need to be renovated, because it does,” said Savarino, president and associate broker of Savarino Properties in Ann Arbor. “But the value of it is the three city lots in this beautiful setting.”

The 4,754-square-foot brick house sits on a three-lot property that covers 1.51 acres in the desirable Ann Arbor Hills neighborhood.

It has two stories but feels like a ranch, with the main living space and five bedrooms on the upper floor, above a walk-in two-car garage, a rec room, another bedroom and 1.5 bathrooms on the partially-finished lower level.


From the front entryway, an open floor plan connects the living room, formal dining room and family room — all featuring large windows and oversized sliding glass doors that open onto patios and offer views of the rolling yard and trees on the south end of the property. Custom ceramic tile covers the floor.


The living room has a vaulted ceiling and a fireplace on a wall of built-in walnut cupboards that match the trim and wooden ceiling beams in other rooms.

The family room extends at an angle off the corner where the living room meets the dining room. It has another fireplace surrounded by bench seating and built-in storage that would have held a vinyl record player and radio, said Chuck Hetherwick, global operations manager for Savarino Properties.

The addition designed by Metcalf opens off the dining room and includes a butler’s pantry and other storage that can be closed off with an accordian door before reaching the kitchen and another dining area with sliding glass doors that open to a terrace on the east end of the house.

The butler’s pantry has a washer and dryer as well as a dumbwaiter that can lift items up and down from the garage, rather than carrying them up the stairs.

The U-shaped kitchen has the original countertop – a single piece of stainless steel – with a built-in cooktop, double ovens and walnut cabinets.

On the other end of the house, a separate wing with wooden floors contains four bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms, plus the master suite.

The master suite has plenty of closet space, an alcove full of natural light with a desk and sliding glass doors that open to the backyard. The adjoining bathroom has a walk-in shower and tub. Two staircases lead to either side of the lower level, separated by the garage.


While it’s easy to list numerous ways to modernize the space, there’s also a charm in maintaining the original design and attention to detail Metcalf brought to the house, Hetherwick said.

“It’s for someone who will appreciate the architecture,” he said.