Ron Bartell, owner of Kuzzo’s Chicken and Waffles, lists Detroit home


This eye-catching contemporary home is a near-pristine setting of mid-century modern architecture. It is located in Detroit’s posh Palmer Woods and is surrounded by Tudor mansions from the 1920s.

Its wow factor starts at the main entrance, where two stained glass doors are set into a tall glass wall that rises two stories to a summit. At the top, the glass folds by 90 degrees and draws a narrow line through the roof.

The result is a dazzling, sunny atrium. Below is the foyer, which is accentuated by a three-fold life-size Louis Armstrong picture. The floor has been cut away at the top and glass railings look through below.

The open foyer on the second floor of this house on 19455 Cumberland Way in Detroit.  It has mid-century modern architecture in Detroit's Palmer Woods and has been completely renovated with glamorous open spaces and a new kitchen.

From each side of this amazing foyer, glamor spreads in wide rooms.

“It really is like being in a California home,” said its owner, former NFL player Ron Bartell, who has lived in both California and Arizona. “The design and the openness really remind me of the west coast. It’s a great house for entertainment. “

Bartell is a native of Detroit, a Renaissance High School child, who played professional football for 10 years – mostly with the St. Louis Rams but brief stints with the Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions.

Now he’s a Detroit entrepreneur – owner of Kuzzos Chicken and Waffles, an upscale restaurant just south of Livernois’ Avenue of Fashion near 7 Mile. This spring, he plans to open a second restaurant called Petty Cash near downtown. He is involved in other development projects on the north end of the town of Livernois.

However, Detroit has become Bartell’s second home because his family lives in California. “This house is too big for a man alone,” he said. He plans to downsize his Midtown base in Detroit.

The 5,000 square meters he leaves are full of touchstones from mid-century design. The living room has a sunken conversation pit in front of the fireplace.

Mid-century vintage style, the living room has a sunken conversation pit around the fireplace.  It mixes three levels and three different types of flooring.  Vintage dark wood accordion doors slide to hide or reveal what's behind.

Do you remember accordion doors? Accordion doors with shelves and a door behind them can be folded in or out from both sides of the fireplace.

Don’t imagine the low budget vinyl doors that you may still find in commercial use. This is dark wood that looks very elegant.

It was the previous owners who walked through the house and brought it to such a fine finish, Bartell said, full of white marble, light wood, and textured travertine. One of their big improvements was the replacement of all the windows and glass doors.

Most of the rooms offer a great indoor and outdoor atmosphere as the side and rear walls feature floor-to-ceiling glass. The whole glass is the Pella Lifestyle series. This places movable blinds between two panes of glass that are mechanized to raise and lower or tilt shadows.

Another big change was the update of the kitchen – the only room that was no longer mid-century. It’s now a large, open space in today’s style with maple cabinets, black granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances including a seven-burner stovetop.

The converted kitchen is the only room that was not preserved in the middle of the century.  It's the style with light cabinets, granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances today.  In a theme that runs through the house, it's wide open to the family room.  Only a change of the floor from wood to tiles marks the change of the rooms.

The owner’s suite has a large whirlpool-like bathtub with whirlpool and a large steam shower, both with electronic controls. A two-sided fireplace faces both the bedroom and the bathroom.

There is also a children’s suite. It has a bedroom with a bunk bed over a desk. A second playroom is connected next door.

The ground floor has an office that is locked from the rest of the house. This office has its own kitchenette and refrigerator.

Among other things, there is a large, curved glass carport that looks out into the backyard. Besides the cars that fit in the garage, you can park more here to keep the snow out. It’s also a good place to have parties, Bartell said.

Bartell grew up nearby in northwest Detroit, he said.

“I always wanted to live in this neighborhood,” he said. “But it was something I didn’t think was achievable.”

Mid-century modern in Palmer Woods

Where: [19455CumberlandWayDetroit[19455CumberlandWayDetroit

How much: $ 1.1 million

Bedroom: 5

Bath: 4 full, 3 half

Square feet: 5,075 plus a partially completed basement.

Key Features: Showcase mid-century modern architecture in Detroit’s Palmer Woods, recently completely redesigned in an appropriate style. Glamorous open spaces, new kitchen, surround sound, private garden.

Contact: Miranda Morrow, National Realty Centers, 313-215-5686.

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 of brokers, we are the photographers the Honor brokers for their assistance in this endeavor.


Dusty Kennedy