Mat and Emily Ishbia built a Bloomfield Township home that combines modernity with family-friendly features. Take a look inside.
By Susan Peck
Photography by Brett Mountain
Power couple Mat and Emily Ishbia are dedicated to living life to the fullest, but their aspiration is to do it with all their priorities in place. With three children under age 7 and a lifestyle that’s in perpetual motion, their goal was to create a home that’s a fusion of detailed sophistication and casual living fit for the whole family.
“We want our home to be a place for our family to really live in, and not be just a beautiful space,” Emily says. “It is important that the design allows us to entertain our family and friends, but also makes the home accessible to our kids for their activities.’’
Husband Mat, 37, is president and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, a division of United Shore Financial Services, founded by his father Jeff Ishbia. “My husband works harder than anyone I know, but he plays harder than anyone, too. When he’s home with our family, he gives 100 percent,” says Emily, 37. The house is filled with basketballs, hockey sticks, newly created arts and crafts, musical instruments and more, and both parents join in regularly to play.
Emily is a full-time mother and passionate photographer, and her larger-than-life family photos accenting the walls and halls add to the intimacy of their home. “Some of my favorites are the photos I’ve taken of the kids from our vacations,” Emily says. “I took over one of Mat’s hobby rooms and made it my own studio and dark room.” She is also an author — of “Overcoming Obstacles,” a self-published book on how to overcome loss and health issues — a blogger, fashion stylist and model. “I style and direct the photography in my own fashion shoots,” Emily says.
Big Designs for a Big Life
For their 21st-century modern home in Bloomfield Township, the Ishbias collaborated with builder Joel Lerman, owner of Lerman Corporation custom homes, which won the Best of Houzz Design Award three consecutive years. The home’s expansive floor plan involved a teardown of two houses on the original property and was finished in 2015. “Emily had definite ideas with the architectural elements like the custom-crafted fireplace with Indiana limestone, and I couldn’t have completed the construction in the timeframe we did without her input,” Lerman says.
“The late Dan Clancy, interior designer at Franklin-based Perlmutter-Freiwald, brought specific inspirations to life throughout the home,” Emily says. “For example, the formal dining room came from a vision Mat had, and we both wanted to create a Telluride vibe downstairs where we do much of our entertaining.” Long marble buffets and countertops in the bar area on the lower level are perfect for gathering to watch sporting events and socializing (Mat is a former basketball player for Michigan State University), or for seasonal parties and kids’ play dates.
Every fabric in the home, from floor coverings to luxury leather seating, is kid-friendly. “Because we often have a house full of young kids doing everything from painting to disco dancing, my main request was that we use materials that can be wiped down and cleaned regularly but still convey beautiful style,” Emily says.
Other modern amenities make the home “family-friendly,” Lerman says, “like the smart-house technology with monitoring and reporting systems.” There’s also a sitting area in the bedrooms where the family can spend quiet time at night for bedtime stories. While the Ishbia home is beyond spacious, rooms used most by the family are intentionally created with dimensions that allow for a cozy intimacy. “It’s important to be where my kids are,” Emily says. “My office space has been incorporated into the family entertainment den so I can interact with the kids watching a movie or doing a school project.”
Points of Light
One of the most striking features of the home’s design is the use of windows to create illuminating natural light. The foyer with a two-story sweeping curved staircase, dining room, kitchen, sunroom and children’s playroom are all encased in light, due to the nearly floor-to-ceiling custom windows.
“My favorite room is the sunroom where I can bask in the sunshine,” Emily says. “It’s also the entrance way to the sculpted garden, influenced by the garden of Versailles, and the pool, where we spend most of our time in the summer.”
“Originally a screened porch, Emily made changes to make it an all-year-around sunroom, and the vision was completed with the interior design work of Sherry Bulinda at Perlmutter-Freiwald,” Lerman says.
The light fixtures in the home provide an illuminating and elevated architectural style. The oversized orb in the living room and vintage wrought iron chandelier in the sunroom are examples of beautiful form meeting function.
The Ishbia’s home is proof that you can have elegant interior design while still raising a young family. “Our home is constantly evolving along with our children,” Emily says. “But, honestly, the things we value most are the meaningful pieces like my mother’s paintings or our children’s craft projects. Those are personal and really bring us the most happiness.”