When it came to the world of design, Corey Damen Jenkins got his foot in the door quite literally, by knocking on 779 of them, only to stumble upon one hesitantly willing couple in need of an interior designer. Nowadays, despite his success and very full doorstep, the unconventional job opportunities continue: Not too long ago, Jenkins sat on a pedicure chair chatting to his nail specialist. “She was doing my toes and we’re talking about life…and she mentioned one of her good friends, a client of hers, building a house with her husband and looking for some [interior design] help.”
Shortly thereafter, Jenkins met the sweet and charismatic couple with three children, who were completely overwhelmed with the process of building their Detroit-area 7,800-square-foot mansion on top of demanding careers. Thankfully, after hitting it off right away, they were able to put their trust in Jenkins—who worked with the duo to craft their dream home.
Despite the harmonious marriage of the trio, Jenkins frequently found himself playing the role of design mediator between husband and wife. The husband, who was content with modern neutrals (grays, whites, and blacks) often clashed with the wife who longed for more color and vibrancy. Jenkins, who is aware that “interior designers wear many different hats, including [that of] the occasional marriage counselor,” spun this to his advantage, crafting the lofty double-height living room with the husband’s neutrally toned wishes, delicately dotted with splashes of bold crimson for the wife, eventually pleasing both parties.
Use of space was a focus for Jenkins, who made sure each design component had its purpose. In the kitchen, the custom concave seating banquette connected to the kitchen island was specifically designed for the modern family. “While the parents are cooking on the countertop and talking about their day, the kids are nearby doing their homework within eyesight…and everyone’s together,” says the designer.
When it came to the details, Jenkins used custom moldings throughout the living room to give the space a personalized touch, knowing that “this would be the thing to take it from builder’s-grade to customer-tailored.” Despite the couple’s initial hesitancy, the moldings ended up being such a hit that the husband requested the same detailing for his office walls. Equally as controversial in the beginning were the black oval insets in the entry and living room ceiling, which worried the couple. Nonetheless, Jenkins knew they would end up giving the space a similar tailored effect. With ceilings this lofty, “you can 100% get away with it,” the AD100 designer says. “And if you can make a statement, why not?”
In the kitchen, the statements come in a similar color scheme, in part thanks to various shades of white. The room’s black tones also appear throughout the home, such as the same black marble Jenkins used in the living room, a technique the designer employs to create continuity and minimize cost (buying in bulk is always or reasonable). The kitchen’s neutrality is offset by a bold red La Canche oven and hood, which is highlighted by a geometric-patterned Carrera backsplash. Taken together, it is “its own little vignette.”