Builder’s posh Bloomfield Hills home holds surprises underground

Judy Rose, Special to the Detroit Free Press
Published 7:00 a.m. ET Aug. 29, 2020 | Updated 11:46 a.m. ET Aug. 29, 2020


Builder’s own house is a very large and lavish brick home in a posh neighborhood.


This 10,000-square-foot house in the posh neighborhood behind Bloomfield Hills’ Kirk of the Hills is the home the owners of MacLeish Building created for their own family.

It’s filled with luxuries they’ve learned of through their decades of building high-end custom houses, especially around Rochester Hills and Troy. Dan MacLeish is a former president of the Builders Association of Southeast Michigan and was that group’s builder of the year in 2002.   

Their home’s special effects include curving bricks that let them build a long, beautiful outdoor stairway. A porte cochere is lined with redwood and leads to heated garage space for seven cars.


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Inside, elaborate ceilings vary from room to room. Crown moldings are stacked six layers high; granite counters are stacked three slabs deep.

They planned the house big; then they made the house bigger. Dan MacLeish kept bumping up room sizes, his family said — the living room, family room, back hall, all the bedrooms.

At first they planned an attached three-car garage. He added a separate four-car garage and theporte cochere, or covered passageway, between them.

They finished the space above the porte cochere as a wide hall from the main house. Over the four-car garage this opens into an added a bedroom suite — space for an au pair or in-laws.

Perhaps most unusual, the MacLeishes created a huge amount of lower level space. There’s a well-finished walkout with more than 3,000 square feet that’s open to outdoors on three of its sides.

There’s also an additional 3,000 square feet in the lower level that’s unfinished and open for optional uses.

“You could put a partial hockey rink there, or a golf simulator,” said Melody Griffin, the daughter of Dan and Joyce MacLeish, who is the Realtor.

They created this huge space in an unusual way. Not only did they excavate the house’s large footprint. They continued the dig under the four-car garage, the three-car garage and even the outdoor porte cochere.

Each garage has stairs to the basement, where the open space goes on and on.

The house has six bedroom suites, some quite large. Each has its own full bath and large walk-in closet. The owners’ suite, 24 feet long, is on the main floor. Four more full suites are above on the second floor. The sixth is over the four-car garage.

Leading from the driveway to the front entrance is a showpiece — a long, curving brick walk and stairs with low brick piers and low parapet walls. It’s the most dramatic piece of the decorative brickwork used all around the outside.

The two-story front pillars are all brick. Brick arches support one porch and frame another entrance. All of these have designs set in.

Similar designs follow inside. The entrances to main rooms are made of wide, shallow arches. The pillars that support them are encased in square columns decorated with recessed panels.  

The main staircase is gracefully curved and floating. The main level floors are honed white marble. There also are rear stairs to the second floor and lower level and an elevator that goes to all floors.

A beautiful cherry-paneled study has French doors that go out to a porch that’s supported by brick arches. The railing and balusters are all carved limestone.

“You walk out of the study and look over the front of your yard,” said Dan MacLeish. “It’s the kind of thing we used to do in Grosse Pointe and Rosedale Gardens.”

The finished part of the lower level is as big as a typical ranch house — 3,111 square feet. It has a large recreation area, a family room area with a fireplace, a full bath and a full kitchen.

Home on Kirkway

Where: 1576 Kirkway Road, Bloomfield Hills

How much: $3,465,000

Bedrooms: 6 suites

Baths: 7 full, 3 half

Square feet: 7,724 in the main floors, 3,111 finished in the walk-out lower level, about 3,000 more unfinished in the lower level.

Key features: Builder’s own house is a very large and lavish brick home in a posh neighborhood. Six full bedroom suites, two kitchens, elevator, handsome brickwork, heated garage space for seven cars.

Contact: Melody Griffin, Griffin Realty Inc., 248-310-0909. 

A note about photos

In order to limit our staff’s exposure to coronavirus, the Detroit Free Press is temporarily suspending its practice of using our photographers to capture images for House Envy and is instead using photographs prepared by listing Realtors, with credit to the photographers.​​ We thank the Realtors for helping in this effort.

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