Historical Architecture of Grosse Pointe – Welcome to 60 Renaud
Last week we presented the story of the early summer homes built in Grosse Pointe by the prominent industrialists who desired seasonal residences next to the lake in “The Pointe” as it was known 120 years ago. Source: Thomas A. Arbaugh, Tonnancour, Volume II.
This week we jump forward to 1939, – to the Regency Moderne style of Hugh T. Keyes – welcome to 60 Renaud.
60 Renaud, completed in 1939, was created in Keyes signature Regency Moderne approach. The 4,500ft home is constructed of white brick had a flat roof, ornate detailing, a colonnaded front portico, and delicate iron gates and railings. The ‘Joy House’ also featured a large central window – an early example of what would become Keyes ‘signature element’ on many of his future projects. Photo courtesy of: Wikipedia.
The house, located on a 120’ x 233’ sq ft double lot, has undergone extensive alterations that include a gabled roof built atop the original flat roof. In 1982, the then current owner Federick S. Ford Jr. listed the house for sale. That same year we understand the 1st floor had a parquet foyer and featured four large main rooms, all with a bay window. This included the living room (16’ x 24’ sq ft), dining room (16’ x 16’ sq ft) a library (13’ x 14’ sq ft) and a large family room (20’ x 31’ sq ft). The second floor had five bedrooms, along with two additional bedrooms for maids. The property also featured service stairs and a 20’ x 40’ sq ft outdoor heated pool. In 1982, at the time of the sale it appears the adjacent 90’ x 233’ lot was also listed for sale. Photos Courtesy of: Detroit Public Library, Digital Collection and Google.com
The home was originally built for Richard P. Joy, Jr., a member of the prominent Joy family. His grandfather was James F. Joy, the railroad magnate, and “one of the foremost business men of the U.S”. His father was Richard P. Joy, President of the National Bank of Commerce and a Director of the Packard Motor Car Company, and his uncle was Henry B. Joy, President of the Packard Car Company. Source: Wikipedia.
During his career Hugh T. Keyes created numerous grand estates for the industrialists of Metropolitan Detroit – including Benson Ford, Robert Hudson-Tannahill, John Bugas, and Max Fisher. Keyes is considered to be one of the most versatile architects of the period.
Born in Trenton, MI in 1888, Keyes studied architecture at Harvard University and worked under architect C. Howard Crane. After graduating he became an associate of Albert Kahn working on one of Kahn’s “signature projects” the Detroit Athletic Club. After working briefly at Smith, Hinchman & Grylls, Keyes, in 1921, opened his own office in Detroit. His style was wonderfully diverse and ranged from Tudor Revival (highly popular in the metropolitan area during the early 20th Century) to rustic Swiss chalet, and Mediterranean inspired properties. Keyes was a prolific designer of fine homes in the Grosse Pointes and was arguably one of the more diverse architects to ply his trade in the community.
During the early 1930’s Keyes began to move away from his traditional Georgian/Palladian work to focus more on modern style homes, centered on functionalism – a favored style of acclaimed Franco-Swiss architect Le Corbusier. Keyes would subsequently create his own interpretation of this style into his own Regency Moderne approach defined by flat surfaces and distinctive ‘white brick’. This approach became an extremely popular feature of much of his work from the late 1930’s onwards. Some excellent examples of Keyes modern work in Grosse Pointe are:
- 41 Lochmoor – International Style, 1936 – razed in the 1990’s
- 25 Fisher – Functionalism/International Style, 1937
- 22 Lee Gate Lane – Regency Moderne Style, 1947
- 665 Lake Shore – Regency Moderne Style, 1951 – razed around 2010
Several other examples of Keyes work in the Regency Moderne approach can be found on the west side of town, created between 1935 and 1955.
60 Renaud is a superb example of Hugh T. Keyes Modern approach. Given that several of his latter ‘modern style’ projects in Grosse Pointe have been raised it is a home Keyes fans should cherish.
*Photos courtesy of the Higbie Maxon Agney archives unless stated.
Written by Katie Doelle
Copyright © 2020 Katie Doelle