von Staden Architects

von Staden Architects

Royal Oak, MI


White Horse Inn

Renovation of a 165 year old inn solidified its place as the heart of this Michigan equestrian community. The Metamora’s White Horse Inn had served Mother’s Day Brunch and Thanksgiving Eve dinners for over a century. Its previous owner left the casseroles in the oven and turned out the lights, leaving the aging structure abandoned, in need of new stewards to take it into the 21st century.

Enter the proprietors of some of Southeastern Michigan’s most beloved neighborhood restaurants, whose themes harken to up-north culture and vibe, rustic cabin restaurants. The White Horse Inn was in their backyard. They rescued it with the help of neighborhood block grants and historic tax credits.

von Staden Architects developed a masterplan which would restore the original colonial style structure, where existing structure and wood detailing were retained, yet demolish the additions that had grown onto the original structure, to create state-of-the art back-of-house spaces, including kitchens, refrigeration and storage as well as bathrooms.

The new addition embraces the equestrian culture of the community with architectural details that refer to barns through an equestrian architectural vernacular. The new structure is traditional timber construction with true masonry and old-world detailing.  Wood components – structure and floors were hewn from locally source timer on the owner’s property 5 miles away. The new wood-burning masonry fireplace was erected from stones reclaimed from nearby barn.

To celebrate that love of horses, the French fine art painter Jean Louis Sauvat was commissioned to embellish the modern white walls with gestural charcoal sketches of horses in motion. These fine creatures appear to be dancing through the timber beams, above diners heads in the great room. 

Read more

Status: Built
Location: Metamora, MI, US
Firm Role: Architect
Additional Credits: Tamas von Staden, Charlie Veneklase