The Experimental Residence

Designing a home for work and relaxation isn’t easy, especially for a pair of entrepreneurs overseeing a fast-growing textile business.
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The Rubin house, designed by Birmingham architect Michael Poris, appears from the street to be a single-story ranch home, but tucked underneath are guest bedrooms, an exercise room, storage space, and a walkout patio. Photograph by Kevin Bauman

It’s not often that a home doubles as a laboratory, but entrepreneurs Craig and Randy Rubin built a 6,500-square-foot residence in Bloomfield Township, in part, to display and test their patented line of stain-, water-, and bacteria-resistant fabrics. “Of course, there’s the standard spill of the red wine on the white sofa, which always lightens the mood at a party,” says Randy, co-founder of Crypton Inc., a textile company in West Bloomfield Township. “But we’re always testing things, even when people aren’t around.”

Product testing is the lifeblood of any consumer-related business, which, for the Rubins, means working closely with a host of name clients, including Carnival Cruise Line, The Walt Disney Co., hospitals, casinos, hotels, and dining facilities such as the Detroit Athletic Club. “We started the business literally in a basement after we got married 15 years ago,” says Craig, a former Texas textile executive. “I ran a mill and had my own business in Houston, but Randy lived here, so we decided Michigan was the most logical place for a textile business.”

Although the textile industry long ago moved overseas, drawn mostly by inexpensive labor, Craig says the couple oversees 110 employees, the majority of whom work at a textile plant in North Carolina. “We’re living proof that you can be successful in Michigan, even if the bulk of your operations are elsewhere,” he says.

While the company has averaged double-digit growth since its founding in 1993, the Rubins decided a custom home featuring some of the 20,000 fabric designs they offer would make their business and home life more efficient. Three years ago, they hired designer Michael Poris, principal and owner of McIntosh Poris Associates in Birmingham, to oversee the planning. “It’s a very complex thing to make a home simple, where you can entertain, but also live,” says Poris, who has worked for such architects as Frank O’Gehry, Cesar Pelli, and Frank Israel. “The Rubins wanted one floor to live on, and one level for entertaining, plus a great workout room and space for their children and six grandchildren.”

The couple had few requests for their contemporary home, which sits on a triangular lot overlooking a ravine. “Outside of using Crypton products like Edelman leather, suede bedclothes, and numerous fabrics (including a line of pet beds and accessories), Craig and Randy didn’t want to see any other homes from their home or backyard,” Poris says. “And they wanted a wrapping room and a Costco room, where they could store all their bulk goods. Like I said, making a complex home look simple isn’t easy.”

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