Four years ago, Kelley of and her husband, Troy, were both done with grad school and ready to settle down. Grand Rapids, MI was the clear choice, as it would not only provide the inspiration Kelley needed to run her shop, but it would also allow Troy to make his mark at a local nonprofit group. “I wanted a home that had at least one special characteristic, and in this house we found a lot of gems,” Kelley says. The 1915 colonial located in the historic Heritage Hill district of the city had great bones. The stained-glass windows, tall ceilings, wood floors and a fantastic yard were what immediately bewitched the couple. It did take some work, though, to bring out the old looker’s full potential.
The process started with identifying the key areas that the two wanted to update the most. “We started with the main floor — kitchen, dining and sun room — as they were where we entertained most, it made the most visual impact.” While the overhaul was fairly drama-free, it proved to be a test of the couple’s perseverance. Over 100 hours went into sanding and refinishing the kitchen cabinets and built-ins alone. Tack on a custom daybed for the sunroom, new carpet and fireplace, and you’ve got a family with a newfound appreciation for the DIY process. All of this hard work was undertaken to achieve one simple goal: To create a space that the couple, their dog, and guests felt was beautiful, yet comfortable. “We have had numerous house guests stay with us for varying lengths — from one month to one year — in the two guest bedrooms. We love having a place where people can come short- to longterm and feel welcome… a place to really express who [we are] creatively and to share meals and experiences with friends and family.”
The construction phase was just the beginning. Then came styling and choosing paint colors. Frequently one of the most irksome of design decisions, picking a home’s hue can quickly eat up some serious time and leave you with a bothersome case of design overthink. Not for these two. Having an extensive collection of quirky accessories inspired Kelley and Troy to paint the entire home white. Leaning on their treasures’ details — and adding a personal touch through styling — provided a major boost of personality to the fresh, white base. “We have a lot of art/special pieces that we like to pop and speak for themselves,” Kelley says. A shift in the couple’s taste from “industrial and vintage to a more refined, polished look,” has created a space that’s welcoming and casual, yet refined and easy on the eyes. Look out for their gorgeous lucite bookshelf and a mixture of cultural styles, both of which make this peek one of my all-time favorites. —