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Name: Andrea Rowland, husband, three children, and puppy
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Type of home: Mid-century house
Size: 3000 square feet
Years lived in: 10 months, owned
Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: Everyone has something that will stand out about the 2020 pandemic. For us, it’s this house. We purchased it sight-unseen within the first few months of the Covid lockdown here in Michigan. Craziness or boredom, she became ours. Nestled in the city on a little lake, the 1952 tri-level was a time capsule. It hadn’t been updated since it was built and featured extensive amounts of dark knotty pine and disintegrating cork flooring.
Within hours of signing papers, we were in the house slinging sledgehammers and crowbars, ready to dust off and update this mid-century beauty to fit our family’s lifestyle. To date, we’ve replaced all the flooring, removed a bathroom, renovated the kitchen, painted thousands and thousands of square feet of walls, ceilings, trim and doors. We’ve knocked down a few walls and added a few doors, as well as tried our hand at adding some non-conforming wallpaper designs.
Being that our family moves often, I find each home takes on a little bit different design style. Some of that is credited to the house. For example, our last Victorian was an ode to the past with a fair amount of modern elements, which created a fun juxtaposition of the two styles. I am always drawn to color and pattern, which could be a reflection of my extrovert personality. Detailed craftsmanship of antiques leaves me weak in the knees — perhaps my need for lasting stability?
Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Fresh, textured, functional, airy, easy
As I get older, I am more comfortable with neutrals. This house is designed with three kids and pets in mind. We started by selecting its immovable parts (floors, walls, fixtures) to have a durable, neutral base. From there, we’ve layered color and texture on top. So when the puppy ruins the rug? No biggie. The oak floors are still a great base and ready for any style rug we choose. My mother-in-law loves a panting on the wall? Take it. I’ll find another gem on Facebook marketplace. It’s that sort of fluid-design mentality.
What is your favorite room and why? The living room, for one simple reason. Natural light. The large windows open up to the yard, the lake, and nature. The space is large, mimicking the feeling of being outdoors. This room is true implementation of my style. Greige walls, neutral furniture piled with colorful art, interesting found objects, plants and — of course — throw pillows.
What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? Rifle Paper’s peacock wallpaper. One of the bathrooms features 1950s seafoam green wall tile. It’s really so pretty and true to the era of the house, but it needed added elements to make it pop. When I found their peacock wallpaper in blush, it was perfect.
Any advice for creating a home you love? This little lake house is our fifth home in the past 10 years, all of which we’ve lived in and heavily renovated. In the earlier years, I always chose form over function, meaning, “I know this chair isn’t comfortable, but its pretty silhouette justifies the discomfort.” Now, my advice would be to closely consider the function of your design choices. Because as pretty as it may be, if your open-concept island doesn’t hide your piles of Tupperware, the form and the function are lost.
This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.