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During the pandemic quarantine, a couple, then working in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, decided it was time to design a different life. Realizing they could work from anywhere, they moved their young family out of the city to western Michigan to build their dream home closer to the wife’s parents.
Their fantasy? A modern Cotswolds home that also incorporated other design influences they loved. They found a partner who shared their vision in Liz Hoekzema, whose architecture, construction, and interior studio, KLH Custom Homes, is known for creating homes that are clean but layered, modern but warm, and little bit quirky—all of which really resonated with the couple.
They collaborated on a 4,839-square foot home whose style Hoekzma describes as having "Craftsman, Shingle, and modern architectural elements." The firm balanced clean lines, as seen in the stair, with more intricate moments and even traditional influences, as seen in the kitchen and primary bath. While the dramatic two-story library was the starting point for the layout, its understated stair set the tone. "We all agreed, there would be nothing fussy, ornate, or traditional about it," Hoekzema recalls. "We applied a modern mindset to timeless design, creating a layered space they won't tire of quickly," Hoekzema explains.
Another point of pride—the home is replete with windows, which not only flood the spaces with sunlight, but invite nature inside. "They both spend a lot of time in front of screens for work," Hoekzema says. "Being able to look up, and see birds (sometimes bald eagles!) fly by is a great stress reducer."
Walnut, oak, soapstone, and marble are the predominant materials both inside and outside the house. Natural colors combine with moody, earth tones amped up by moments of brightness.
Exterior Paint: Rock Bottom by Sherwin-Williams.
Taking cues from historic details from surrounding homes, Hoekzema suggested setting a tile mosaic "welcome mat" of the house number into the entryway to greet guests. "It's a bit like an inlaid rug," she says. "We love to inject a cheeky detail here and there throughout our work."
The chimney's hand-applied lime wash treatment introduces warmth and texture into the grand double height living room. "We love the wabi-sabi informality it lends, especially compared with the richness of the soapstone fireplace surround," Hoekzema says.
Chairs and lamp: Vintage. Chandelier: Hudson Valley Lighting. Chimney finish: Portola Paints Lime Wash in Dune Shack. Side table: Anthropologie.
An asymmetric layout makes the kitchen feel more like a cool hang hang-out space than a culinary workshop. "We nixed uppers and floating shelves, instead placing the visual focus on the statement arched hood alcove," Hoekzema says. "Right from the start, we wanted a European, almost Parisian feel, with softly curved details and rich materials." KLH custom made the cabinetry on site.
Backsplash tile: TileBar. Island countertop: Paonazzo Marble from Terrazzo & Marble Supply Companies. Perimeter countertop: Caesarstone. Range: Ilve. Sconce: Visual Comfort.
This functions as "a second living room and dining room most of year," says Hoekzema, thanks to the built-in ceiling heaters, fireplace, and of course screens.
Exterior Paint: Rock Bottom by Sherwin-Williams. Table: clients' own. Chairs: vintage.
The wet bar has a utilitarian chic feel thanks to the exposed copper pipes and cross handles.
Backplash tile: Zia Tile. Countertops: Soapstone. Sconces: Etsy.
In the nursery, wallpaper—in this case, ceiling paper—with a country quilt vibe sets off an oversize pendant light while pinstriped curtains coordinate with the painted floor.
Floor paint: Benjamin Moore Vintage Vogue. Pendant light: CB2. Wallpaper: Milton & King.
"We love the handsome feel, reminiscent of a boutique hotel," Hoekzema says of the primary bath, for which she designed a textural, ridged wood vanity.
Sconces: Visual Comfort.
The two-story library, inspired by the one in Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent's last townhouse, kicked off the orientation of the plans. "It was an exciting spark, since it's usually the kitchen or living room that leads the way," Hoekzema says.
Paint: Benjamin Moore in Hale Navy. Chandelier: Etsy. Rug: Antique
House Beautiful: What were the family’s top functional needs and priorities?
Liz Hoekzeman: They wanted space to host out-of-town friends and family, and for the kids to play and grow. They also wanted an open kitchen with speakers so music could flow, whether hanging as a fam or while entertaining. In their eyes, one of the greatest luxuries of building a home was the ability to make every square foot purposeful and intentional.
HB: Did you encounter any challenges you had to solve?
LH:The land sat vacant for a long time. It’s located on the backside of a lake in the city, with established homes on either side. It was a challenge to clean it up, fit to the land for water drainage, and then make sure it aesthetically fit into the neighborhood.
The stairwell was a challenge in that modern, clean design often is more intricate to construct than something with trim, which can hide a multitude of things! Our carpenter did an amazing job plotting this out with us, and the finished result looks clean and effortless.
In the library, we had to engineer oversized curved brackets to provide support for the catwalk-style second story. They turned out lovely, in an almost industrial way.
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