Monday, November 27, 2017

Mountain Lodge minus the mountain :)

 It's the end of November and glancing back at my previous entry, the last time I had blogged was the beginning of July. 
So much has happened since then that it overwhelmed me to even think about updating on here and truth be told, I am still processing a lot of it. 

My baby sister, Holly died on July 21. She took a turn for the worse exactly one week before and declined so rapidly that my whole extended family (cousins, aunts, uncles and parents) moved in with her to say our repetitive "good-byes" and "I love you's". That week was the hardest of my life and will go down as the most meaningful and treasured. 
I think of her every day and can hear her laughter and cling to her faith on the days when sadness closes in. 

 Exactly a month after Holly succumbed to her battle with breast cancer, my oldest sister Cherie, was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. (Far left in the pic below). This picture was taken at Holly's Celebration of Life before we knew Cherie's journey ahead. 
 She is in the middle of four rounds of chemotherapy and is starting to lose her hair this week. As much as I have expressed how much I love my job and the opportunity to use my gifts, in light of these past six months, I have been doing a little bit of hiding. 

I think I'm done hiding now. I have always been honest with my community of friends and clients and I am not about to stop now. 
After going through and physically touching every single one of Holly's worldly possessions in order to get her house ready to sell, I started to feel like King Solomon in the Bible, where he wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes that everything is meaningless under the sun. 
These tangible 'things' that she owned held little meaning for any of us-it was the memories of her voice, her spirit, her determination that will live on long after she's gone. 
I guess it helped fuel the fire of minimalism in me. I've always been an extremist and this latest mindset for me is no different. None of the 'THINGS' in my life are bringing me meaning. This is reassuring and at the same time, alarming when I think about sustaining passion for interior design and all that accompanies that. 

I think what it boils down to is that I want my passions and values to line up with my career and the way I spend the majority of my day/days. 
That being said, I still love people and find great joy in communicating ways for people to live more freely, ,more beautifully and more fully. 
This gig may look a bit different in the future and I am so glad that with the help of my marketing friend Jeff years ago, I named my business "Room For Change". This title describes where I am in life right now. There's always room for change. I'm not sure what that looks like right now, but I am eager to explore some different ways to take my business (and my life) to the next level. 

Thank you for being patient with me these past few months and going forward into 2018. I am allowing myself some margin in my life to breathe and maybe even grieve if I need to. 

Please know that while Ken and I have scaled back on some custom orders, I am still booking clients for home consults. I have been involved in some really rewarding projects this past year and am so grateful for the clients/friends that God put in my path to walk with me through these last months. 

One of my greatest blessings this past year is being asked to work with Randy Bouwkamp and the staff at Bouwkamp Builders. I cannot overstate how amazing these people are-not only in quality construction but in quality of character. 
Below are some pics I snapped while walking through the "contractor's open house" a few weeks ago on my first Bouwkamp house-built for a young dentist and his family of 6 in Fennville. He was after a rustic feel and one with lots of stained wood. I had to talk him out of 'oak trim' but we compromised by using knotty alder for the kitchen cabinets and worked our way out from there. It was a challenging project for me in the sense that I'm not usually drawn to a darker, earthy aesthetic but I am so grateful that not every house I help design has Revere Pewter walls with white cabinets and white subway tile. :)

I am in middle of another Bouwkamp project that will have lots of white, light airy decor-a really cool twist on a downtown historic home that we are calling "industrial farmhouse in the city".  These have been so fun for me because they are each so different. I'll post pics of those after the first of the year. 

 If your house is in need of some interior editing or updating or if you'd like to talk about de-cluttering or using what you have in your own design arsinal, don't hesitate to book a consult. Thanks for allowing me to share my heart. Stay posted for more updates on some design trends I'm seeing for 2018 and perhaps even posts on my manic minimalism. Hope you all are feeling rested and healthy heading into this holiday season. 
See you back here soon. 



Monday, July 10, 2017

Mid-Century Addition

Oh my word! It's been far too long! I haven't blogged since March! So much has happened since then. 

I have slowly adjusted to life without junking and now am aspiring to become minimalist! I have been listening to "The Minimalists" podcasts religiously and have been so inspired to travel light! I turned 49 yesterday and spent the early part of my birthday with my sister who is slowly dying from breast cancer. If you need a wake up call about areas in your life where you are feeling unfulfilled, spend some time with someone who is dying. My prayer is that her persistent faith persists in me long after she is gone. To steal a phrase from another author I have read, it has been "brutiful"-both brutal and beautiful. Holly was interviewed yesterday in church in front of the congregation and she talked about how surreal and odd it is to be dying among the living. I can't imagine the dichotomy. Painful. 
A part of my heart has been pulling away ever so slightly from her-perhaps to make the good-bye a little less painful, but I know this is me in self-protection mode. I know my soul at it's bravest, needs to enter in to all of the things. All of the hurt, the pain, the words that need to be said, the good-bye. Telling my brain that it will all be okay, hasn't managed to register yet. 

I didn't intend to put that all out there, but if Holly has taught me anything, it is that we can be honest about the difficult things and be okay with not being okay for a while.

Having freed up my schedule by no longer renting junking space at Not So Shabby, I have been able to focus more intently on helping clients create new spaces in their homes to play, live, entertain and rest. 

This was such a fun project that I was asked to help navigate. It was a mid-century modern addition that my friends and neighbors completed last month. The incredible Bouwkamp Builders Team did an exceptional job bringing Jeff and Rebecca's (he's really "Perk-Daddy" and she's "Beckles" to me, but I digress), dream to life. The front of their historic home is clad in Veneklaasen brick and leans toward an old world/shaker style. They wanted this new wing to be sleek, sophisticated and feel NOTHING like the front of the existing home and I'm pretty sure we achieved that. 

We were invited to an open house a few weekends ago, and I am not exaggerating to say that it felt like we were at an all-inclusive resort. It may have the been the bartender they hired for the evening and the unlimited food that was catered, and the state-of-the-art sound system, but the surroundings made it feel like we had left Z-town and were far from home-truly a resort destination without having to leave their own backyard-which is what they were going for. (I couldn't resist snapping some pics while it was all shiny new, so I apologize that the lighting wasn't the greatest at that time of the evening). 

I was so proud to be asked to help with this one, and LOVED working with these two-who by the way, got along with each other the entire time! I don't think I heard them squabble or disagree once! (And no judgement if they did, these projects are stressful!)
Jeff had such an amazing vision for the details in this wing, and I was really along for the confirmation or sometimes redirection. The best compliment I got that night of the open house was a friend of a friend that was there said, "I didn't know you could rock this style too"! (Most people think I prefer cottage or urban rustic styles), but the minimalist in me loves this simple, clean vibe. Jeff and Rebecca were so organized and loved to research (NOT my gift) so it made this process so enjoyable and truly a reflection of their posh style. We worked together with all the selections and the added benefit is that I'm their neighbor, so I get to reap the benefits of our efforts. :)
Please enjoy these pics and I promise I won't take so long to post again. Hope this finds you well and that you are enjoying this beautiful Michigan summer!