Client Reveal: Michigan Modern White & Gray Kitchen

I love Wednesday! Making it to the middle of the week feels like an accomplishment. In case you missed it last week, I shared the family room of this home. Today I'm excited to share the kitchen and dining room, after taking a poll of what room you'd like to see next on my instagram. (Thanks for voting!)

The kitchen, dining room and living room are all open to each other with no dividing walls. We kept the whole space one color so it felt cohesive and made it feel even larger. Collingwood by BM is one of my favorite grieges these days. It goes great with beiges, grays, and any accent colors. One of the reasons I love it is because it gives warmth, depth and makes your trim pop, but also makes the room feel light airy. 

Probably my favorite element in the whole room is this gorgeous custom table we had made by my friends at Haven Creek in Rockford, MI. Everything they create is stunning and so well made! When I can support local businesses like this, I always do my best to do it. This orb chandelier makes the perfect statement and ties in our matte black hardware throughout the house. 

 rug-- on sale now

I just love how their kitchen turned out! The gray island gives the kitchen the perfect amount of contrast and the gorgeous quartz countertops make it feel so sleek and clean. To warm it up a little, we did some open shelves (stained the same as the shelves in the family room) for displaying serving pieces and accessories. We brought the warm tones from the wood shelves into the window coverings (gorgeous custom roller shades) to continue to unify the space. 

Using the same subway tile, we set it in a herringbone pattern behind the range and I love the subtle yet effective design element in brought to the room. 

If you are wanting to cover a window in your home and get the look of a roman shade, but don't want the larger stack of fabric sitting at the top of your window when the shade is drawn up, roller shades are a great option! When rolled up they sit in the cassette at the top, which is only about 3-4" high, so you still have your view out the window. I get all my shades from The Blind Spot of West Michigan and love working with them. 

I love when sinks face out towards the room. It just seems to work so well for gatherings-- if people are over and you're doing dishes, your back isn't toward them and you're still able to continue conversation. And don't even get me started on this huge farmhouse sink! That's on my dream home wishlist ;)

Steve Visser Builder  / Flowers / Table / Window Treatments

What's your favorite part of the room? Thanks for scrolling through! I hope these room reveals provide inspiration for you in your design adventures.

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8 Steps to a Luxurious At Home Facial

I don't know about you, but I LOVE treating myself to a facial. Being pampered is always fun and my favorite form of self-care ;) I try to get professional facials every quarter, if budget allows, but in the in between, I have developed a little at-home process that is also really great. I thought I'd share it with you as we enter a new season here (hopefully soon, ha!) So I'm coming to you live in my favorite new pajama's (similar sweatshirt I almost got) and no we go:
1. Cleanse: for this step, I encourage you to use a cleansing butter or balm first. One that is super hydrating and removes makeup from your skin at the same time. I use about a dime size of this Cleansing Balm and massage it all over my face (also comes in a travel size). 

 After learning some massage techniques on YouTube and from estheticians, I learned you should be using your entire hand for massaging your face, not just your fingertips. It's important to get the blood flowing and massage muscles in your face and jaw that you don't even know you have ;) So that's what you see me doing here-- the Cleansing Balm is all over my hands and I'm massaging it into my skin upward, towards my cheek bones and ears, to promote tighter skin.

After this first cleanse, I follow with a Charcoal Bar to remove any impurities. 

2. Exfoliate: this is a quick step I sometimes do and sometimes don't, depending on if I think my skin needs extra exfoliation. I use this one and gently massage it on my skin, then wash off with warm water.
3. Steam / Heat: if you have access to steam machine or even a humidifier, that is awesome! When I was sick two weeks ago, my Dr. told me to turn on my humidifier and put a sheet over it to sit under and left the steam really get into my skin (for my congestion) but I love this idea for a facial, too! If you don't have one, get a couple towels really warm and lay them over your face, pressing the warmth and steam into your pores. Let them sit for a few minutes. If you want an added element of luxury, put a couple drops of essential oils on the towels before you run them under hot water. The smell will be so lovely! If your skin is extra dry, you can actually apply more of the Cleansing Balm before this step so the steam will press the hydrating oils into your skin.
4. Mask: there are lots of awesome mask options out there, but my favorite is this charcoal mask. My goal during a facial is usually to draw out impurities and hydrate it, so the mask does the first part and everything after this step does the latter. I leave it on for 10 minutes (or until dry) then wash off with warm water and pat dry with a warm wash cloth. You could even do this step while you take a bubble bath to further promote relaxation ;)

5. Peel / Serum: this is the point in a professional facial where they would usually apply a chemical peel. Since you're at home and probably don't have access to this, I'll give you a couple options that are similar! I have tried the m-66 peel and I thought I loved it the first day after, but then I broke out pretty severely the next day and the blemishes took almost a week to go away. It was covering my face and neck, so that didn't work for me. I have friends who swear by this peel though. 
I've heard amazing things about Drunk Elephant's baby facial. I don't think it's 100% safe/non-toxic, but I know the company does hold those things as important to them, so it is a better option than a lot of things! Another good one is Goop by Juice Beauty's Instant Facial.
Currently I use Beautycounter's Resurfacing Overnight Peel. It has 15 botanically derived acids and is made to clear away dead skin cells and smooth the skin while giving you a more even skin tone. It also clears up acne, which is an amazing added benefit!
Just to note, peels don't typically actually make your skin peel. If you get a very strong professional peel done, then yes, that might happen. But these I mentioned shouldn't peel your skin. If you use them too often, it might get dry and start peeling, but these are meant to be used as directed on the package. I use the resurfacing peel 1-2 times a week in the winter and 3 / week in the summer.
A serum is meant to be applied after cleansing on a regular basis, not just during a facial. This is the one I recommend because of it's hydrating properties. It contains Vitamin C, which is one of the most important things for our skin to drink up, and helps even skin tone and lessen the appearance of wrinkles.
6. Oil: this is the game-changing step in my skincare routine! Face oils are so luxurious and help hydrate and brighten your skin. I apply this one every day, but do a couple extra drops if I'm doing an at-home facial for added luxury and results ;) 

7. Moisturizer: Obviously the finishing step to any skin care routine, moisturizing is super important. It locks in every previous step! This is my favorite moisturizer for night time (which is usually when I do facials). Hyaluronic Acid is one of the main ingredients and is one of the most effective hydrating ingredients, delivering moisture without clogging pores. It also contains plum oil, which is rich in Omega 6 & 9 and Vitamin E. If you're doing this in the AM and plan on going outside, don't forget about sunscreen! In the summer I use this tinted moisturizer with SPF 20. It also contains vitamin C so it's working for you while you're protecting your skin from the sun.
8. Eye cream: don't forget the eye area, ladies!! This is where a lot of our first wrinkles appear. If you're wanting more of an anti-aging cream, this is for you. If you're not quite there yet but want to still hydrate your eye area to prevent dryness and fine lines, this is the one I use!

 I use my ring fingers to tap in the eye cream since they're your most delicate finger.

Those are all the steps I take to a fun at-home facial. Do you have any favorite masks or other facial products?!
Happy pampering!!
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Favorite Editing Apps for Photos & Instagram

Ah, instagram. Everyone's favorite (well, maybe it's a love-hate relationship) form of social media! I think it's so fun to be able to share pictures like this. Especially for people and family across the country-- it's a great way to stay in touch, up to date, and honestly, it's been a great tool to market my business. Sometimes I get questions about how I edit my photos, so I thought I'd share some of my favorite editing apps for photos. Hopefully they're helpful!

I always recommend taking photos in bright, well-lit spaces when possible. This makes getting like-worthy photos that much easier and any filters or editing techniques you apply will look clean and beautiful. I also suggest you always take photos with your phone camera and not from within an app. For some reason, the app cameras distort it. A few of my favorite apps are Afterlight, VSCO, Lightroom and A Color Story. Here is the skinny on each:

Afterlight: Think of this as photoshop on your phone. You can adjust exposure, brightness, clarity, contrast, temperature and more. Here's an example of a photo edited with Afterlight. 


AFTER: You can see it's taken in the shade, on a bright sunny day, so the lighting is ideal. To make it really pop, though, I did a few things in Afterlight, like up the brightness, sharpen, increase the saturation and contrast.

VSCO: I love VSCO because of the clean photo filters they offer. I recommend HB1, HB2, A6, & C1, 2 and 3. Always adjust the opacity on any filter you add and remember that true-to-life color always stands the test of time. You adjust the filter by double-tapping it then sliding down the bar to achieve a less-filtered photo.

Here's an example of a photo edited with VSCO. BEFORE:

AFTER: Adjusted the brightness, contrast, sharpness and applied filter A6 at level 4 opacity. Finally, we adjusted the temperature to a bit more of a blue hue, because the picture had inherently yellow tones due to the flower color.

A Color Story: This app is all about color, as the name suggests! A Color Story has all the editing tools for adjusting brightness, contrast and sharpness, as well as MANY fun filters (my favorites are the pack created by Glitter Guide called Flashes of Delight) and lots of flares, bokehs, and other effects. This app is probably the most "overwhelming" of all, because there are a lot of options.

Here's an example of a photo edited with A Color Story. BEFORE:

AFTER: brighter and more saturated.

also want to show you how cropping your image more closely can create more interesting and vibrant pictures. Removing some negative space and cropping it closer, draws you further into the petals of the flowers and cuts out some of the darker background:

Lightroom: My latest photo-editing obsession is Lightroom because of the presets I just downloaded. I saw everyone posting about Monika Hibbs presets and loved how they looked, so I caved and I'm SO GLAD I did! They're so clean and make your photos bright and airy, without blowing them out. I rarely have to adjust anything else after applying her presets. You can find them here. I just got the pack for the Lightroom PHONE app, but she has them for phone and desktop. Once you purchase them, it emails you instructions on how to  download and use them. 

BEFORE: it's important to note the lights are turned off here so I got even natural light. If I had taken it with lights on, when I applied the filter in lightroom it would have blown out certain parts of the photo (overexposed) and made certain parts where the lights hit feel extra yellow.

AFTER: I used the "cream" filter on this to pull out the greens a little more than the others would have. I didn't adjust anything else!

Our Editing Tips:
I almost always increase our brightness and contrast when edited in any app (unless the preset does it for you!) I also like to slightly bump the clarity and sharpness. If our photo is too yellow or too blue, we also adjust the temperature for the perfect color. Doing these things reduces the need for photo filters and achieves a bright and airy style. 

The biggest thing, though, is to find your style and be consistent with it. I try to edit my photos very similarly so that it helps create a cohesiveness with my brand. Just like I wouldn't share a photo of a mid-century-modern interior style (because it doesn't reflect my style) I'm also not going to share a super dark, poorly lit, or highly contrasted image. You need to find YOUR personal style and work on developing the editing that reflects that in your favorite app. Most apps have the ability to save your previous adjustments so you can apply the same adjustments to each photo with just one click. It helps speed up the process!

I hope these tips and before & afters were helpful. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!


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Client Reveal: Cozy, Textured, & Bright Michigan Family Room

Hi friends! I'm back in town and back in the office and it feels good. I'm excited to get back into a blogging a bit more, after being away for two weeks. I've been looking forward to showing you the reveal of a client's house for a few months now. This house was finished back in October and was featured in the Parade of Homes here in Grand Rapids, MI. It was such an honor to get to design and work on this house with my clients!

Today we're starting in the family room, but first I'm showing you how cute the front door and wreath are, because I can't help it! Hope you enjoy the tour...

 (You can use the code MICHAELANOELLE for 10% off any order on your next wreath!)

The great room opens up to the dining area and kitchen, which I'll show you another time. This family room feels nice and airy with help from the light wall color, tall ceilings with shiplap inlay, and the big windows with white curtains (and these roller shades have my heart!). The continuous hardwood floor throughout also helps the space feel open and large. 

We did a beautiful stone fireplace and hung the TV above the mantel so we could get symmetrical builtins and floating shelves on either side of the fireplace. The cabinets are amazing storage for this family with 2 young children and all the decor on the shelves is up high so they can't get to it ;)

I kept the decor on the shelves neutral and pretty simple, pulling in tones from the rest of the house.

While the decor on either sides are different from each other, they are still balanced, which is the most important thing when accessorizing your shelves! You can get a tutorial on how I do that HERE. On this side, we did a lantern, some brass candlesticks, a couple vases with wood beads on one, books, some greenery and the cutest "home" sign from Feather & Birch. I adore them!! (sorry most of these items aren't available online!)

The one item I did on both sides was this whitewashed metal square piece, so that there was some continuity. The other repeated elements were the blue color in both vases and greenery.
 It was fall, so we added a gold pumpkin ;)

Pretty blooms by my friend Melissa Anne Floral Co.

Tray / coasters (similar)

Here is the view standing in the family room facing the front door. I'll show you more of the entry another time!

Here's the view from dining room looking into the family room:

Steve Visser Builder / Wall Color: Collingwood BM / Flowers:  Melissa Anne Floral Co. 

I actually learned how to take these interior photos myself. I was pretty proud of how they turned out, considering this was my first real try. I think as a designer, it's a great skill to have to be able to capture your own work!

Hope you enjoyed the tour of this pretty West Michigan family room. It was fun to combine some modern farmhouse touches with a couple more traditional elements as well.


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