A couple of years ago, I pondered how I might alter my teaching time to make space for another passion–interior design. I considered the possibility of design school, even submitting my information to a couple of them, and I dreamed ahead to a time when my then boyfriend (now husband) Matt and I might be able to fix up a house of our own. I just knew that in some way, I needed room for more design in my life.

Almost as soon as I had internally proclaimed my decision to pursue interior design in some capacity, opportunities started to present themselves.

The first major invitation came thanks to connections of Matt’s. Matt is a full time musician, but to supplement the creative lifestyle, he picked up a house for dirt, dirt cheap (when the housing market crashed) and turned it into a rental property. That further connected him to a house-flipping friend of ours who would soon invite him into another investment opportunity.

The guys won a fixer upper at an auction, and I went to see it. The moment I entered the house, my mind overflowed with renovation ideas. In my excitement, I rambled the ideas out loud. Little did I know, the project lead was listening to me and crafting ideas of his own…

He asked if he could hire me to complete the design plans for the Aster project in Holland, Michigan.

I said yes!

That was nearly two years ago today. Since then, Matt and I have renovated our own multifamily home in Grand Rapids, Michigan–including our own unit and a rental unit. But our projects have slowed down, and I’m hungry for more design! So, this year, I am focusing on enhancing my skills in order to land more professional opportunities. I’m working with new software, defining my brand, and researching various pathways to becoming an online interior designer.

And If I’m being completely honest, it feels a little funny to transition from “hobbyist” to “interior designer.” How does one officially earn the “designer” title? Sure, I have some experience, but my professional portfolio is only budding…so to officially call myself an interior designer at this point just feels a bit odd. But in the end, I suppose it matters most what I can do and not so much what I am called, right?

And here’s something I can do: I can turn the dimensions of a demolished house into a cohesive home design, while adhering to budget parameters and molding my vision to fit the goal of the project (i.e. being accessible to a broad market of family buyers, appealing to young tenants in the city…).

So, here’s Aster–the first professional home design project I landed two years ago. (Just do me a favor and pretend the carpet is gray, promise? Another thing I’m learning is how to let go when my plans get squashed to benefit the budget πŸ˜†)


This is how the home looked when I checked it out during demo (and accidentally landed the design role!)



Staging of the home in preparation to sell was fulfilled by Wendy Stephens.

My ultimate goal was to complete a family home design that would appeal to the average buyer. My head ran wild with midcentury modern ideas (my default inspiration), but sticking to said goal was a healthy challenge.








I loved the original detailing of the coved ceiling moulding! We passed on leaving the beam here exposed, and I was happy with the final product. That contrast and those decorative corners!







At first I was torn about white-washing this fireplace since the original brick was in such great shape, but as the design was coming to life, I knew it had to be done!









Gray carpet, remember? πŸ˜†













The Aster Project. Just the beginning!

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