Gray's Home: Lake Michigan Renovation, the ‘Home Stretch’…


5 years ago

Hi Everyone,

Our Lake Michigan house renovation project, aka “Rainbow Ridge Reno,” is finally in the home stretch and I am thrilled to give you an update with all of the latest interior details. As an interior design junkie, I’m pretty confident this is the sneak peek you all have been waiting for before the big ta-da!

But first, for anyone who’s just now getting in on the story, Jeff and I, along with our talented interior designer, Kate Lester, and many other behind the scenes hands, have been renovating a 104-year-old house along the shores of Lake Michigan. To catch up, I highly recommend the following posts:

Introducing Our Lake Michigan Fixer Upper

This post is the true introduction to the house itself and the special connection we have to the area where it’s located in Michigan. Here you will get all of the facts like square footage, personal anecdotes, and ‘before’ photographs documenting the original house and our plans for remodeling the existing structure.

Lake Michigan Renovation, Phase II

When I wrote this post, we were well on our way into the renovation process and I wanted to share an inside look at the progress. If you’re thinking about beginning a renovation project, this post will certainly offer some insights on what to expect and how to maneuver the inevitable speed bumps.

Interior Decorating for the Lake Michigan Project

This post is all about our interior decor decisions for the house and gives you all the chance to meet our designer extraordinaire, Kate Lester, as she narrates a big portion of the post.

And now, I give you all the latest!


Before you start putting in all the moveable pieces such as furniture and artwork, you must first make longer-lasting decisions such as light fixtures, wood finishes, wallpaper, paint colors, tile selections, cabinetry hardware, and all the “hard” fixtures that make the shell of the home special and unique. To start, I want to show the two rooms that have experienced the most progress with hard fixtures. Then in no particular order, I’ll run through all the latest design updates that are too good not to share as we approach the finish line.

The Living Room

As its name infers, the living room is a part of the house that we intend on spending a lot of time in, both entertaining guests and enjoying quiet evenings with the family. With that being said, the room was a huge focus for us and quite a bit of change has happened thus far. I mean, just look at how far we’ve come from the original living room to our new one (which are both located in the same spot):

The newly installed skylight windows bring a whole new level of natural light to the room. Then with the custom designed waterfall fireplace as a focal point, the shelves and television inlet are ready to be filled with the final wave of decor (we will have a piece of art on the mantle so the TV will actually be hidden!). I am especially fond of the shiplap detail that runs up the fireplace and across the ceiling to help draw your eyes higher and make the room feel larger. Another impressive detail is the custom wood drawers that help balance the mantle detail across the room. You can also see our dining room chandelier from Circa Lighting which will hang just behind the living room in the open floor plan.

The Kitchen

It’s always a tie between which room is more popular - the kitchen or the living room. Luckily for us, we planned for an open floor plan, and I’m happy to report that these two rooms are interconnected. For me, this was a huge part of the original redesign of the home— we want to have our family together in the common areas. Below, you can see me standing on the deck of the original house holding a pot and pan. This is now the very spot of our new kitchen, specifically where our kitchen island is located! You can also see Jeff and I mid-construction looking out the new kitchen window where our sink is now located.

The design transition from one room to the next feels effortless. When moving from the living room into the kitchen you’ll note that we carried over more of the grey and white tones, which is evident in the custom wet bar located between the two.

The Starburst tile by Fireclay provides the perfect design moment, as well as the satin brass hardware from Emtek, which is also seen in the kitchen. The best part about the bar though is the deep pullout drawers, which will help keep the countertop decluttered with barware and spirits.

In lieu of traditional upper cabinets flanking the kitchen windows, we opted for open shelving and added vintage-inspired sconces by Restoration Hardware.

A custom-designed plaster hood featuring aZephyr range hood insertanchors the windowand feels bright and fresh, especially with the center island base providing a pop ofnavy and thetwo large pendant light fixtures from Circa hanging overhead.

Major progress, right? I can’t wait to add all of the furniture and decorative accessories in each room!. Now, let’s go through some of the other exciting updates.


The Sunroom

For the addition of our sunroom, I really wanted to let all of the natural light speak for itself, thus went with a lovely soft sage green paint called Cromarty from Farrow & Ball.

The Nursery

Thiswallpaper by Farrow & Ball is absolutely beautiful and conjures feelings of the English countryside and thedome-shaped light fixture with beaded accents really adds that extra touch of romance too.

The Master Bedroom & Bathroom

If you were to go all the way back to my very first post about this renovation project, you’d learn that the kitchen has now become our master bedroom. We included the same white shiplap from the living room in the master, which I think gives our bedroom a very bright and airy feeling, as well as makes the room feel ample in size.

As for the master bath, you’ll need to wait a little longer for all of the details, but I can tell you now to expect to see brass mirrors hung from the ceiling, as well as Fireclay tile for both the shower and bathroom floor, which is a personal favorite, as it’s both modern and timeless... not to mention pairs perfectly with thedove matte tile walls.

Let’s head downstairs...


The Laundry Room

Just downstairs, our laundry room is sleekly hidden behind custom sliding doors, and I was especially happy to incorporate my Gray Malin wallpaper, The Sunbathers, in this small but very important room to add some humor and whimsy.

1 of 2 Guest Bedrooms

If you reference the last post, which focused on interior decorating decisions, you’ll be able to get a better idea on how this room is going to come together, once the artwork is installed. For now, though, I couldn’t be happier with the feather wallpaper in denim by Serena & Lily.

2 of 2 Guest Bedrooms & Sneak Peek of Bathroom

For this guest bedroom, we went with a really lovely and somewhat bold shade of paint called Churlish Green. I especially love how it plays against the floor and wall tiles from Bedrosians.

So…. what do you think? I actually have more to share, but I must hold some things back because it’s all just too good to reveal all at once. I can, however, let you know to be sure to follow along on my personal Instagram account @graymalinpersonal as I am at the house right now! Yes, as in today, Wednesday, May 1st. I’ll be here through the weekend working on all the final details with Kate and photographing it all for a full reveal that I will post next month. In the meantime, tune in for special sneak peeks with me and Kate @klinteriors – I can’t wait for the big reveal!