When former style editor Michelle Adams traded Manhattan for Michigan, she had to reconcile her impulse for sampling the new and the next with her desire for a timeless home.
Adams had a major beef with the original exterior of her house: "The pediment looked like an oversize nose!" Because she didn't have the budget to build a new one, she picked a charcoal paint color that would help it blend in.
An almost black hue, Farrow & Ball's Railings modernizes the exterior of the 1920s Colonial. Ribbed Mediterranean Jar planter and Duomo lanterns by Restoration Hardware.
Drop ceilings and a lack of moldings were just a couple of Adams's gripes with the living room when she bought the place. "The mantel's brick wasn't exposed, the fireplace wasn't safe to use, and there wasn't any electrical wiring for overhead lighting!" she said.
Indigo accents create a colorful thread that runs through the house, unifying the spaces. Pillows in Archive New York's metallic stripe and D. Bryant Archie's Kampala. Chrome Oval side table from Flair. Neverending Glory Palais Garnier glass pendant by Lasvit.
Even with sunny yellow walls, the dining space looked dim.
"I didn't want my dining room to feel overly formal," says Adams, "so I upholstered some ornate wood chairs in an inexpensive indigo fabric that I found on the street in Guatemala."
Nickey Kehoe's NK Double Arm pendant hangs above a 19th-century Swedish pine trestle table. Meanwhile, floral curtains in Schumacher's Pyne Hollyhock bring a pretty flourish to the clean-lined room. Fronzoni '64 chairs by Cappellini. Casement Black Tall cabinet from Crate & Barrel. Jute rug, World Market.
Cheap appliances and linoleum floors weren't doing Adams's original kitchen any favors, but it was the details that left her scratching her head. "The sink wasn't centered on the window, the walls were drywall, and the windows were unframed. Strange!"
The kitchen is outfitted with a Thermador dishwasher and range. Sink fittings by Water works. Cabinets from Home Depot. Robert Ogden pendant, John Derian Company.
Outdated brown cabinets were replaced with open shelving and subway tiles from Floor & Decor. HK pitcher by Georg Jensen.
A painting by Karyn Lyons brings fresh color to the breakfast nook. Saddle Leather chairs by Garza Marfa. Tablecloth fabric by Tensira.
Before, the closet was half its current size! "Most houses built in the 1920s didn't have massive closets like we do today, so I had to get crafty by stealing the closet from an adjacent room," Adams notes.
Adams treated herself to custom shelving by California Closets.
The master bedroom gets an urbane look thanks to dramatic ebony walls, Acacia Grass by Ralph Lauren Home, and an upholstered bed from ABC Carpet & Home. Modern Border duvet and shams by DwellStudio. Bara Cash mere throw by Madeline Weinrib. Curtains in Restoration Hardware's Belgian Textured linen.
An antique chest and an Oly chair mix with a Moroccan rug.
The quick antidote to a neon wall color that practically glows in the dark? Paint it cool, clean white.
I added mirrors to both sides of every door upstairs to brighten the space," Adams says. "It's a trick I spotted in Michele Bönan's hotels." The guest room's bohemian vibe was inspired by the Gigi Stoll photograph. Bedding by Matouk. Calico's Jamil cotton covers its Zoe ottoman and Ralph Lauren Home's Beckford lamps. Walls painted in Tibetan Jasmine by Ralph Lauren Paint.
"Green drywall, linoleum flooring, drop ceilings, improper window framing, and lack of moldings made the room feel cheap," Adams says. When the drop ceilings were removed, she found the original beadboard underneath — the perks of digging deep!
Adams discovered a rustic wood wall behind neon green and turned it into an inspiration board. Brushstroke lamp by Bek Design.
Michelle Adams in her Ann Arbor living room, inspired by architect Michele BÖnan's hotel, the J.K. Place Capri: "It's my favorite place on earth, so I wanted my home to feel that way every day."
The Miramar sofa and Lowell wingback chairs by Serena & Lily are covered in linen. Desi coffee table by Katy Skelton. Serge Mouille – style light fixture, Moderneicon. Rug, Crate & Barrel. Pom padour marble mantel from Chesney's.
This story originally appeared in the 2016 February issue of Natipernavigare.