Nature’s Way

The last light-filled days of summer are upon us. Here’s how two designers make the most of them

FURNISHINGS | inspired designers



WHO: Principal designer Julie Byrne, left, established Birmingham-based Julie Byrne Interiors in 1995 and specializes in residential interior design with a focus on kitchens, baths, full-home remodels, and custom-built new homes. With an artistic eye and a keen sense of color, Byrne offers creative, turnkey solutions and project management to exceed her clients’ expectations. “I love making each project its own — tackling it like a puzzle and carefully adding one piece at a time to get the total finished look,” she says.

DESIGNER’S GOAL: Byrne wanted to create a space, shown here, where her Bloomfield Hills clients — relocating from a downtown Birmingham residence without yard access — could enjoy all the benefits of the outdoors. “They wanted to create an extension of the house that allowed them to enjoy the view, the sounds, and the fresh air of the outdoors as many months of the year as possible, and included all the creature comforts of the indoors,” Byrne says. “As this space is located right off the kitchen, through a sliding door, it provides an additional dining/entertaining area option.”

INFORMATION: 248-933-3925,

• The layout is so important. Determine the size and placement of the fireplace and barbecue grill to maintain an unobstructed view of the backyard from inside the house.
• Pre-space planning is important. We created CAD drawings of furniture placement and gas lines for gas-powered space heaters to extend the clients’ season outdoors.
• Coordinate the outdoor furnishings with the indoor look. The loggia is an extension of the house, with sightlines starting inside.

“Mixing metals, ceramic, and woven materials creates interest and adds texture and depth to this loggia.” – Julie Byrne



Throw pillows made with Sunbrella Zeal fabric in pewter, $153/ea., RJ Thomas LTD., Michigan Design Center, Troy
Sunbrella Vesper fabric in Fog, priced with furniture, RJ Thomas LTD., Michigan Design Center, Troy

Lane Venture Requisite wicker three-seater sofa in Macchiato with Sunbrella cushions in Fog, $3,297, RJ Thomas LTD., Michigan Design Center, Troy

Copper verdigris oval dining table with arabesque base, $4,399, Arhaus, Troy and Ann Arbor Emissary Matrix ceramic garden stool in white, $369, Homework Interiors, Birmingham




WHO: Kelly Konoske, right, president of Harbor Springs-based Cottage Company Interiors and creator of Cottage by Kelly Furniture, is a graduate of Pepperdine University and holds a B.S. in business administration, as well as a master’s in business administration from Chapman University. Konoske believes she traded in her corner office for a corner in paradise when she left her Los Angeles-based position as a brand management and marketing consultant in 2013. The designer is thrilled to work and live in a place where she vacationed with her family as a youngster, and credits that experience — and her appreciation for the natural beauty that surrounds her — as the driving inspiration for her designs.

DESIGNER’S GOAL: It was imperative that a view of the natural beauty surrounding the waterfront cottage shown below, which is located in Harbor Springs and is situated along a sandy stretch of beach on Little Traverse Bay, allowed the homeowners and their guests to enjoy the best of both the indoors and outdoors. “We absolutely didn’t want to block the view in any way, shape, or form — that’s why we made sure most of the furniture heights were lower than the windows,” Konoske says. To complement the stunning views, the designer says she used a color palette inspired by the sand, sun, surf, and sky. “I like the natural materials — from jute to sisal to seagrass to wool. Using organic materials brings warmth and texture into any space.”

INFORMATION: 231-526-9000,

• Design the space so it can be comfortable for 10, but still feels intimate for two. This is accomplished through flexible furniture layouts and versatile pieces that wed functionality to beauty.
• Never over-embellish, over-stuff, over-saturate, or over-decorate.
• Keep materials and finishes low-maintenance. Using forgiving fabrics, durable material, and flexible furniture is more conducive to the lifestyle we all really want to live.

“Design should artfully mix old and new to create a feeling of beautiful, lived-in luxury.” – Kelly Konoske


White Dove paint, Benjamin Moore,
Jake stripe fabric in Azure Sea, to the trade, Perennials,
Bristol throw in cream, $230, Sferra,

Houston George dining table, to the trade, Tritter Feefer, Tucker dining chair in midnight, $198, Serena & Lily,