Pure Michigan-Inspired

Whether designing vacation-home retreats or a main home, these three designers often like to fashion spaces with flooring, bedding, furnishings, and wall-color selections that echo our great outdoors.

Whether designing vacation-home retreats or a main home, these three designers often like to fashion spaces with flooring, bedding, furnishings, and wall-color selections that echo our great outdoors.

Who: Kathleen McGovern of Kathleen McGovern Studio of Interior Design, Grosse Pointe Park

Michigan backdrop: “I was lucky enough to spend summers at my parents’ hunting and fishing camp in the Upper Peninsula. It was a small cabin, built by my father, and could only be reached by a half-mile, sandy two-track [As a result], all things [evocative] of the woods have a special appeal to me.”

Favorite elements: Trees, Sand, Driftwood


Lloyd Flanders Wicker with Driftwood Finish

“I like this finish for wicker pieces when there are natural stone elements, too. It’s perfect where sandy feet and wet bathing suits are de rigueur. And Lloyd Flanders is right here in Menominee.”

Old-growth walnut cocktail table by Traverse City craftsman Justin Selby

“I like that craftsmen are salvaging fallen, old-growth trees and creating beautiful and useful pieces of furniture. The 100-year-old history [of this wood can be traced by the knots, flecks, and shapeof the live edge. The addition of the shelf storage baskets makes it useful, too.”

Hickory White Furniture cocktail table by Lillian August

“The distressed finish has ‘cottage or cabin’ written all over it. I incorporated it into a family room that overlooks the beach. Its large, 40-by-60-inch size has been the setting for many sunset suppers and super-size jigsaw puzzles.”


Driftwood-finish media cabinet by Michigan artist Paul Rochon “This was designed for a master bedroom in a beach house,” says McGovern. “The finish’s inspiration was the home’s sandy steps. The door style is reminiscent of shutters, and the finish we call ‘driftwood.’ ”

Who: Barbi Krass of Colorworks Studio, Birmingham

Michigan backdrop: “We’ve spent many summer vacations in Glen Arbor, where we owned a condo, as well as in Bay Harbor, Petoskey, and Charlevoix. The sandy but rocky shores of Lake Michigan — and Grand Traverse Bay — were places where our family walked the beach and searched for Petoskey stones, fossils, and, of course, buried treasure.”

Favorite elements: Stone, Sand, Water, Dune grass


Fabrica Carpets’ Nibbana style in Alpine

“The Nibbana style is deeply grooved and full of rich texture; in the Alpine color, it feels like a great expanse of rich grass and foliage.”

Sherwin-Williams Paint Colors Inspired by Nature

“In the blue family, Quietude (SW6212), Rainwashed (SW6211), or the lighter and brighter Tidewater (SW6477) are great colors for cottage bedrooms. Or, try Antiquity (SW6402) or Independent Gold (SW6401), which are great outdoorsy greens. Alabaster (SW7008) as a trim color complements these tones well.” In these spaces, Krass would use brushed-nickel accents.

Realstone Systems in Troy

“The stone comes in sheet sizes and is installed without grout. It’s great for outdoor fireplaces and facades for outdoor kitchens. There are lots of stone finishes and sizes available.”

Photo courtesy of Island Stone

Pebble tile from Island Stone, and textured tile, called Geotech, from FloorGres, both distributed through Beaver Tile andStone (Troy). “We used pebbled walls in a bath remodel,” says Krass. “The client wanted a sandy and serene ambience, with textured tile and the feel of driftwood.”

Who: Donna Dettore of Dettore Design Group, Birmingham

Michigan backdrop: “For a time, I lived in Traverse City; I crave those picturesque views of the bay and Lake Michigan. The water is ever-changing in color and movement. When the wind brushes dune grass, it gives you that whimsical summertime feel. Dune-grass green jumps out at me; it’s fresh, clean.”

Favorite elements: Dune grass, Birch trees


Conrad Shades’ Weave No. 1762, Wintersea

“Love, love, love this window shade company for its superior materials — true natural fibers.”

 Miami Fabrics’ Bayshore design in “Moss,” from Designers Guild

“The broad stripe commands attention! Moss-green is fresh.”

Photograph by Scott Sprague
Mobel Link’s Ipana chair by Alan Kaniarz

“This Detroit company turns out chairs that draw me to their simplicity in design. A clean, innovative line features a single piece of Baltic birch plywood, and it’s a great color that reminds me of the grasses along Sleeping Bear Dunes.”

The new Firenze Blush Conch fabric, by Mary McDonald through Schumacher

“This linen/nylon fabric’s color palette seems reminiscent of birch tree bark, and is a modern twist to the classic chevron pattern,” Dettore says. It’s perfect for draperies, upholstery, and decorative accents. Adds McDonald: “I love that Italian marble papers have an intrinsic organic quality. The patterns that emerge mimic the nature of water.”


Wildcat Territory’s “Bianca” bed linens “These are crisp, clean, and perfect for breezy summer evenings,” Dettore says. Adds Wildcat Territory president and designer Nancy Reib: ”They’re both casual and relaxed, and as for the grass-green color, it’s fresh, cheerful, and inviting.”