Casual Living
Informal elements create a carefree feel for your interiors. By Jeanine Matlow

Even since Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” fame made shiplap a household name, farmhouse style has become a mainstay in the casual living category. For those with a penchant for this particular aesthetic or any other rustic touches, there are plenty of ways to incorporate these features into your rooms.

Perhaps one of the most enchanting parts about the laidback look is that it makes everyone feel right at home with a warm environment that puts people at ease. Another benefit is that many of these touches are considered to be timeless.

According to Wendy Spoelhof, selections specialist at Cottage Home in Holland (, where they design and build well-appointed beach houses and cottages, there are many reasons why farmhouse style would be a good fit for those who live in these types of dwellings.  

“West Michigan is historically a farm community — especially along the lakeshore with blueberry, apple and cherry farms very prevalent,” she said. “Lake Michigan is and has been home to many cottages and summer homes for people from all over the country. Taking pieces of our history and architecture and incorporating them into a lakeshore home is very appealing and natural.”


Farmhouse-style elements that are featured in one of their kitchen projects, also located in Holland, include an apron-front farmhouse sink and an eclectic mix of storage with traditional cabinets and open shelving. Hardwood floors ground a sizable island that Spoelhof said is reminiscent of a farmhouse-style dining table, while glass canister/Mason jar-type pendant lights shine from above…

Farmhouse style isn’t the only way to achieve that lived-in feel. As Nadine Hogan, design manager for Scott Shuptrine Interiors in Petoskey ( explained, “People up here tend to like casual living. We get a mix of requests from traditional to rustic elegance.

“Here on the lake, people like coastal looks and blues are still very popular. The trend has evolved a little more toward clean lines.”

People appreciate the pillows and rugs from Magnolia Home (by Joanna Gaines), Hogan said, because they have a lot of texture. Distressed pieces also can contribute to a casual vibe, like a dining set from Hooker Furniture that looks a little like driftwood. …See the current issue for the full story.