House Tour: A Contemporary Michigan Farmhouse | Midwest Living

House Tour: A Contemporary Michigan Farmhouse

Spots for relaxing and chatting were all part of the plan in this new farmhouse-style vacation home in western Michigan.
  • Made for moments

    Getting into the swing of things at James Dolenc and Tom Riker’s contemporary farmhouse presents a tough choice: porch swing or rocking chair? Every other summer weekend, the Glenn, Michigan, home fills with guests. Tom (pictured) and James, partners in a Chicago interior design firm, start days on the wraparound porch surrounded by birch trees, boxwood hedges and mounds of lavender.

    Quiet mornings give way to hours on Lake Michigan a few blocks away. The rhythm of the days is all by design. “We wanted our home to be a place where both families could visit,” Tom says. “It’s one of the main reasons we built the house.” Click ahead for ways they carefully planned areas to help guests live in the moment.

  • Art of conversation

    Chats last late into the evening on a screen porch linked to the living room by double doors. The relaxed, stay-awhile style comes from revived bargain finds: wicker furniture painted black, pillows wearing grain sacks, an old factory cart converted into a coffee table and a metal watering jug made into a lamp. A focal-point burgundy potbelly stove heats the space in fall and winter when glass panes replace screens.

    Ceiling fan Hunter Fan Company. Flooring Azek Building Products. Rug Marrakesh indoor/outdoor. Ballard Designs. Stove Vermont Castings. Table Vintage, painted white. The Painted Lady. Wall color OC-17 White Dove. Benjamin Moore.

  • Front impressions

    A screen door creaks and bangs with the signature sound of an old-fashioned porch as family and friends pile into the house on Friday afternoons. Even if the black-painted fiberglass main door isn’t propped open, simple sidelights and transoms give a glimpse of the interior as if saying “come on in.” Plus, glass panes invite natural light into the foyer.

  • Planned for parties

    A welcoming warm palette of taupes and grays steers dinner parties in a relaxed direction. A twig chandelier adds rustic elegance above a farm table dressed up with side chairs in a whitewash finish. Grass-cloth wallpaper brings texture.

    Lighting Custom twig chandelier. Deanna Wish Designs. Side chairs Regency. Noir. Wallpaper Grass-cloth. Kravet. Windows Semco. Window treatment fabric Restoration Hardware.

  • Set the mood

    Family members don’t hesitate to plop on tufted ivory sofas in the living room. “We wanted the room to look structured and tailored but also comfortable and inviting,” Tom says. To achieve a balance, they outfitted traditional-style furnishings in casual linens and serene colors—neutrals with greens and blues pulled from outside. Wood panels, instead of drywall, reflect the aesthetic, as does the white-stained oak flooring. Sunlight floods the living room through skylights and clerestory windows, making the cavernous space feel simply cozy.

    Chairs Custom by JamesThomas. Fabric: Birds. Galbraith and Paul. Coffee table Colonial. Noir. Rug Heather Glenn Eclipse. Karastan. Sofas Custom by JamesThomas. Fabric: Stone Harbor linen. Kravet. Table lamps Robert Abbey Inc. Wall color OC-17 White Dove. Benjamin Moore. 

  • Easygoing entertaining

    Before meals, guests tend to gather around the 9-foot-long island in the cottage-style kitchen. Four barstools offer plenty of seating for socializing. Beaded-board cabinetry, a herringbone-pattern tile backsplash and open shelving highlight the design. “Not having everything so perfect and closed-in behind cabinets gives it casual flair,” Tom says. And guests appreciate that make-yourself-at-home vibe. “The first night people arrive, we cook for everybody,” Tom says. “The rest of the weekend, people help out with meals and know they can always grab something.”

    Backsplash Glass tile. Walker Zanger. Cabinetry Van Enk Woodcrafters LLC. Color: OC-17 White Dove. Benjamin Moore. Counters 4030 Pebble. Caesarstone. Faucet Rohl. Hardware Restoration Hardware. Lighting Ceiling fixture: Restoration Hardware. Hundi Lantern: Pottery Barn. Sconces: Troy Lighting. Range Thermador. Refrigerator Jenn-Air. Sink Kohler.

  • Storyteller

    Vintage curiosities on built-in shelves greet visitors as they step into the foyer. “I’m a big collector,” Tom says. “We display pieces from our families, gifts and found things.” Incorporating items with a history injects personality into a room—and often leads to story time.

  • Drop zone

    Beach bags, flip-flops and towels get stashed in the mudroom, where a 9-foot-long bench provides a convenient seat. A lip keeps the cushion in place. “A lot of activity happens back here, so we wanted it to be comfortable,” James says. Travertine tile stands up to foot traffic.

  • Casual gathering

    A roomy L-shape banquette with a slanted back promotes lingering, which keeps guests near the action of the adjacent kitchen and living room. “It’s great for lounging,” James says. “People come down and have a snack or check e-mail.” A custom zinc-top table brings rustic warmth to the eating area. 

    Benches Custom. Van Enk Woodcrafters LLC. Table Custom designed by Dave Lennard. 

  • Gender-neutral design

    Mixing masculine- and feminine-style furnishings, like pairing black iron with country florals and gingham, makes the room fitting for any overnight visitor.

    Bedding Ikea. Wall color 1676 Northern Air. Benjamin Moore. 

  • Planned amenities

    Each en suite bathroom has built-in shelves, drawers and clothing racks. “It’s efficient and doesn’t take up a lot of space,” Tom says.  Bath essentials are provided, so guests feel pampered.

    Cabinetry Van Enk Woodcrafters LLC. Faucet Sign of the Crab. Lighting Restoration Hardware. Sink Ladena. Kohler.

  • Discussion-worthy decor

    A growing collection of paint-by-number art from flea markets is a conversation starter—and guests love to say thank-you by adding to the group.

  • Quiet escape

    A pale palette soothes one of the three guest rooms for restful nights. The first coat of wall paint looked like “egg-yolk yellow,” so they calmed it down with a subtler shade.

    Bedding Lands’ End. Lighting Table lamp. Shades of Light. Wall color 345 Winter Sunshine. Benjamin Moore.

  • Kid-friendly hideaway

    Built-in twin beds above the garage give Tom’s niece and nephew a cleverly crafted retreat. Below-bed storage maximizes space. “We worked with our builder to design an area that would be good for families,” Tom says. “It’s one of the most fun features of the house.” Pine floors painted white look purposefully beachy; a striped rug and checkered headboards and bedding feel a little bit country.

    Bedding Eddie Bauer. Cabinetry Van Enk Woodcrafters LLC. Lighting Sconce: Visual Comfort. Vintage water-can lamp: Wiring by A Lamp and Fixture Shoppe.  Rug Ikea. Wall color OC-17 White Dove. Benjamin Moore. Window Treatment Custom by JamesThomas.

  • More resources

    Builder Lake Home Builders, 18 Park St., Saugatuck, Michigan.

    Designers James Dolenc and Tom Riker. JamesThomas.

    Landscaper Scott Menghini, Landscape Design Services Inc., 7351 W. Olive Rd., Holland, Michigan.

    Decking Azek Building Products. Lighting Barn Light Electric. Siding HardiePlank. James Hardie Building Products Inc. Color: OC-17 White Dove. Benjamin Moore. Window Double-hung style. Semco.


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