A Photographer’s Bright Home in Michigan

updated Aug 30, 2019

A Photographer’s Bright Home in Michigan

updated Aug 30, 2019
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Square feet
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Name: Kathy Davies and James Binder
Location: Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Size: 2,000 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, owned

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They say opposites attract, and newlyweds Kathy and her husband James are the perfect example. They each have very different tastes, so when they went looking for a house two years ago, they were pleasantly surprised they agreed on a house so fast. “I love old homes and didn’t want anything cookie cutter,” Kathy confesses. This 1950s tri-level house in Michigan was a fit for them both.

“Our house needed a lot of work, but the bones were good and I had so many plans and could see a lot of potential,” says Kathy. Two years in and they’ve created a minimal and modern home that fits both of their personalities without clashing with the house’s existing architecture. A neutral color palette mixes with bright natural light from big windows that look out on to their land. “We live on a half acre lot with a ton of trees, which I have a love/hate relationship with.”

Kathy has been a wedding and portrait photographer for eight years, and she now has a bright and beautiful home to inspire her creativity for more years to come!

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: I guess I would say mid-century. I love clean lines and white walls with wood tones to warm up the space. Plants are always a good idea, too!

Inspiration: Since I’m a photographer, light inspires me! I loved my house so much because of all of the windows. I even convinced James to make the windows in our upstairs rooms bigger. We also recently ripped our carpet out upstairs and had our hardwood floors redone. This made me much more excited about the spaces upstairs and I finally felt I could finish them!

Favorite Element: Windows! Our kitchen probably hasn’t changed since the ’50s and we have hexagon white tile on the counter. Even though it’s old, I love it. It makes it unique and it’s white, so yes, I love it!

Biggest Challenge: Trying to re-do our bathroom by ourselves. James never tiled a day in his life, but he re-did our bathroom and it is AMAZING. I was in charge of designing it, which was really challenging because of the size and my extra picky taste! It is a tiny bathroom, so it was hard to get things (mirror, vanity, toilet) that would fit and that I liked. I wanted a wood vanity to warm the space up, but I didn’t want anything from Home Depot or Lowes. So I searched and searched for one, and I finally landed on a storage cabinet from West Elm. After cutting it all up — and making the legs longer — it is perfect!

What Friends Say: They love how I’ve decorated the space. Also that I can get really good finds for really good prices, as well!

Biggest Embarrassment: Our giant pool swamp outside. It’s falling apart and we have to fill it in, which will take a lot of money! We just try to not notice it haha. If it has to be inside, I guess our other two bathrooms. They are 1950s, so one is baby blue tile with a sea shell sink and toilet seat. And the other one, pink and brown are the colors that take over. I can’t wait to get my hands on those in a couple years!

Proudest DIY: Definitely the bathroom! When we moved in, it was COVERED in flowers. Not the pretty modern flowers you see on pinterest. It was covered in yellow-stained wallpaper, the floors and curtains matched, too. It also had really gaudy details inside.

Biggest Indulgence: The tile in the bathroom, but it looks soooo good. Also James wanted a black wood wall in our dining area. We got it from Stikwood, and I have to say I do love it.

Best Advice: If you own a house and it needs A LOT of work, don’t stress too much. If you plan on being there long term, you don’t have to do anything right away. Try to think of what you can do with the least amount of money that will make the biggest difference.

Dream Sources: West Elm, Estate Sales, CB2


Kitchen and living area — Simply White by Benjamin Moore.
Upstairs — Was already painted when we moved in.

Couch — Ikea
Rug — West Elm
Coffee Table — Ikea
Chair — Target
Planters — Urban Outfitters
Hanging Planter — Urban Outfitters
Credenza — Estate Sale $50
Floor Lamp — Target

Rug — West Elm
Dining Table and Chairs — West Elm
Chairs — West Elm
Wood Wall — Stikwood
Pendant — West Elm
Frame — Raw Woodworks
Photo — Justine Montigny

Eat-in Kitchen Table — Target
Chairs — Overstock
Pendant — Ikea
Table Runner and planter — Anthropologie
Rug — Target
Kitchen — Fruit Basket
Utensil Holder — Target
Rug — target
Marble Board — Target

Marble Table — Target
Hanging plant — Stem & Stone
Fish Bowl — West Elm
Cabinet — Old Ikea- DIYed
Pillow — Target
Basket — Target
Blanket — Crate and Barrel
Bedding — Ikea
Side Tables — Target

Bedding — Ikea
Sunburst Mirror — Estate Sale
Dresser — Target (I painted it)
Side Tables — Target
Lamp — Homegoods
Macrame — Urban Outfitters
Chair — Ikea
Pillow — Target
Curtains — Ikea
Planter — Target

White Shelf — Estate Sale
Desk — Saw Horses Ikea, Glass from Henderson Glass
Shelf — Ikea
Hanging lamp — Target
Mirror — Ikea
Rug — Target
Planters- – Target
Wicker Side Table — Ikea

Wall Tile and Floor tile — Virginia Tile
Mirror — Target
Sink — Ikea
Vanity — West Elm
Faucet — Home Depot
Sconce — West Elm
Towel bar — CB2
Toilet Paper holder — Cb2

Thanks, Kathy and James!

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