Designer Debbie Filipiak wanted Mike and Lois Rupp to love what she did with their new home, nestled in the wooded hills of Holland.
So she did as little as possible -- with the windows, that is.
"Their whole lifestyle is winter-country living," Filipiak says of the Rupps, owners of Countryside Stoves. "The house is very open. The setting is so gorgeous and privacy is not an issue, so we didn't obstruct the view with a lot of window treatments."
The wonderful kitchen -- fitted with hickory cabinets, oak hardwood floors and rose and charcoal gray granite counter tops -- flows into an open dining area with floor to ceiling windows. French doors overlook a Unilock brick patio and a breathtaking view of the Holland hills.
Cream ceramic tile defines the dining space, says Filipiak, owner of the Art of Design. "We aren't competing with too many wood finishes, and we have a bit of background for the cherry table."
The carpeted great room has floor-to-ceiling windows and a loft balcony. The main room's L-shaped, chenille sofa curves around a fireplace; the loft is inviting, with chairs, ottomans and a view of the pond.
Everywhere, the home is bathed in natural light; are there tricks to avoid carpets and upholstery from fading?
"Choose lighter colors, because fading will be less obvious," Filipiak recommends. "Cotton and rayon fade faster than polyester.
"And buy good thermal pane windows with UV protective coating. This provides comfort and insulation while protecting your investment in your furnishings."
The master bedroom suite is relaxed yet beautiful, including an unobstructed view of those hills.
"There are some homes that are absolutely gorgeous, but you're scared to take your hands out of your pockets," says Filipiak, lightheartedly. "You're afraid you'll break something. This house is not like that at all."
The master bedroom furnishings are contemporary, accented with Victoriana florals and dolls. The king-sized bed, brass and pewter, is piled high with pillows.
"It's easy," Filipiak says. "You just fluff them up and throw them on."
The spacious master bath comfortably holds a Jacuzzi tub, shower, sauna and twin sinks in a Corian vanity echoing the kitchen's rose and gray granite.
And -- pay attention -- the cream ceramic floor is heated.
"Some people don't like ceramic tile because it's cold in the winter," explains Filipiak. "But you walk in here and you could melt into the floor."