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One Month From Move-In Day – My Brother’s River House Update You’ve Been Asking For

Every time I walk into this house I think “My God, I love this house” and hopefully by June my brother and his family will be living there and enjoying a summer by the river (with ME…OBVIOUSLY). It’s been three years and a million lessons learned (and so much to share). So today I’m going to give you a little tour of where we are as of last week, with about 80% of it done and a heavy layer of color, pattern, and texture yet to come. I’ll try to refrain from piling on every bit of detail or disclaimer that has historically come so naturally to me, and just show you around, let you see for yourself.

The Entrance And Main Living Room/Kitchen

This whole area is quite the warm minimalist dream. Wood? Check. Tons of natural light? Check. Views of the river and trees? check. Jealous sister? Check. I love our house, SO MUCH and I wouldn’t actually trade it, but BOY when I walk into this house I feel the same calm that I do at the mountain house (obviously, that was the inspiration). Yes, of course, there are a lot of neutrals, blues, and greens with us bringing in much more color and pattern in furniture and decor (don’t worry). When you are in this house the light, wood, and the view are the big moments, with all the other materials supporting that and it’s an absolute dream. You walk in and see the green of the trees and the blue of the river (fine, gray on a cloudy day) and you are enveloped in stunning wood (shout out to Stuga on both the floor and the ceiling – more to come later but we are extremely happy with it).

Wait, Doesn’t This Look A Lot Like Your Mountain House??!!

It’s very true that the original inspiration for this home was what we all loved about living in the mountain house – the streamlined ease, the sense of openness and space, and the warmth without clutter. It’s just SO EASY to live there because of how we designed it. There are a few things that were non-negotiables for us that came directly from that house – the wood on the ceiling, the wood cabinets in the kitchen (no paint chips EVER), and the number of windows facing the right direction for the best light. Yes, it’s neutral which I fully recognize is not what is as popular right now (which is wonderful – it’s ALL wonderful) but we also know that a base of high-quality simplicity is easy to layer on the color and patterns du jour.

Annie Usher was the architect and she has full credit for how it’s laid out, where the rooms are, the window plan, etc. Of course, I was consulted but I was/am mostly involved in the interior design of the rooms that I’ve partnered up with. The ceiling plan, the door plan, the flow – all of that was Annie (huge thanks to Max Humphrey, too who weighed in heavily on this and much much more). I personally think it looks both modern yet interesting enough not to be cold or stark. Where she put the walls, windows, and fireplaces – it’s all part of an overall intention that really really works here.

There is so much wood and windows with views of the river, with an additional focal point of the fireplace in the most beautiful Ann Sacks Tile. Shout out to Max Humphrey for pushing us towards this tile – the dimension is just so subtle and beautiful. More to come next week on all things tiled fireplaces (I learned a ton).

We made a promise that we wouldn’t put any recessed lights where there was a wood ceiling (we broke that in a secret spot that you’ll barely notice) so as you can see we lit this room with these hanging shades from Rejuvenation (more to come on how challenging it was to find the exact fixtures that would do the job).

Now, you have to ignore all the dust and of course, picture that green stone (that as of now the rings have not come off but are so subtle that we might be fine with them).

This is the dining area, and there def might be some tweaks but the view out the window is soooooo dreamy (and in case you think that’s a dining bench, it’s not – lots to tell you).

Yes, it’s an entertainer’s dream, luckily Ken Starke has like 1,500 close friends! He is also a football coach so you know, a lot of open space for a lot of bros to bounce around.

Those doors go out to the patio that overlooks the river and the blue room is the home office/library/music room (with pocket doors).

This will be the last time you see the mudroom before its reveal (it’s ALMOST done) and will be one of the first rooms that we shoot this summer.

That green color (SW Rocky River) is so perfect and look how good it looks with the color in the family room (which I’m going to keep a secret because it’s my favorite in the whole house). Debating window treatments in the mudroom…

The hood will be tiled, obviously. The range is a dark green that I wish we could see more, actually, and there is a full pantry around the corner in case you were concerned about where they are going to put their food. Tile is the new Studio McGee for Ann Sacks line and it has so much beautiful movement.

What are we waiting on? Plumbers, tiler installers (kitchen grout isn’t in), electricians – all the subs that are on different jobs and getting them back to finish the little stuff is hard. We have a lot of loose ends and they all only want to come back once (and we have a couple of hiccups to solve, still so no one likes these TBD endings).

So much more to show you, and even more to tell you, obviously. Ken/Katie could move in soon if we could get the plumbers back to finish (and then a big old clean, more electrical to finalize – like those awesome Blueprint sconces that shouldn’t hang like that).

As a reminder, I was only a part of this project with the architect, Annie Usher, and my friend/co-interior designer Max Humphrey making a lot of decisions as well. I’m just the full documentarian of it all. While I feel a lot of ownership and pride over this project I definitely feel like it is a shared project up until this point. We are off to the races when it comes to furniture and decor which may have spurred the need for a line of furniture (finally)… 🙂

Architect: Annie Usher
Interior Designers: Emily Henderson and Max Humphrey
Contractor: JP Macy of Sierra Custom Construction

*Photos by Kaitlin Green

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1 month ago

A line of furniture?!?!?! Can’t wait! Also can’t wait to see all the rooms in this house.

1 month ago

That black tile reminds me of tree bark. It perfectly brings the outdoors in. I really love it all. So excited for the reveals. Thanks to your brother and sis-in-law for allowing us to come along!

1 month ago

It’s beautiful. The wood is the best—so warm and inviting! And I love the views!

1 month ago

Way to bury the lede! But “spurned” 🤪 a furniture line? Maybe “spurred” 🥰🥰🥰 a furniture line? FABULOUS!! Cannot wait to see!

1 month ago
Reply to  AK

or spawned a furniture line! 😂

1 month ago

Wow- this house is an absolute dream. All the wood is so gorgeous. I think I might be most jealous of the home office/music room. In my tiny bungalow I would love having one extra room for crafts/music/reading all the fun stuff.

emily jane
1 month ago

Annie! those sightlines -GAH!
Max! tile drama -I am here for it!
Em! movement towards a furniture line initiated “finally”.!? -I cannot wait to see what comes out of your brain! : )
Ken and Family -Congratulations on a BEAUTIFUL home!

1 month ago

absolutely stunning!

1 month ago

I’m sure we will learn more later, but can you share where those brass ceiling fixtures are from?

1 month ago
Reply to  Hillary

I think you mean these ones from Rejuvenation:)

1 month ago

What a fun sneak peak! I love how there are so many sightlines to outside, and the warmth of the wood, excited to learn about the bench in the dining room, I can image a dog claiming that spot as it’s squirrel watching post. It all looks so easy and simply effortless, way to go design team! Cannot wait to see more of this project throughout the summer!

1 month ago

Stunning! Can’t wait for a post on all the gorgeous light fixtures.

1 month ago

That is the most enormous house I’ve ever seen. The bros will be able to play their games inside the house when the weather is inclement.
I’m intrigued to see how you’ll manage to fill it with furniture.
The finishes look beautiful. Glad you’ve managed to fade the drink ring so much. That would make me seethe a bit!!

1 month ago

Beautiful! Do you think EHD could start tagging posts? I wanted to go back and read about the beautiful green stone on the countertops, but I can’t find the post. If all the River house posts were tagged, it would be much easier.

1 month ago
Reply to  Amy


1 month ago
Reply to  Amy

There was a hyperlink to the post where the rings were discussed in depth. Just go back to where it’s mentioned in this post and click the words in yellow.

1 month ago
Reply to  Tiffanie

Thanks! I didn’t notice the hyperlink. I’d still like tags, but this helps me find the post I was looking for!

1 month ago

This project is so beautiful! Appreciate that they’re going for neutrals because it’s the right choice for them and their spot rather than what’s trendy. And I mean, calm, deep, blues and greens and wood on the river?? Sounds perfect. Can’t wait to see more.

1 month ago

This is so handsome. I love when a home is embraced by it’s natural surroundings. They *MIGHT* wish they had pushed the island out another foot for both pass through room esp. when the oven is open or for opening drawers but also for the task lighting, I don’t see any recessed over the island.

Rona Chai
1 month ago

Really gorgeous! Pretty much house of my dreams.
Would it be possible to know the colour of the blue room, the music room/home office? Also, what is the hood going to be covered in? And I love the black fireplace tile….. swoon!

1 month ago

Oh maaan! What an awesome house!!!!!

Roberta Davis
1 month ago


1 month ago

In the best possible way, because we love Sally Field and I am that old, in one of the photos the lights over the island remind me of the Flying Nun!

1 month ago

So jealous. The dining room appears to be as big as my entire home.

29 days ago

Where are the beams from?

24 days ago
Reply to  AB

They look like box beams clad in wood (Drift by Stuga) to match the ceiling.