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    A custom experience built on the details

    A Holland firm gives custom home building a whole new meaning. For Mike Schaap Builders Inc., the devil—and difference—is in the details. Since 1986, the Holland-based company established by Mike Schaap has specialized in crafting one-of-a-kind custom homes tailored to individual clients’ needs right down to when they take their morning coffee. “Nothing is ever too custom; each design is unique and each home is different,” said Danielle Becklin, marketing director for Mike Schaap Builders. “We have examples of floor plans that we have done, but there hasn’t been a home that we have just replicated. It is always custom to our clients; it is always how do they live and very…

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    Through the work of art

    A Michigan-based architectural firm’s design process is proving ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’ The West Michigan-based Visbeen Architects Inc. has more than two decades of experience with retail, commercial, and residential projects; and it is a firm known for its rather unique method for bringing a client’s dream to reality. Its founder and president, Wayne Visbeen, is not only a licensed architect and registered interior designer, but can also outline a client’s dream house or project with a series of rapid and fluid pen strokes. Angela Visbeen, director of sales and marketing for Visbeen Architects, said while the firm has completed projects for retail and commercial clients such…

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    Technical creativity

    In a design rich environment, Mathison | Mathison Architects is continuing the architectural heritage of modernism in Michigan. The Grand Rapids-based, full-service firm specializes in bringing the modern aesthetic into educational, high-end residential, commercial, and civic design. Great Lakes By Design spoke with founding Principals Thomas R. Mathison, FAIA, and Evan Mathison to learn more about their firm and their approach to creating meaningful places and spaces.   Tell me more about your firm and why you wanted to start it in West Michigan. Evan Mathison: When we started in 2013, we had this vision to start a small design-focused practice that did a variety of projects. We believe different…

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    Natural beauty

    A Midwestern fabricator is bringing the finest natural surfaces to the counter. In the new Cambria Design Gallery in Kentwood, Michigan, the art of movement and beauty of natural minerals are evident within the surface of exquisitely designed quartz slabs. Behind the different palette collections containing nearly 133 designs inspired by rocky coastlines off of Wales, marble tones, regal shades of deep purple and gold, or Her Majesty’s Royal Navy; is a team of more than 100 artisans in the West Michigan region who are dedicated to fabricating the finest countertops and surfacing products in the Midwest. While West Michigan-based Lakeside Surfaces Inc. was established in 1992 by current President…

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    Inspirational and powerful interior spaces

    A Grand Rapids- based firm infuses workspaces with innovation and energy through interior design. “At the core of our brand and our story is the idea that great environments are good for organizations,” said Natalia Connelly, director of branding at Custer Inc., as she sat on a lemon-lime and speckled gray couch in the full-service firm’s showroom in downtown Grand Rapids. “We really believe that a great environment can empower you to do your best work and so it is our hope to do just that: to create great environments and to understand our customers’ needs so that we can meet them,” continued Connelly. Custer Inc. specializes in designing and…

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    Balancing design and nature

    Visser Design delivers great experiences both during the design phase and in the home. Michigan, a state known for its freshwater coastline boasting of more than 3,200 miles1 of undulating sugar-sand and island shore, has an approximately 50 percent chance of experiencing sunlight in an average year2. For J. Visser Design, a Grand Rapids-based residential design firm, natural lighting is an important aspect of creating a space that allows their clients to feel right at home. “We are obsessed with sunlight: with bringing sunlight into a house,” said Jeff Visser, principal and co-owner of the design firm. “When we design a house we try to imagine it if we were…