After living away from their joint hometown for more than a decade, Anne Hoekman and her husband (they were high school sweethearts — how cute is that?!) decided to move back to Holland, Michigan a few years ago to embrace small-town living and raise their little boy closer to family. Fast forward a bit and the Hoekmans are now happily settled into a gorgeous historic Tudor as a family-of-three. And while their 136-year-old abode (yes, seriously — it was built in 1884!) certainly came with a few renovation quirks along the way, Anne has masterfully updated their space to not only be functional but also perfectly decorated in “transitional style,” AKA a mix between traditional and contemporary design.
From the pretty white kitchen and comfy-cozy living room to the coolest playroom (wait until you see the pics!) and bedroom for her son, Hendrik, you’ll love the way Anne has decked out her midwest home with pieces from stores including Target, West Elm, and Crate & Barrel. Keep reading to find out why the kitchen is Anne’s favorite space, learn why she’s obsessed with her family room’s sectional couch, and see how her personal style changed once she became a mom.
Name: Anne Hoekman
Location: Holland, MI
Home’s Square Footage: 2,900
Years Lived In: 4.5
Rent or Own: Own
Children: Hendrik, 6
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family!
I’m a mid-30s mom of a first-grader living in Holland, Michigan, where my husband and I grew up (and started dating as 16-year-olds in high school). We lived away from the area for about 12 years for college, followed by my husband’s medical school education, and then most recently his 5-year residency specializing in ear, nose, and throat in Cincinnati. As much as we loved living there, when he finished training, we knew we wanted to move back to our hometown where both of our sets of parents live, especially once we had a baby.
I work out of my home office as the Managing Editor of four academic journals. My son would describe my work as “doing emails”; I would describe it as managing the submission, peer-review, and publication process for academic research on business/marketing/accounting, along with some editing/proofreading of accepted research articles. And yes, a lot of emails. When I’m not working or managing the household, I’m probably reading, biking, or hiking with the family; going to the beach; or planning our next trip and/or home update.
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You and your family live in a historic home in Holland, MI — what drew you to this house in particular?
The fact that it’s clearly a historic home, but also when I first stepped foot inside with our realtor, I could immediately imagine our modern-day family living here. I think it’s in large part from the high ceilings that give an open feel, much more so than you get in a lot of old homes, and also from the huge and numerous windows that let in tons of light. I fell in love with those windows right away, and then the brick walls in the dining room completely sold me. Also, the location cannot be beat! We can walk to our town’s cute downtown with shops/restaurants/movie theater, the library, local playgrounds, and even an inland lake with perfect walking paths that I use every day with the dog. I knew when we moved back to the area I wanted to live near downtown to get as much city feel as possible even in a small town.
You live in a small town! Why do you like living in Holland compared to living in a more urban area?
Living here as a high schooler, I might have thought it was a bit of a boring place to live, but with the perspective of an adult, I love that it is a great place to raise a family in terms of school, safety, and overall vibe; has very reasonable cost of living; has virtually no terrible traffic (well, I don’t have a commute anyway since I work from home, but my husband has to go all of one mile); and, importantly, is near to my parents, in-laws, and grandparents. I miss some of the bigger city attractions — especially restaurants — of the last city we lived in, but the pros outweigh the cons here. Plus, we’re on the shores of Lake Michigan — summers are the absolute best here.
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Your house was built in 1884! Did you face any specific vintage home quirks while updating and decorating your spaces?
We were lucky that past owners had already updated some things (like painting the wood trim white) that retained the historic appeal but made the house feel a bit more modern and left us with a fairly neutral slate. Unsurprisingly, when we’ve had some work done, we always run into little quirks of sloping floors or walls that we have to contend with, but the biggest issue has been with those windows I fell in love with on day one. Most of them didn’t have useable screens when we moved in and almost all were in need of repair or replacement. But because we live in a registered historic district, we are not allowed to make exterior changes to the house without receiving permission from the board. The request process was a bit of a hassle and resulted in denied permission to replace windows, so we had to find an expert in restoration from another nearby town to get the windows in working order. Also: no useable garage. This was a big compromise on our house wishlist, and luckily, I was able to convince my husband that it was worth giving up in order to get this house.
What do you love about living in a historic home compared to a newer build? And why?
It’s a cliche, but definitely, the character is what I love the most. There are so many special touches that just wouldn’t show up in a newer build (unless perhaps you paid a ton of money), like the carving on the exterior facade, the entry stair banister, the brick walls in the dining room, and the arched doorways. I love living in a place that feels unique and established, and by extension, a neighborhood that is full of unique and charming homes. The Tudor exterior is a little bit imposing and kind of intimidated me at first, but it definitely gives our home an individual look in the neighborhood, and it makes it easy to give people directions to find us!
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How would you describe your design style? How did that style mix well with your historic home’s aesthetic?
I think the appropriate label is probably “transitional style.” For me, that means a fairly neutral palette, clean lines, classic but updated finishes, an uncluttered feel, and a very liveable, maybe even cozy vibe. I’m not sure it exactly goes with the Tudor exterior of the house, but the high ceilings, old wood floors, and brick of the interior are a pretty good neutral canvas, and the transitional style type furniture and rugs that I like are, by their nature, good at uniting a somewhat traditional style with a more modern feel.
Where do you like to shop for furniture and home decor?
The aforementioned small-town life means I do quite a bit of it online given our lack of a major mall. The places I usually check first when I’m looking for something are West Elm and Crate & Barrel. But honestly, some of my best finds that get the most comments from visitors have come from Target, like the living room rug and the bar stools in the kitchen.
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What is your favorite room in your home and why?
The kitchen. It’s the one space (aside from a bathroom we just completed last month) that we actually made changes to aside from furniture/paint, so all of the fixtures and finishes are things that I picked out and love. All of it still makes me so happy every morning when I come down for breakfast. The kitchen also looks into the dining room, where I can see one of my favorite features of the whole house (the brick walls), as well as into my son’s playroom, so it’s a space that feels very well-used and central to our lives.
Do you have a favorite home decor item in your space? If so, tell us about it.
It’s not the most pretty or glamorous, but I might say the sectional in the living room, because #1. I agonized about the choice for weeks, but it then turned out to be perfect for the room; #2. it’s a great and very comfy spot for reading, family movie-watching, and more; and #3. getting a sectional made me feel like I had truly arrived as a grown-up.
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You’re a mom-of-one — how did your design style change when you became a parent?
My style didn’t change a ton in the main rooms of the house, partly because even if it’s not exactly “kid” stuff, the comfortable and liveable style that I already liked is accessible to all members of the family. Also, because in this house we’re lucky enough to have a bedroom plus a separate, dedicated playroom for my son, there’s no need for “kid” stuff to enter into the rest of the decor. In his room and playroom, though, I think I’ve added a bit more color and whimsy to what my usual style would be to make them more dedicated and fun kid spaces.
As a working mother, how do you do your best to find work-life balance?
One big part of finding a balance was being comfortable from the get-go with allowing others to help me care for my son, whether that be grandparents or a nanny or a part-time daycare. That meant I could get my work done in a job role that I really enjoy, and on top of that also have the time to retain a sense of my own self with going to the gym, reading, having date nights with my husband, etc.
I’m super lucky to have already worked from home when my son was born, so it was not too difficult to be able to parent and still work, thanks to a very flexible schedule that allows me to spend time with him and also to fit work around his (then) naptime schedules and (now) school drop-off/pick-up times. There are definitely days where I feel like my attempts at fulfilling so many roles — mom, wife, employee, manager of all of the grocery shopping and laundry and such — equals doing them all rather poorly, but overall, I wouldn’t trade it for anything because I do love all of these roles and because I know that these particular demands on my time aren’t permanent. Already, it’s changed with him being in an official full-day school!
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What is the hardest part of being a parent for you? And what aspect of motherhood do you enjoy the most?
Constantly feeling like I have no idea what I’m doing. Even after getting beyond the stage where babies/toddlers change so quickly and you have to figure out each type of cry/tantrum, there are still so many questions. Should we do Montessori or Spanish immersion for elementary school? How should we handle screen time? Am I raising a monster, or is sassiness just par for the course at age 6?
The most enjoyable part is having a little sidekick who is into a bunch of the same things I am — reading, baking, going for bike rides, seeing musicals, working on bullet journals. I’m already a little sad for when he’s too old and cool for our outings, poolside read-alouds, kitchen dance parties, and such.
If you had to pick just one, what has been your favorite motherhood memory so far?
Can’t beat the memory of having a (screaming) baby placed on my chest after two hours of pushing, but in more recent memory, I’d have to say getting to reveal Hendrik’s completed “big kid” bedroom to him on the morning of his 6th birthday and seeing his reaction — which included immediately moving the hamper over to the corner because he thought it looked better there.
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Anne Hoekman is The Everymom…
Favorite date night activity? Making it a date morning and going out for breakfast together!
Biggest mom fail moment? Rolling my eyes at my over-dramatic 4-year-old kid who fell off his bike on a Saturday afternoon and said, “It hurts so much I won’t even be able to go to school on Monday.” Yeah, it was actually super broken.
Guilty pleasure? Reading while I eat
Dream vacation spot? Hawaii (since we’ve already done Paris)
Go-to coffee order? Currently a vanilla latte
Last book you read? Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
App you can’t live without? The Weather Channel
Favorite Instagram account to follow? @thingsorganizedneatly