Meet Tom Stringer, the Designer Behind the Harbor Springs Project on Lake Michigan

Harbor Springs homeWe recently learned about a stunning project on the shores of Lake Michigan in Harbor Springs. Incredibly, this home was first renovated by Tom Stringer over 20 years ago which he has redone three times over the last 23 years.

The lavish four-bedroom cottage encompasses 4,974-square-foot of space that has been passed down for generations. With a strict design, the clients wanted to incorporate bolder hues like magenta and lime to infuse a more lively aesthetic. The goal was to keep the cottage-feel but with more of a modern and globally-inspired edge. Read on to check out more about the project from our recent interview with Tom.

Tell us more about the project in Harbor Springs.

This is a turn of a century cottage for a family that I have worked with for a very long time – over 20 years. It is actually a redo of the very first project I did for this family and I’ve redone it three times in the last 23 years. The cottage is located in Harbor Springs, a place where families have enjoyed vacationing over summer for many generations, including this family.

The family has enjoyed this stretch of beach for over five generations. What is the process like for you to create a space? It starts with the client, stays centered on the client and once I fully understand them it ends with the interiors telling their story.

Harbor Springs View

How do you decide on what brands to feature in a space?

My decisions are based on need, visual appropriateness and quality. I am not necessarily driven by associations or the brand itself, but perhaps the value or design points that a brand offers.

Harbor Springs Master Bedroom

What was the process like for a renovation of this kind?

After the client program is determined, we start working through the arrangement of space and then determine what is needed. Working with an old building requires some patience, and similar to the process of listening to the clients needs, it sometimes takes listening to what an older building will allow. In other words, listening to the building to unlock its potential. If you don’t impose yourself too heavily on an old building you can successfully renovate them in a way that covers your tracks.

What was the ultimate goal for you when you design a home?

These old homes were made in an era when the family lived in the front portion of the home and the staff lived in the back and basement. The goal was to continue to modernize the turn of a century cottage to be appropriate for modern living. This latest iteration was about fine tuning what we’ve done in previous renovations and from a decorative perspective keeps things fresh and interesting.

What's next for you?

Staying busy! We have 30+ more projects in various stages of development.

Discover more about Tom Stringer Design Partners.

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