6 THINGS WITH LIZ HOEKZEMA
6 Things with Liz Hoekzema Co-founder + Creative Director of KLH Custom Homes and TEN Design Studio
Liz Hoekzema's path to becoming a figure in the world of design is a story of unexpected twists and a deep-seated passion. Originally from Canada, Liz moved to Michigan, where she pursued and completed a Liberal Arts degree, majoring in English. Despite her academic achievements, she found herself without a clear direction post-graduation. However, it was during the construction of her first home with her partner, Kevin, that Liz's true passion for interior design was ignited. This experience marked the beginning of her journey in the design world, showcasing how unforeseen paths can lead to fulfilling and impactful careers.
1. What started it all for you?
After several years working in the business world and then back at my Alma Mater, it wasn't until Kevin and I started building our first home that design took hold of me. For the first time in my life, I felt completely decisive and had a clear vision of what I wanted. A couple of years later we designed and built our second personal home and I started blogging about the process for a much-needed creative outlet. I began taking on small design jobs (with our close friend Jaci Schipper, who now leads our team at TEN design studio!) and out of nowhere, our first build-design client reached out to us and asked us to build not one but two homes for them - one custom, one to sell. And just like that - our business was born, and I was off and running with a legitimate design client.
2. What drives your creative spark?
One of our favorite bathrooms in Mykonos, Greece had a communal hand washing area outside of the toilets, with asymmetric concrete and mismatched marble freestanding sinks, rough rock walls, all arranged roughly in a circle and it still felt like such a clean, modern space. It was a refreshing reminder that life and design don't need to perfect or have so many straight lines.
We love to think that our work at TEN design + KLH is set apart by this: we are driven to be different from the rest, yet we take great joy in applying our ideas to who our clients are and how they live. It's still their home, at the end of the day.
3. Most treasured home decor item?
Natural stone! More so than just one *thing* - I don't tend to get attached easily - it's the story and art of natural stone that I love. Marble countertops peppered through our home, new and vintage decor pieces that I'm always moving around, and stone remnants I've had cut down to create custom table pieces.
Along these lines, I also love the less precious stones scattered throughout our home - chunks of rock we've carried back from Joshua Tree and Bend, beach glass we've found here along Lake Michigan, or from farther shores in Positano or Corsica. It brings me great joy to watch our four kids delight in such a simple act as scouting little bits of glass and stone along a shore.
4. What’s the best advice you've ever received?
"What's the worst that can happen?" My first boss out of college said these words to me when I was offered a position for which I felt inadequate (the "worst" being, you get fired because it's not going well!). It has stuck with me ever since. We can talk ourselves out of so much in life - hello, imposter syndrome - because of fear and how we view failure. In reality, designing is a very circular process, with failures along the way that require new iterations, problem solving, and openness to learning from the trades we work alongside. You have to have courage to stick to your ideas and see them through, and it so rewarding when you experience the final result!
And regarding imposter syndrome - in the creative world, there is always someone out there doing something that feels more awe-inspiring or with a seemingly smoother path. But when we talk ourselves out of even trying, we miss out on seeing what we're capable of. No matter the end result.
5. It's 5 o'clock at home. What would you be pouring?
A brut Prosecco. The drier the better! And lately when I'm out, I've been loving a vodka martini up with olives on the side. Clean, crisp and refreshing.
6. What are your 6 favorite accounts that you follow for inspiration?@prairie_interiors
"We can talk ourselves out of so much in life - hello, imposter syndrome - because of fear and how we view failure. In reality, designing is a very circular process, with failures along the way that require new iterations, problem solving, and openness to learning from the trades we work alongside. You have to have courage to stick to your ideas and see them through, and it so rewarding when you experience the final result!" -Liz Hoekzema