By Kitty Golding
Kitty & Company will be conducting a series of short interviews with Chelsea Residents for 52 weeks, bringing to light differing personalities and design styles in our community. Perhaps you will meet someone new through these weekly interviews or perhaps it will be YOU! Stay tuned and follow us each week – we now introduce you to Michelle Elie.
What is your current profession? A Realtor for twenty years. Prior to real estate, I was an Occupational Therapist for 20 years.
Your family members: Husband Vince, daughters Grace 24 and Maria 23.
People think of me as: Tough but really I am a softy.
When did you move to Chelsea and where did you live prior to coming to Chelsea? We moved to downtown Chelsea in 2000, right as I was beginning my real estate career. We spent the two previous years in Dexter, and before that we lived in the historic district of Kalamazoo.
What do you love about where you currently live? I love being so close to everything Chelsea has to offer. We can walk basically everywhere; to restaurants, the library, the bank, the farmers market, and of course, my office! I especially love the historic architecture in our neighborhood, and I never grow tired of admiring the craftsmanship and beauty of my neighbors homes. I love that I can ride my bike safely in and around town, and when my kids were in school here, the location couldn't have been more convenient.
If you could have a second home anywhere, where would it be? We do have a second home in downtown Pentwater, just a half mile from Lake Michigan. It's a seasonal home, so we go there as often as we can between May and October
What three words describe your style? Simple, comfortable, not cluttered.
What are you most inspired by in your design/decor? History.
When entering your home, how do you want it to feel? Comfortable and inviting.
What is one element or trend in design you do not like? I don't care for antique "period" decor in an old house as I don't ever feel comfortable in that type of setting. It feels like a museum to me.
Have you ever built a new home or remodeled an existing one? Never have, and never want to!
Have you ever sought professional help with the interior design of your home - if so, what did you find most helpful? As a matter of fact, I used a company called Kitty and Company to help me coordinate a customized back splash in our kitchen.
What is the biggest design issue you struggle with? I don't really feel like I design my home. I'd like to have a better flair for that, but I think I'm satisfied with what I have.
As you think about the home in which you grew up, what elements did you like and do you think you have incorporated some of them in your own home? I grew up in a huge 100 year old brick home on the west side of Lansing. My dad was a real estate developer, and when he bought the house, it had 500 acres surrounding it (all the land was farmed by the original owners). There were many barns and outbuildings, that were our playground. Growing up in an old home is what shaped my love for historic architecture and the unique features found only in turn of the century homes. The house I grew up in was based on functional use - I am one of eight children (five younger brothers) , so there weren't any valuables displayed our house. Only required furnishings that could withstand my brothers abuse. I've kind of carried that into my home now. I don't have a lot of "stuff" in my house.
Have you stayed true to a style through the years, or have you fluctuated in your tastes? I pretty much rely on comfortable, functional style. I guess I take after my Mom in that way, although fortunately I don't have eight kids.
If you were moving and could only select one item from your home to keep, what would it be and why? It would be tied between the vintage upright piano and a school masters desk we bought on our honeymoon 28 years ago. Both hold significant sentimental value.
Which room in your home gets the most use? Our living room which is in the center of the house. It's the largest room in the house and has a comfy seating/gathering area in addition to housing a vintage upright piano and a desk.
Name an item you purchased for your home that you regret buying? Honestly, I like everything in my house! Am I the only one that can say that??
No room is complete without: Pictures of my kids.
By nature I am : A Minimalist.
What had you been doing to pass the time during the COVID-19 State shutdown? I read quite a few books, and my daughter Maria and I walked A LOT. We went to all the trails around Chelsea, Stockbridge and Dexter many times! In addition to that, I basically went crazy.
Has any local venue particularly caught your eye - if so why? I've always loved The Potting Shed and Bumbles. Both stores have such well thought out and unique inventory. I believe everyone on my gift list has at least one gift from both stores.
A few of your favorite things!
Movie – Chicago because of the music and dancing. I also love comedies and one of my favorites is Young Frankenstein.
Favorite Historical Place You have visited - Prague, Czech Republic.
Scent-I love "clean laundry" scented candles.
Music– I love the music I grew up with; Carly Simon, The Doobie Brothers, Stevie Wonder.
Meal- Jets Pizza!
TV show- Schitt's Creek.
Travel Destination (on your bucket list)– I'd like to tour Germany.
Season- The fall (aka football season).
Museum - Detroit Institute of Art.
Hobbies- Golf, bike riding.
Favorite Design Style-Art Deco.
Tree – Lilac bushes and Dogwoods.
Item on a bookshelf - I love historical fiction set in the World War II time period.
Kitty’s note: Michelle and I have known each other for awhile now- I love her charming older home in downtown Chelsea and am envious of the location- and yes, she has a very fitting kitchen backsplash to her home style! Michelle diligently showed us many homes when we were looking a long while back, even though we could never find one that ended up working! Michelle has a fun sense of humor and loves this community – but you already knew that!