Design Envy: Elegant Cleveland Home

The gorgeous dark silver interior of Brandi and Michael Kokal's Cleveland home.

Much like my last home featured on Design Envy, as soon as I walked into the Cleveland home of Brandi and Michael Kokal, I was overcome with envy. Brandi has great style so it was no surprise that her home was divine, but I guess I just keep thinking of us at 21 years old dancing like lunatics to Ciara's "1, 2 step." You see, Brandi is one of my best friends from college so I always think of us as being in college. When I walked into her home for the first time last year, it was clear, we were grown-ups :) 

One of Brandi and Michael's engagement photos hung above their home bar. 
Photo Credit: Genevieve Nisly Photography

The thing I loved most about Brandi and Michael's home was how complete it felt. From the sophisticated bar right off the entry, to the grand bedroom, their home is so well-appointed. The perfect paint color, the perfect accessories and the perfect furniture tie the look together nicely. Want to see what I'm talking about? Please join me on a tour of Brandi and Michael's Cleveland home!

When did you move into your home?
October 2009

The grand boudoir featuring one of their pet children, Madison.

How did you two approach the design? Was there a vision? Did one of you take the lead?
Brandi: Let me start by saying my husband is very opinionated when it comes to design (not a pain in the A@% at all... I swear :)). His mother is a designer and so he just gets it. We, for the most part, agreed on the look we wanted for our first home but while we have grown together as a couple, so has our design vision.

The modern baroque entryway.

We have lived together in Cleveland for the past five years. We started with a contemporary look in our first loft, then we evolved into a more modern baroque style when we moved into our house. Now we have learned that our style is moving more towards a traditional look - if I could move into Ralph's store on Madison and 72nd, I would be one happy girl!

We have learned a lot in the three years that we have lived in our home and our biggest revelation has been its not so easy (time-wise and wallet-wise) to wake up and change your look. So you will probably notice in our photos, that we have been working with a little bit of everything right now to make the transition. 

A well-dressed corner of the living room.

I would explain our home's current look as monochromatic, sophisticated and well-dressed.

Did you have to undertake any major renovations or was the home move-in ready?

A truly elegant kitchen.

Brandi: The first project was renovating the kitchen. Then from there we made several small changes that made a world of difference such as: replaced carpet with hardwood floors, painted the entire house, added crown moldings, changed the doors and their hardware, hung drapery and installed new light fixtures.

Brandi and Michael in what only can be described as Brandi's worst nightmare- SHARING A SINK!!
Photo Credit: Genevieve Nisly Photography

What were the mandatories?
Brandi: It was mandatory that we had our own dressing spaces. Trying to get ready for an evening in close quarters could end a marriage! We also use separate bathrooms which has worked out very nicely.

Shots from Michael's dressing room. Think Brandi has been in here?!

Michael: Brandi is a bit of a clean freak so there needed to be a place in the house where I was actually allowed to sit on the couch. We turned the office on the 3rd floor into our every day living room. It's still a work in progress but coming along as we find things we love.

Brandi: Correction- Michael is a bit of a tornado so there needed to be a place in the house he was actually allowed to be...

What are your top two favorite things in your home?

What a lush, relaxing space. Love the hanging lights!

Michael: The back courtyard is my favorite part of the home simply because its really what I had the most to do with. It is relaxing and comfortable, yet well-manicured. Its something that I am proud of because we planted most of the plants when we first moved in so we can see the progress they've made. 

I also really like the way our bedroom has started to take shape. For a while it was pretty barren and cold but as time has gone on, we have managed to find the right things to go in the right places.

Beautiful cream and gold scheme. Love the pop of pink.

Brandi: Our bedside table is one of my favorite things- it was actually our cake table from our wedding!


I also love my dressing room. The master bedroom closets were not going to work for the both of us so we turned our second bedroom into my closet. If anyone comes to visit, there is a nice hotel just down the street :)

I know we all want to see more of the shoes!

Any design tips?
Brandi: Have patience. Michael has taught me you cannot assemble your dream home in a day. Its just not going to happen! You have to always keep your eyes open for the perfect pieces everywhere you go and let the rooms eventually come together. Don't be so eager just to throw anything together and call it a day...

Brandi's vanity. Its a 1950's vanity from the Ritz Carlton in Naples. Brandi and Michael had stayed in the same hotel 
just a few months before they came across the vanity and knew they had to have it!

Anything else you'd like to share?
Michael: There is a good chance that you will not agree on everything- you will probably agree on less than 50% of the time. The best advice I can give it to take a chance and let the other person make some decisions based on their judgment and intuition. You may be surprised to find that their taste, though fundamentally different than yours, may be what brings the place together.

The Kokal children- Madison and Valentino. Aren't they adorable?!

Want to see even more of Brandi and Michael's stunning home? Like us on Facebook and check out the album "Design Envy: Elegant Cleveland Home"


  1. dannnnnnnnng, they really do have a grown up house!!! and that closet? i'm swooning. i can hardly get my hand in between my clothes in the morning--the fact that her closet it an entire bedroom is giving me a mild heartattack right now!


  2. What a gorgeous home! I live in Cleveland, too and would kill for a closet like that. ;)

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