infobox one - Holiday Home Tour information

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CADILLAC - Schedule lots of time for this stop during the Annual Holiday Home Tour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday Dec. 7. Because every square inch of this home is packed with bold colors and fantasty decor themes.

There's a visual surprise, and truthfully a bit of a shock when you first enter the 1902 Queen Anne home of Michelle Carder and Mike Ochs at 311 E. Harris St.

It's a stately historic home. And historic restorations often include period piece decor and muted colors.

Not this one, best summed up by Carder, who said it's like living in a Tim Burton movie.

The magic of it is - everything works. How do pink flamingos, a bright blue stuffed peacock, leopard print carpet and colorful art consuming all the wall space, how does it all work?

"Half tacky is just tacky, but full tacky is Haute Couture," Carder insists.

It all works due to Carder's fearless artistry coupled with her husband's renovation skills.

They are a DIY team.

"Anyone can do this - well anyone who has a Mike," she laughed, explaining how they took box store cabinetry and created a designer look in the kitchen with salmon cabinets scrolled with gold trim.

After graduating from UCLA Carder earned a law degree and forged a fastpaced career as an insurance litigator in Orange and Los Angeles Counties. To escape the stress of her job she began decorating her homes, first with beige. But when she started collecting art her imagination was sparked towards a "fantasy type of eclectic decor."

From Cali to Caddy

Carder and Ochs moved to Cadillac from California where Carder was born and raised after Ochs was offered a job transfer to Michigan. 

Before the move, Carder started searching for a home online. When she spotted the Harris Street historic home she was smitten.

"The outside is what drew me in and it was priced really well, " she said. "I just could not believe you could get a home that beautiful for that amount of money."

Median home values in Orange County are $749 thousand compared to $137 thousand in Wexford County.

"We wanted out of California for a lot of reasons," she said. "I love it here and I would not trade this place to go back to California for anything."

Carder hosts a blog and an Instagram page filled with photographs of every room and commentaries on the design process. She is also licensed to practice law in Michigan.

Cadillac News