GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Here at 13 ON YOUR SIDE we love to celebrate the good things happening in West Michigan, to find those incredible stories and share them with you.
Much like Jean Stoffer's story: an interior designer who moved from Chicago to West Michigan in 2015. She was just featured in a pilot by the Magnolia Network, founded by Chip and Joanna Gaines. It features her largest project to date, which is located in the heart of Heritage Hill.
Jean's career is skyrocketing at a time she previously thought it might be slowing down, taking her by surprise in the best of ways.
"Believe it or not Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper found me on Instagram," said Jean. "The Discovery Network reached out to me and we started talking about the possibility and it happened!"
The Madison, a very large historic home in Heritage Hill, plays a central role in the pilot, and her life.
"I heard about this house from a client," she explained. "They said "I have your next project" and I thought oh historic homes. Too complicated. Too hard. Too much red tape. And then I saw it. And it was absolutely a diamond in the rough."
So, Jean and a partner, Cory Wyma from Kenowa Builders, bought the fixer upper, with the intention of renovating it and selling.
PHOTOS: Inside The Madison
But three years later -- it was such a labor of love -- Jean decided to make The Madison her home. It offers more than enough room for the whole family, the reason she discovered Grand Rapids in the first place.
"Our children started planting themselves in Grand Rapids after they went to Calvin, they met and married Michiganders. We just came up more and more (from Chicago) and developed an affection and an affinity for the city. Grand Rapids is such a great city with restaurants, affordable housing, our kids could buy homes here and start families here and yet in 15 minutes we could be walking on some gorgeous walking trail, 30 minutes to one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, a lake in our back yard, Reeds Lake, we couldn't believe it."
Jean is thrilled to be busier than ever, thanks to the same platform where Joanna found her, Instagram.
"The last I checked we have 244,000 thousand followers. Isn't that amazing."
When the Madison was complete, they hosted a tour that sold out in 4 hours and drew people from 22 states.
"People said Grand Rapids is such a great city, I had no idea and I was able say 'same.' And yes, I love it and I am so happy it's my home," Jean said.
If you would like to check out the pilot, Point of View: A Designer Profile, it is streaming now on Discovery Plus.
Jean also has a store, Stoffer Home, on Wealthy Street in Uptown. On Thursday, Jan 21, Jean's son is opening a cafe inside the shop called Bradbury.
To learn more about Jean visit her website.
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