| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Youtube RSS Feed


Everyone's Architect: Denise Hopkins of ImaginEco Design

Denise Hopkins designs spaces so people can live and work better.

The space is designed specifically to accommodate the client's technology.

Big windows for the beautiful wooded view.

Big windows for the beautiful wooded view.

The spaces we inhabit influence the myriad ways in which we live our life. For some, a work desk is more than a place to focus on projects and sort out what bills need to be paid and when. In fact, for some, it is that precious shrine where inspiration blossoms and comes to fruition. Simply stated, good design brings life to a space. There are those among us, the designers and architects of the world, who understand the value of just the right office chair, or the most gratifying way to light up a room, or the value of the perfect countertop and matching colors to balance a space with its surroundings. Every material, tone, and texture massages our minds in unique ways. When we begin to pay attention to the value of good design, our life has the possibility to change in a better, more productive, direction.

Michigan has a reputation for fostering such design. Perhaps there is something about the vast, green expanses of this state that inspire certain designers to take root and create, innovate, and experiment. One such Grand Rapids-based company, ImaginEco Design, invites its clients to beautify their life through inexpensive and client-centered design solutions. Located in Wyoming, Mich., owner Denise Hopkins says, "I'm everyone's architect in that my design services are affordable and easy to implement to improve lives through fabulous designs. I've lived in West Michigan most of my life, excluding my college years. ImaginEco began here in 2010 and I value the growing creative community. My parents are here, and the natural world here is spectacular."

I had a chance to speak with Hopkins about her work and what it is about West Michigan that keeps her working hard to improve the lives of her clients and, in general, to speak of the process and why one might want to consider diving deeper into what makes a space shine.

On how design can improve people's lives, Hopkins says, "Great design can improve lives in many ways. Many of the materials I use are actually beneficial to health and air quality. What I do is inherently sustainable, meaning that the systems and products I recommend to my clients will not impair their health now or in the future. Nature, and a connection to it, are an essential part of human health and a key element of my designs. Creating spaces that make you feel happy and inspired and physically comforted and nurtured can also eliminate physical and psychological strain and stress. Design also has incredible power to express our individual personalities and that is often untapped power."

To give potential clients, and, for that matter, anyone interested in building their knowledge of design and how ImaginEco can benefit one's life, Hopkins features a variety of "Design Tips" on her company's website including such topics as: "Is a No Maintenance Garden Really Possible?," "Are Triple Pane Windows Worth the Extra Cost?," and "The White Ceiling Myth." These 'tips' give readers an inside look at the process of using design to grow your life in a better direction. They also give readers the chance to get to take steps in the beautification of their world and the benefit of what working with a design professional, who has the ability to turn the mundane into the beautiful, would be like. She says, "When clients' lives are altered and improved and enriched by the work I've created then I've accomplished my goals. When they call me again and share my name with their friends and colleagues I know that I'm fulfilling my purpose. And it's just so much fun to create something in your mind, then on paper, and see a space come to life, and be enjoyed by families, friends, co-workers."

However, the right design strategy does not come easy and there is never a "one solution fits all" recipe for improving the life of a space. Moreover, with the perception that good design is costly, thus deterring interested parties who may not have excessive amounts of money to indulge. Hopkins says, "There are two great challenges in my work. The first opportunity is showing that sustainable and healthy design is not more expensive. If you have champagne taste then that is more expensive whether it is sustainable or traditional products. However, there are beautiful choices in all ranges of the cost spectrum. Secondly, architecture is often seen as accessible only to wealthy individuals and companies. My mission is to bring the comforts and benefits of great design to more people. I'm doing that now through my newly introduced Design Packages that are a fixed price and give you a design plan to implement immediately."

More information about these "Design Packages" can be found here.  

When asked about the process of working with clients, Hopkins says, "Clients approach me with a problem or an idea or often both. They may have ideas though they're unhappy with them. They often have an issue they've been unable to solve. Or they don't have the time or detailed building knowledge to take on a project that involves hundreds of decisions and the coordination of resources and trades."

Finally, good design brings satisfaction and Hopkins loves what she does. She continues, "When I return to projects and see individuals at a company working in an environment that supports them and allows them to grow, I'm very happy. When clients I've worked with before call me for assistance with new projects, I'm thrilled because they've felt the positive effects that design can make on their lives and they want more."

Look around your room. Take a walk through your house. Step outside and quietly observe the colors and patterns, the angles and textures that comprise your own personal living space. Are you maximizing the spaces that you inhabit? Could things be, perhaps, more beautiful? And if so, would your experience of the world take a turn in a better direction? Give it a try.

Photography by Adam Bird
Signup for Email Alerts
Signup for Email Alerts