Name: Becky and Jordan
Location: Northeast Grand Rapids, Michigan
Size: 1,800 square feet
Years lived in: 5 years; owned
Becky and Jordan live in a 1986 tri-level in northeast Grand Rapids. Nestled in a quiet neighborhood about five miles from downtown, the location is a happy medium for a couple from the country who wanted to be close to downtown, but not in the middle of downtown. Becky, an interior designer, is always thinking of renovation projects. Jordan, an accountant, keeps the budget in check and provides the sweat equity.
When entering the house, guests are immediately welcomed into a mid-century space. The open living/dining room has two low-profile sofas with peg legs; the iconic Eames lounge chair and ottoman; and dining chairs with low, curved backs. But the space doesn’t feel stuck in the 1950s. A large photo mural, a cowhide rug and a string ball chandelier add contemporary layers and quirkiness. Downstairs, more mid-century pieces are given contemporary twists. A low sofa in blue velvet with studs and a mint green side chair are set atop a large-scale chevron rug.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Authentic mid-century charm mixed with newer, less-precious but equally stunning modern-day products and design.
Favorite Element: It is hard to pick just one. I was blessed with grandparents who had great style and I was lucky enough to inherit several authentic vintage items from them. I still remember where each item could be found within their home, and I am privileged to use each of them on a daily basis in my own home now. I feel like I have a piece of my grandparents with me now, and I think they would be happy knowing I have their furniture because I treat it with the care and appreciation each deserves.
Biggest Challenge: Keeping to a budget. It’s tricky being an interior designer with expensive tastes married to an accountant who loves his budgets. Also, working in the financial world, Jordan is used to precision and calculated expectations. Getting him to use his imagination can be a little difficult. When I come to him with seemingly ludicrous ideas, it can be tough to get him on board. Like the day I told him, “Okay, I want to get an oversized mural of this guy hanging off a clock and put it on our living room wall.” He probably thought I was nuts. But then he gives me a chance and once he sees my design vision come to life, he admits he loves it!
What Friends Say: They love how unexpected the design of the home is. There is at least one conversation piece in every room and I love how my friends ask about the back stories. Then they ask where I got my furniture – and subsequently cringe when they learn it was an heirloom passed on from my grandparents and not something they can buy at Target or West Elm.
Biggest Embarrassment: The original flooring throughout the house hasn’t been replaced. Jordan doesn’t know this yet, but the kitchen and dining room flooring will be the next project on the list! I’m dreaming about ripping up that old carpet and replacing with FLOR carpet tiles in the dining/living room and using rich Travertine tiles in the kitchen!
Proudest DIY: We were able to save a lot of expense with Jordan laying the hardwood floors for us. His work is amazing and he is very talented. He also built our front porch, which adds a wealth of curb appeal to the home. We try to do as much as we can ourselves, which helps stretch our hard-earned dollars even further. It is a happy medium for us – I get to flex my creative muscle by designing the space, and he does the heavy lifting to save on cost.
Biggest Indulgence: The Eames lounge chair and ottoman. I actually cried tears of disbelief and joy the day I sat in my own Eames chair for the very first time. I thought I would be old and grey before I owned one, but Jordan found a little extra cash in our rainy day fund and let me purchase the exquisite chair at the ripe age of 25! With the generous help of an industry friend, I was able to hand-select the veneer and leather used for my chair. A truly once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will remember forever!
Best Advice: It doesn’t matter what other people think. All that matters is that my husband and I love it. Even though I am formally trained as an interior designer, I work within the contract furniture industry, so the type of design I do is on a more detailed scale and is a much smaller facet of design. I don’t always keep up with the trends of interior design, so when it comes to my house, I just do what I think looks great. I probably break all sorts of rules and faux pas of design, but it doesn’t really bother me too much because all that matters is that my husband and I love it – and we do!
Resources of Note:
• Large mirror - IKEA
• Cobalt velvet sofa – Rowe Furniture, “Mitchell” Sofa
• Chevron rug - RugsUSA
• Turquoise chair – Inherited from Becky’s grandma
• Ottoman – Inherited from Jordan’s grandma, recovered in Eleana Paisley Linen by Highland Court Fabrics
• Pillows – Target
• Globe light pendant - Etsy
• Westwood glass-top dining table – RT London
• Westwood armoire – RT London
• Beer poster – Pop Chart Labs
• Sofa sectional – (from the 1950s) given to Becky by a friend, then refurbished/reupholstered.
• Textiles (curtains and pillows) – a hand-crafted collaboration between Becky and her mom on a rainy day
• Slate tile backsplash
• Concrete countertops fabricated and installed by Becky’s brother-in-law
Thanks, Becky and Jordan!
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(Image credits: Mike Hetu)