Mike Hetu

Mike is an illustrator and photographer who also recruits students for an art college. He enjoys exploring new places and taking in the view from the top level of parking structures.
Natasha and the Plant-Filled Sunroom
Name: Natasha Nyberg and Brad Sammut; children Lisette and Maxine; cats Matilda and Pickle; dogs Greta, Lotte, and Mr. Chips Location: Garfield Park; Grand Rapids, Michigan Size: 2,200 square feet Years lived in: 5 years; Owned Natasha and I met through Instagram. She began following my account and when I scrolled through her feed, I saw images of a very cool home: rich colors, objects with stories, and a refreshing indifference to trends.
Jun 5, 2019
Darlene’s Art-Filled Riverside Ranch
Name: Darlene Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan Size: 1,200 square feet Years lived in: 23 years; owned Darlene lives in a ranch on the north side of Grand Rapids, within walking distance of Riverside Park. The neighborhood’s wide, winding streets are lined with unique houses – and Darlene’s home, with her collection of original art, is no exception.
Feb 20, 2019
Becky & Jordan’s Modern Day Mid-Century Charmer
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.
Feb 20, 2019
Erin & Chris’ Industrial Heritage Hill Condo
Name: Erin and Chris Location: Heritage Hill; Grand Rapids, Michigan Size: 600 square feet Years lived in: 3 years; rented Erin and Chris like to keep things simple and neat. Upon entering their home, I was impressed by the lack of clutter. No piles of mail, no stacks of books, no leaning towers of magazines. That’s because the couple is wise about storage. They purchased iconic IKEA furniture pieces with clean, simple lines and lots of storage.
Feb 20, 2019
Dee & Paul’s Thrill of the (Halloween) Hunt
Name: Dee and Paul Location: Northville, Michigan Size: 2,600 square feet Years lived in: 6 years; Owned Dee and Paul live in Northville, a western suburb of Detroit. Their traditional home is open, airy and layered with trinkets. Dee is drawn toward turquoise, sparkles, shiny surfaces, beach imagery, and a mix of old and new. Paul likes mementos from the couple’s travels (especially out west) and vintage clocks (which he restores).
Feb 20, 2019
Dani & Will’s Goodwill Finds
Name: Dani and Will Location: Heritage Hill; Grand Rapids, Michigan Size: 900 square feet Years lived in: 3 years for Will, 1 month for Dani; Rented Dani and Will live on the third floor of an old Victorian house in Heritage Hill, the historic neighborhood just east of Downtown Grand Rapids. Will grew up in Michigan while girlfriend Dani moved to Grand Rapids from London, England one year ago.
Feb 20, 2019
Meagen & Mike’s Cherry Hill Victorian Decorated for the Holidays
Name: Meagen and Mike Coburn and dog Dozer Location: Cherry Hill Historic District; Grand Rapids, Michigan Size: 2,800 square feet Years lived in: 1 year; owned I arrived on Meagen and Mike’s street on an unseasonably warm Sunday afternoon in mid-December. The forty-degree weather, mist and visible green grass didn’t feel like Christmas in Michigan.
Feb 20, 2019
Laura’s Heritage Hill Menagerie
Name: Laura Location: Heritage Hill; Grand Rapids, Michigan Size: 768 square feet Years lived in: 8.5 years; Rented Laura lives in a 102-unit apartment complex in Heritage Hill, the historic district east of Downtown Grand Rapids. Her two-bedroom rental is filled with plants, colors and animals. Guests will discover tiny deer in a winter-themed wreath, wall-mounted heads of a rhino and giraffe, lots of pugs and even a miniature Brachiosaurus roaming among succulents.
Feb 20, 2019
Lynn & Adam’s Assemblage in St. Joe
Name: Lynn Serulla and Adam Kuehl and their dog, Oscar Location: St. Joseph, Michigan Size: 900 square feet Years lived in: 1 year; Rented Lynn and Adam’s home is a gathering place for people and things. When the second-story apartment isn’t filled with friends, reminders of them are still evident. Artwork from friends is on display in each room. Lynn and Adam have a personal connection to each piece of furniture, every trinket and even the plants. Everything has a story.
Dec 19, 2015
Jenni & Esai’s Michigan Home Full of Geometric Patterns
Name: Jenni and Esai Location: Heritage Hill — Grand Rapids, Michigan Size: 1,000 square feet Years lived in: 2.5 years; Rented Jenni and Esai’s apartment is a loop. The living room leads into the kitchen/dining room, which flows into the bedroom/office/nook, which is open to the living room. While photographing the space, I notice chevron curtains, art pieces featuring triangles, a striped blanket, a striped rug, a parallelogram rug, a diamond rug, and lots of circles.
Dec 18, 2015
Randi & Joe’s Cookie-Cutter-Busting Rental Restyle
Name: Randi and Joe Location: Wyoming, Michigan Size: 770 square feet Years lived in: 1.5 years; Rented Randi and Joe live in a sprawling, 430-unit complex in Wyoming, Michigan a suburb of Grand Rapids. The rental units have the usual beige carpet, white walls, and wall-mounted air conditioners, but those items aren’t noticeable in Randi and Joe’s home.
Oct 17, 2015
Shelly & Curt’s Modern Tastes Meet Family Practicality
Name: Shelly Klein, Curt Wozniak, twins Marty and Nora, dog Sugar and cat Ben Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan Size: 3,000 square feet Years lived in: 11 years; owned I arrive at Shelly and Curt’s house on a Sunday morning. Shelly greets me at the door and explains that Curt took the kids out for breakfast. She tours me through the house and I feel a calm, quiet easiness in each room. Perhaps it’s the white paint, white furniture and abundant natural light.
Sep 16, 2015
Jenny & Jim’s Appreciation of Art
Name: Jenny and Jim O’Connor (with children Lily, 3 and James, 7 months) Location: State Streets; Livonia, Michigan Size: 1,088 square feet Years lived in: 4 years; Owned Jenny and her family live in Livonia’s State Streets, a neighborhood where most streets are named after U.S. states. The neighborhood is adjacent to Old Rosedale, where Jenny’s parents Sue and Doug live.
Aug 15, 2015
Grayson and the Teak Antiques
Name: Grayson Smith Location: Baxter Neighborhood; Grand Rapids, MI Size: 1,000 square feet Years lived in: 1.5 years; Rented I park on the street and walk up the front steps of the duplex where Grayson lives. The porch on the left side of the duplex has a stereotypical college appearance: it’s covered with empty beer cans and a few plastic lawn chairs. Luckily I’m knocking on the duplex’s right side door. Grayson opens the door as I’m looking to the left.
Aug 7, 2015
Kaelie & Andrew’s Turret in the Trees
Name: Kaelie, Andrew, and Zootie the cat Location: Top of the Tower, Heritage Hill; Grand Rapids, MI Size: 1,000 square feet Years lived in: 2 years; Rented Tyler from the Musical Chairs House Tour texts me on a random Saturday: “I have a referral for you!” His friend Kaelie and her husband live in a “sweet Heritage Hill apartment.” I email Kaelie and once we determine a day, she suggests I photograph their home in the early evening to capture the best light.
Jul 11, 2015
Rachel’s East Hills History Lesson
Name: Rachel Lee Location: East Hills; Grand Rapids, MI Size: 1,560 square feet Years lived in: 9 months; Owned When I told a mutual friend that I was photographing Rachel Lee’s house for Apartment Therapy, that friend said, “Her house is cool as hell.” Upon entering Rachel’s house for the first time, I immediately agreed. The wall colors, the white outlines, the arched doors, the collection of globes: I had found my new favorite house.
Jun 20, 2015
Melissa & Kevin’s “All About the DIYs” in Old Rosedale
Name: Melissa and Kevin; children Elle, Harper and Beckham; and Ally the cat Location: Old Rosedale Gardens; Livonia, Michigan Size: 2,000 square feet Years lived in: 3 years; Owned Melissa and Kevin are raising their family in the Detroit suburb of Livonia. They live in the historic Old Rosedale Gardens neighborhood, which was modeled after Detroit’s Rosedale Park. Most homes in the neighborhood were built in the 1920s and 30s and each house looks different.
Jun 12, 2015
Amanda & Matthew’s Nest of Collectibles
Name: Amanda and Matthew (and Severus the cat) Location: Ferndale, Michigan Size: 950 square feet Years lived in: 1.5 years; rented While photographing Amanda and Matthew’s second-floor apartment, I tried to define the overall theme of their collection. I saw floral prints on oven mitts and furniture. I noticed animals – both stuffed and printed on textiles. There were bowls of Japanese candies and lots of colors. I finally asked, “What do you collect?
Jun 6, 2015
Ashley & Emily’s First Chicago Apartment
Name: Ashley Gerou & Emily Drake Location: Lakeview; Chicago, Illinois Size: 800 square feet Years lived in: 3 years; rented Cousins Ashley and Emily grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and attended college in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. After graduating from separate schools, they moved to Chicago. Now they rent a condo together in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. The ladies’ personalities shine in their own rooms.
Apr 29, 2015
Matthew & Anna’s Corktown Curiosities
Name: Matthew Milia and Anna Burch of Frontier Ruckus Location: Corktown; Detroit, Michiagn Size: 2-bedroom apartment Years lived in: 1 year; Rented Matthew keeps close watch over me while I photograph his apartment. He takes turns peering around corners and sliding out of view of the camera’s lens. He explains, “I like to do this thing where I make people uncomfortable, but also charm them at the same time.” I hesitate before responding.
Apr 16, 2015
Shawn’s Sunny Heritage Hill Condo
Name: Shawn Merkel Location: Heritage Hill; Grand Rapids, Michigan Size: 849 square feet Years lived in: 1.5 years; Owned The adjective “eclectic” can be overused in interior design. But when thinking of how to describe Shawn’s condo, I kept coming back to the word “eclectic.” (The good eclectic.
Apr 15, 2015
Lisa’s Artgoodies and Vintage Finds
Name: Lisa Price Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan Size: 936 square feet Years lived in: 10 years; owned Imagine a house where the best of the best vintage and thrift store finds are arranged by color. Imagine really cool vintage furniture in really good condition. Imagine that almost every accessory and piece of furniture comes with a story (from a family member, a stranger at a flea market or a previous owner at a yard sale).
Mar 28, 2015
Laura & James’ Principles of Design
Name: Laura and James Location: Heritage Hill; Grand Rapids, Michigan Size: 920 square feet Years lived in: 3.5 years; owned Laura and James’ home is a study in scale, balance, repetition and continuity. Artwork is carefully staggered on the gallery wall across from the kitchen. Even though the size, color and subject matter of the artwork vary, the presentation is kept clean and unified with black, white, birch and silver frames.
Mar 19, 2015
Tyler & Jack’s Musical Chairs
Name: Tyler and Jack Location: Heritage Hill; Grand Rapids, Michigan Size: 1,000 square feet Years lived in: 2 years; Rented Tyler and Jack have the best-smelling home I’ve toured so far. As I entered their apartment, the scent of pine trees and an Up North campfire hit me. The incense and candle fragrances floated from room to room as dreamy, lounge music from Neon Indian and Bonobo spun on the record player. I began counting the number of iconic chairs in the apartment: fourteen.
Mar 13, 2015