Dani & Will's Goodwill Finds

Dani & Will's Goodwill Finds

Mike Hetu
Oct 21, 2014
(Image credit: Mike Hetu)

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. She temporarily moved into the third-floor apartment with Will and his roommate until an apartment on the second level became available for her. When Will's roommate moved out, Dani returned to the third floor.
(Image credit: Mike Hetu)
The apartment consists of mostly vintage and thrifted items. There are furniture pieces with clean lines, low profiles and muted retro colors. Colorful accessories and collectables are thoughtfully arranged throughout the apartment. The space is quirky, comfortable and obviously occupied by hip young people with an appreciation for styles and objects from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Hippy florals, Star Wars and Pabst Blue Ribbon are just a few of the many icons referenced
throughout the space.

(Image credit: Mike Hetu)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Our style is mid-century eclectic with lots of nostalgia.

Inspiration: The inspiration is Will's family. We're trying to emulate his grandparents' style, which sounds strange. But charm, comfort and memories are connected to their style. We want our home to be instantly comfortable. It's not sleek or sterile. There are a lot of small, fun details to look at around the apartment — trinkets to draw people in and make them stay awhile. Accessories are colorful, but the colors are muted and vintage, not too bright or obnoxious. Think mustard, avocado, burnt orange, brown.

Favorite Element: I love the sewing room. I emptied the storage closet and transformed it into a whole new space. We both like the overall space and layout of the apartment. Because we're on the third story, there are slanted ceilings and lots of angles and nooks. Guests can sit in one area, then move to a seat a few feet away in the same room yet feel like they're in a totally different space. And because of all the possibilities from the angles, we move our furniture around a lot. The space constantly feels refreshed.

Biggest Challenge: It's difficult to fill the space quickly. There's so much opportunity and we both have a vision for the apartment. I have an idea in my head of what the space should look like — a mid-century coffee table, a perfectly-measured area rug, more lighting — but I can't seem to find physical objects that match my vision. We thrift a lot but we're not about to take any random thing off the street just for the sake of filling space in the apartment. Each piece needs to be intentional — and perfect.

What Friends Say: Mike Hetu asked, "Can I photograph your apartment?" And the word "cozy" has been used a lot.

Biggest Embarrassment: We're embarrassed that we can't find — or is it can't afford? — what we want. We're waiting to buy items that fit perfectly and look nice.

Proudest DIY: Is it sad that I'm proud of the wood grain contact paper on the storage cabinets? That paper was a pain to install and get straight, but I surprisingly think it looks really good now. The cabinets were all white before. Now they look a little more natural — for being covered with sticky paper! I'm also proud of making the kitchen more functional. There is barely any counter space so we added a lot of hooks on the walls. Charming tea towels and colorful coffee mugs are on display but also ready for use with easy access. And we added a movable butcher block over the stove.

Biggest Indulgence: Godfrey, the clay sculpture in the reading nook. It's a sculpture by Meghan Kelly, a West Michigan sculptor. It was $400. The mid-century tulip side table was $100 on eBay. It was in Oklahoma and the seller offered free shipping. Heck yeah!

Best Advice: Be patient. Your home doesn't need to be completely filled as soon as you move in. Don't buy something just because it's the first thing you see and it can fill an empty space. Wait for the right piece. Also, try searching for items a little outside of your city. Thrifting in Grand Rapids is getting expensive. The "Furniture City" is full of vintage Herman Miller pieces and sellers are finally realizing the furniture is sought after, so they raise the prices. Lately, we've had a lot of luck at thrift stores in Holland. It's only 40 minutes away and the prices are much more reasonable for second-hand furniture. And search ShopGoodwill. It's like eBay but for Goodwill and you have 30 days to pick up your winning bids in person. That way you can buy several pieces within a month and pick up everything in one trip. A huge help if you don't have a car and rely on someone else's transportation.

Dream Sources: I would love for the apartment to look like an Orla Kiely showroom. And anything vintage is good.

(Image credit: Mike Hetu)

Resources of Note:


• Godfrey sculpture by Meghan Kelly
• Most furniture and accessories from Goodwill and Salvation Army
• Art prints by Nick Tisch
• Tulip side table from eBay
• Will's childhood collection of trinkets (the shelf display fits in nicely with these)


• Snoopy artwork and mugs from Goodwill

• Curtains sewn by Dani


  • Orla Kiely shower curtain
    • Grand Rapids and tribal-print pennants sewn by Dani
    • Sewing machine, swivel chair and shelving from Goodwill and Salvation Army
    • School desk found on the curb of another Heritage Hill home

    • Art prints by Nick Tisch

    (Image credit: Mike Hetu)

    Thanks, Dani and Will!

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