Darlene's Art-Filled Riverside Ranch

Darlene's Art-Filled Riverside Ranch

Mike Hetu
Aug 29, 2014
(Image credit: Mike Hetu)

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.

(Image credit: Mike Hetu)

Darlene, a photographer and professor, has been collecting art since the 1980s when she began trading her own work with other artists. When she started teaching, she purchased pieces from her students and directly from artists. Her vast collection includes work from notable artists such as Lori Nix and Sue Coe. The artwork is thoughtfully displayed throughout Darlene’s home. Each piece is in the perfect place for her to enjoy it, as well as her guests.

(Image credit: Mike Hetu)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Original art takes center stage in my home.

Inspiration: The Diego Rivera murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts were an early and continuing influence. Detroit Industry has a scary but cool narrative. I like the Mexican folkloric culture and color palette of the murals. I have a love for color.

Favorite Element: The wall graphics in the kitchen still make me smile every morning.

Biggest Challenge: Staying on budget.

What Friends Say: Everyone comments on Tim Maddox’s paper kimono made of fast food bags.

Biggest Embarrassment: My studio is always a mess.

Proudest DIY: The yard– from nothing to a real garden in twenty-three short years!

Biggest Indulgence: The step-in Jacuzzi in the bathroom.

Best Advice: Buy original art. It’s often cheaper than mass reproductions if you buy directly from the artist. Look for student shows at your local art college or university art program.

Dream Sources: Herman Miller’s Company Store since I’m re-doing my studio.

(Image credit: Mike Hetu)

Resources of Note:


- Benjamin Moore Serenata (dining room)
- Benjamin Moore Bennington Gray (hall & entry)
- Benjamin Moore Weston Flax (office)
- Benjamin Moore Athena (kitchen, half bath)
- Martha Stewart Green Tea (living room)
- Behr Sand Dune (sunroom)

- Behr Egyptian (bedroom)


- Printing plate art by Patricia Mitchell
- Small wooden sculptures by Philip Joseph
- Folk art by Tom Duimstra

- Fast food bag kimono by Tim Maddox


- Folk art purchased in Oaxaca, Mexico
- Kneeling figure print by Cindi Ford
- Yellow head by Rose Rosely
- Grid painting by Chad Eric Jay
- Photography by Thomas Allen
- Cabbage painting by Bonnie Lalley
- Photo illustration by Michael Glowacki
- side tables: IKEA


- Table: D2D2
- Chairs: IKEA with Herman Miller fabric
- Cut paper artwork by Kelly Allen
- Painting by James Arndt
- Pear photograph
- Camera print by James LaCroix

- Pipe photograph


- Cabinets: Brookhaven horizon rift
- Backsplash: Bliss Cabernet Glass Stone Linear Blend mosaic with orange glass tile accent
- Floor: Inspirations VCT
- Skull print by Salvador Jimenez

- Wall graphic: Tado Flora and Fauna 2 for domestic.uk


- Vintage green decorated cottage bedroom suite
- Draper slipper chair from Home Decorators
- Abstract print by Wilma Lok
- Toy drawing by Diane Zeeuw

- Reproduction of a photograph of Alice Liddell (Alice in Wonderland) by Julia Margaret Cameron
- Sewing chair: IKEA


- Wall tile white matt subway installed vertically; skyline linear glass tile under shower head
- Zera Annex porcelain tile in olive on floor
- Barcalounger triptych by Tom Post
- Fish drawing by Susan Joseph
- Small print by Michele Bosak


- Vintage Ficks Reed bamboo recovered in Sunbrella Ring Toss-O fabric
- Zera Annex porcelain in oyster on floor
- Paintings by Bonnie Lalley


- Wallpaper: Eco Chic
- Cat painting purchased in Chinatown, Portland, OR
- Bear lithograph by Sue Coe

- Beaded perfume bottle by Madeline Kaczmarczyk

(Image credit: Mike Hetu)

Thanks, Darlene!

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