Shelly & Curt’s Modern Tastes Meet Family Practicality

published Sep 16, 2015
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(Image credit: Mike Hetu)

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

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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. Maybe it’s the smooth flow from room to room, framed by charming, slanting door casings. Maybe it’s the fluffy white dog, chilling on the sectional and blinking at me with one eye. Or perhaps it’s the temporary absence of three-year-old twins.

(Image credit: Mike Hetu)

Shelly, along with her mom, founded
k studio, a housewares brand. Inspired by the line work in her own paintings, Shelly designs pillows, tote bags, tea towels, sachet sets and more. She operates k studio out of her house, using a former hair salon (attached to the house) as her embroidery and sewing studio.

(And thank you to Lisa Price from the Artgoodies House Tour for referring me to Shelly.)

(Image credit: Mike Hetu)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Minimal, simple, tidy.

Inspiration: We are inspired by our work and by our kids. I am a visual artist and founder of k studio, a product line featuring my designs, and Curt is a writer for Herman Miller. We are both surrounded by design on a daily basis so our home is a natural reflection of our combined aesthetic.

Favorite Element: There are so many things to love about this house. The light, the historic elements, our new kitchen. But for me the best thing about this house is the ample studio space. I run k studio out of a separate building attached to the back of the house. It was originally built as a hair salon but was easily converted to accommodate my business. The extra bedroom on the main floor of the house is my painting studio.

Biggest Challenge: Toys! We have three-year-old twins. Figuring out a way to keep the house from looking like a day care center has been a challenge.

What Friends Say: How are you able to have a white sofa with kids and pets? (Our answer: It’s pleather. We just clean it with Windex.)

Biggest Embarrassment: Pleather sofa. See above.

Proudest DIY: Pillows and art!

Biggest Indulgence: We put in a new kitchen when we were anticipating the arrival of our twins. It was a great decision. I had no idea how much I would appreciate it.

Best Advice: Try to love the place you live now. There will always be a cooler apartment or a better house, but you leave your mark on a place the longer you live there, and there’s a real comfort in a place that feels like you.

Dream Sources: We are very lucky. We actually have access to our dream sources. Through my work, I know so many artists and designers, so I’ve been able to trade my pieces with them. Curt and I love having beautiful things created by people we know and care about. And because Curt works for Herman Miller, he has access to exactly the furniture we want.


(Image credit: Mike Hetu)


• Carpet: FLOR housepet • Furniture: IKEA • Ceramic Art by
Michael Pfleghaar • Baby Print by
Aron Lowe • Dotted Pillow:
k studio • Oval Face Pillow:
k studio • Knitted Throw: Made with love by friend
(Image credit: Mike Hetu)


• Swing Arm Lamp: West Elm • Eames Molded Plywood Chairs: Herman Miller • Eames Rectangular Coffee Table: Herman Miller • Mounted Cabinet: Herman Miller Factory Store • Plant Stand and Pot: Menu Design Shop • Geometric Throw: West Elm • Heart Pillow:
k studio • Folks Pillow:
k studio • Strange Perspective Pillow:
k studio • Round X Pillow:
k studio • Rabbits Pillow:
k studio • Horses Pillow:
k studio • Art:
Saul Gray-Hildenbrand • Relief Sculpture:
Rebecca Green • Kids Table and Chairs: Shelly’s from childhood • Dollhouse: Hape • Cutest One-Eyed Dog in the World:
(Image credit: Mike Hetu)


• Eames Shell Chairs: Herman Miller • Chair One Chairs: Herman Miller • Desk: Curt’s dad’s desk • Bag:
k studio • Adult Coloring Book:
Escape Artists • Log Print:
Aron Lowe • Swimmers Painting:
Shelly Klein • Lemurs:
The Animal Print Shop • Earthmover/Bacon Tracks:
Brett Colley • Man Drawing:
Saul Gray-Hildenbrand • Devil Head:
Mary Ellen McNaughton • Two Birds Painting:
Janet Teunis • Scotty Painting:
Christy Dehoog-Johnson • Stitched Parakeet:
k studio • Tiny Bird: Cat Campbell • Love Letter Painting:

• House Portraits: Elizabeth Mayville

(Image credit: Mike Hetu)


• Cabinets: IKEA • Herman Miller Picnic Poster: Steve Frykholm • Pedestal Fruit Bowl:
Tina Frey • Rabbit Linen Tea Towel:
(Image credit: Mike Hetu)


• Work by

• Mobile: Jan Carson

(Image credit: Mike Hetu)


• Art:

• Nelson Pedestal Stool: Herman Miller

(Image credit: Mike Hetu)


• Chair:
In House Furniture • Strange Perspective Pillow:
k studio • X’s Pillow:
k studio • White Animal Man Figure:
k studio • Large Streetscape Painting:
Elizabeth Mayville • Eclipse Painting:
Shelly Klein • Spots Painting:

• Dressers: IKEA

(Image credit: Mike Hetu)


• Cribs: IKEA • Toy Box:
Design Quest • Stitched Art Piece:
Shelly Klein • Dinosaur Photo:
Tommy Allen • Twin Bears Photo:
The Animal Print Shop • Clothesline Drawing:
Kelly Allen • Elephant Clock: George Nelson • Bird Pillow:
(Image credit: Mike Hetu)

k studio

• Blue Dog Painting: from Shelly’s BFA show

• All Textiles: k studio

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Thanks to Shelly, Curt, Marty, Nora, Sugar & Ben!