Jenny & Jim’s Appreciation of Art

published Aug 15, 2015
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(Image credit: Mike Hetu)

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

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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. Jenny and husband Jim are happy in their ranch house and proud of the renovations and designs they’ve completed, but Jenny tells me how often people ask them about their next house. “Next house?” she says. “We want to stay here.” It’s good to meet a young family that is committed to what it has now and isn’t too anxious to move onto what’s new and next.

(Image credit: Mike Hetu)

Jenny and Jim mix iconic designer furniture pieces and accessories (like Knoll, Panton, Eames, and Aalto) with big-box finds from Target, Art Van, and IKEA. The result is a genuine, down-to-earth, and comfortable home that gives you a little nudge as if to say, “I also know a thing or two about art and design.”

There is an impressive amount of artwork on display in the house. The kids are surrounded by artwork in their bedrooms, the family is surrounded by artwork while seated at the dining room table, and Jenny and Lily each display their paintings. Art is appreciated and encouraged.

(Image credit: Mike Hetu)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Very eclectic with a heavy mid-century modern influence.

Inspiration: Domino Magazine, Elle Décor, Anthropologie, Serena & Lily, Kelly Wearstler, Joy Cho, Rue Magazine, Pinterest, and Apartment Therapy!

Favorite Element: The wood floors! They keep our house feeling open, are great for our allergies and asthma, and they are incredibly easy to clean.

Biggest Challenge: The living room layout. There are doorways everywhere and it’s the pathway to the bedrooms, so arranging the furniture to help maintain the flow through the space is difficult.

What Friends Say: “Wow! That’s neat! Where’d you get that?” We have lots of little trinkets around that we have collected on trips or at thrift stores, antique stores, consignment shops, garage sales, you name it… There are many things around that are one-of-a-kind or very old.

Biggest Embarrassment: The fact that we are still not finished with the basement. We started finishing it about three months after we moved in, but babies have come and, well, anyone with kids knows how that goes… Things take much longer to complete!

Proudest DIY: Our basement bathroom. That was a team effort between Jim and my dad. It was a lot of work, as there was literally nothing there to start with. They built it from scratch.

Biggest Indulgence: I would have to say the basement bathroom. You can swing dance in there. It’s pretty huge with really nice tile in the shower and a huge soaking tub. It’s actually nicer than our bathroom on the main floor!

Best Advice: Be willing to think outside the box and try new things. For a while we had our dining room and living room swapped because the layout just wasn’t working at that time. Then we moved it back again when we started changing the way we used the space.

Dream Sources: Baker, Herman Miller (the classics), Knoll (the classics), The Bright Group


(Image credit: Mike Hetu)


  • Living room: Sherwin Williams Sea Salt
  • Dining room: Sherwin Williams Sea Salt
  • Dining room accent wall (above): Sherwin Williams Rainstorm
  • Lily’s bedroom: Sherwin Williams Eider White
  • James’ bedroom: Sherwin Williams Nebulous White
  • Master bedroom: Benjamin Moore Butte Rock
  • Main floor bathroom: Sherwin Williams Nebulous White
(Image credit: Mike Hetu)


  • Large mirror: garage sale find, refinished, repainted with Sherwin Williams Rainstorm
(Image credit: Mike Hetu)


  • Wingback chair: IKEA
  • Loveseat: IKEA
  • Marble top credenzas: Vintage Florence Knoll by Knoll
  • Cherner-style chair: vintage from Jim’s grandma Aileen Mueller
  • Large leather ottoman: Art Van
  • Table lamp: Target
  • Faux Arco floor lamp: Amazon
  • Large Triangles painting: by Jenny
  • Kids’ table: IKEA
  • Danish modern wall unit: garage sale
  • Butterfly: souvenir from Costa Rica
  • Alvar Aalto vase and Nambe Bowl: gifts from my former coworkers from the University of Michigan Campus Design Team
  • Brass Elephant: garage sale
  • Vintage radio (it still works!): from Jim’s grandpa Harry Mueller
(Image credit: Mike Hetu)


  • Table: IKEA
  • Chairs: Classic Verner Panton Chair from Vitra
  • Ceiling pendant: IKEA
  • Custom illustration of the house: by Katie Jarman
  • Cast iron hand: flea market in NC
  • Abstract painting: by Lily
  • Painting of man with donkey: by Jenny’s granny Marianne Strickland
  • Gin painting: vintage from El Dorado General Store, run by Erin Gavle in Corktown, Detroit
(Image credit: Mike Hetu)


  • Ceiling light: IKEA
  • Pendant above sink: Allen & Roth for Lowe’s
  • Tile collection: Pewabic Pottery in Detroit and Motawi Tileworks in Ann Arbor
  • Photo magnets: Sticky9
  • Ceramic collection (on windowsills): Michaels Craft Store, Acme Mercantile in Ann Arbor, Flea Markets in NC
(Image credit: Mike Hetu)


  • Cherry dresser: Hooker Furniture
  • Marble top bedside tables: Hooker Furniture
  • Bedding: IKEA, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Mirror: handmade from Ludington, MI
  • Bedside table lamps: IKEA
  • Faux deer bust: Urban Outfitters
  • Large amethyst and rose quartz on bedside table: found in the front yard while gardening
  • Floor runner: Target
  • Vintage perfume tray: flea market at Greenmead in Livonia, MI
  • Vintage sewing drawers: garage sale
  • Necklace tree: Urban Outfitters
  • Spice rack (holding essential oils): World Market
  • Clay vase: Costa Rica
  • Kissing couple (carved wood): Jamaica
(Image credit: Mike Hetu)


  • Shelving unit: Target
  • Bed: vintage Jenny Lind, found on eBay, refinished
  • Pink floral quilt: Indian Kantha, found on eBay find
  • Bedside table: garage sale find, refinished
  • Toy box: garage sale find, painted Sherwin Williams Hep Green
  • Elephant stool: Eames Elephant from Vitra
  • Play kitchen: Kidcraft for Meijer
  • Curtains: IKEA
  • Rocking chair: vintage, custom-reupholstered for Lily as a gift
  • Dresser: vintage (belonged to Jenny’s Grandma Mary MacLeod), pulls from World Market
  • Gummy bear lamp: Land of Nod
  • Square photo prints and clothesline: Sticky9
  • Rabbit pillow: artgoodies
  • Teal vase: Pewabic Pottery in Detroit
  • Birds (from on top of Jenny and Jim’s wedding cake): BlueButterflyDesign on Etsy
  • World map: Amazon
  • Lily’s name print: by Jenny’s friend Shawna Brenner
  • Abstract canvas paintings: by Lily
  • You Are My Sunshine: Go Jump In the Lake on Etsy
  • Geometric postcards: Herman Miller from NeoCon 2013
  • Yellow bird: John Derian for Target
  • Teal bird: Charley Harper
  • Stripes print: print of a Paul Smith design
  • Roses print: print of a Paul Smith design
(Image credit: Mike Hetu)


  • Glider: garage sale find, reupholstered by Jenny’s grandpa Douglas MacLeod
  • Pouf: Target
  • Crib, changing table, and dresser: Target, dresser pulls from World Market
  • Rug: purchased from University of Michigan’s Property Disposition Warehouse
  • Animal wall hooks: Urban Outfitters
  • Book rack: repurposed plate rack purchased at a garage sale
  • Growth chart: KimsSister on Etsy
  • Ceramic fish: Allen & Roth for Lowe’s
  • Brass duck family: antique find in Pentwater, MI
  • Melted crayon art: by Jenny and Jim’s future brother-in-law Patrick Iadipaolo
  • Pirate ship painting: thrift store find
  • Red, white, and blue mini canvases: by Lily
  • Mountainscape watercolor: by great uncle Jim Riopelle
  • Cast iron octopus and fishbones: flea market in NC
  • Whales watercolor: by Amy Hamilton for Society6
  • Orange octopus print: by Madeleine Thoma for Society6
  • Brass fish: antique find in Pentwater, MI
  • Whale painting: by Jenny’s friend Laura Spoutz
  • White metal anchor: Target
  • Black and white feather photo: by Amber Brown
(Image credit: Mike Hetu)


  • Shower curtain: IKEA
  • Light fixture: Menard’s
  • Fish vase: vintage from Maude’s Garage in Ludington, MI
  • Tea tins: vintage from a thrift store
  • Glass jar: Crate & Barrel
  • Paintings: by Lily
  • Glass owl nightlight: Keltic Fyre on Etsy by second cousins Jennifer and Joe Rutherford
(Image credit: Mike Hetu)


  • Sofa: Art Van
  • Green armchairs: IKEA
  • White rocking chair: Herman Miller Collection, Eames molded plastic armchair rocker base
  • Credenza: vintage from Jim’s grandma Aileen Mueller
  • Desk: vintage Steelcase, purchased from University of Michigan’s Property Disposition Warehouse
  • Desk chair: vintage Steelcase, purchased from University of Michigan’s Property Disposition Warehouse
  • Beer mirrors and O’Connor’s sign: vintage from the liquor store that Jim’s dad used to own
  • Bar: vintage, gifted from a friend’s parents
  • Bar stools: garage sale find
  • Large flower painting (in progress): by Jenny

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Thanks, Jenny & Jim!