Laura’s Heritage Hill Menagerie
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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.
Laura, a dental hygienist by day and illustrator by night, uses her artistic eye to curate the colors and quirky trinkets throughout her home. I’ve known her for many years and have witnessed the evolution of her interior design style. And over time, her DIY projects and styling have become more and more clever.
Laura has reupholstered furniture and sewn new pillow covers (with nature motifs to relate nicely to the plants throughout her home). Wine glasses and birch tree limbs are transformed into candleholders. Mason jars are filled with snowy landscapes. A hand-me-down media stand is updated with hand-painted gold chevrons.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Urban eclectic with natural and thrifty DIY elements. I like mixing my space with pops of color and patterns. My style has really evolved over time — from college dorm chic to what it is now. I love changing up the look of my place, so I never get bored.
Inspiration: Anthropologie, Pinterest, design magazines, nature, mid-century modern, vintage.
Favorite Element: All of my plants. They really add life to my place, especially in the winter months. I don’t have a green thumb per se, so it has taken some trial and error in finding plants that can thrive. I’ve found succulents to be pretty easy.
Biggest Challenge: Not having enough storage space or a walk-in closet. Also, my kitchen is really small with barely any counter space, which can be challenging when cooking with lots of ingredients.
What Friends Say: The space is creative, cozy, and has a lot of great little touches. They love how my home looks a little different every time they visit.
Biggest Embarrassment: The kitchen. I can’t change the look because it’s a rental, but the linoleum floor and counters are very dated. Whenever I clean the floor, it still looks dirty! Plus the edges of the floor and counter are peeling.
Proudest DIY: The chair in my bedroom. I reupholstered the cushions with a brighter color fabric. The previous cushions were a lovely 1970s orange and mustard. That was my biggest sewing project.
Biggest Indulgence: I’ve had a couple of roommates in previous years, but now I have the second bedroom to use as I please. Currently, it is my studio/office. It is so much nicer having an extra room for my desks.
Best Advice: Make your home a place you love coming home to. It should reflect who you are and it should have character. Designing your home won’t necessarily happen overnight — it took me about eight years to get my place to where I am really pleased and happy with it. So, be patient.
Dream Sources: Anthropologie, Crate & Barrel, CB2, Room & Board, West Elm and IKEA.
Resources of Note:
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