Shawn’s Sunny Heritage Hill Condo

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

Name: Shawn Merkel
Location: Heritage Hill; Grand Rapids, Michigan
Size: 849 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years; Owned

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The adjective “eclectic” can be overused in interior design. But when thinking of how to describe Shawn’s condo, I kept coming back to the word “eclectic.” (The good eclectic.)

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Entryway (Image credit: Mike Hetu)
(Image credit: Mike Hetu)

With items such as mid-century modern dining chairs; an Asian side table and lamp; a paisley-covered, French-inspired chair; an industrial, flat file coffee table; and a contemporary, graphic area rug, Shawn’s condo is eclectic. But it doesn’t look like anyone else’s home. Her effortless mixture of styles makes her home different and comfortable.

Shawn’s condo is five floors below Laura and James’ place. The same large windows allow lots of sunlight for plants. The sun’s warmth, Buddha figures, stones and crystals bring positivity and calm to the home and its inhabitants. During the photo shoot, Shawn’s dachshund Linus took turns napping in the sunlight on the dining room rug and retreating to his bed in Shawn’s room.

(Image credit: Mike Hetu)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Eclectic and casual.

Inspiration: Everything! I love so many different design styles that it’s hard to land on just one. That’s what I do for my clients. For myself, I just keep changing things up.

Favorite Element: The casement windows.

Biggest Challenge: Deciding what to get rid of when I buy something new. Living in a small space makes it necessary to keep only the items that I absolutely love or need. It’s pretty amazing how much I can live without.

What Friends Say: My home is cozy but still big enough to entertain in. I host family and friends on a regular basis – sometimes up to 20 people at a time (especially for pasta night).

Biggest Embarrassment: The kitchen countertop and backsplash. They are original to the condo and I haven’t done anything with them yet.

Proudest DIY: My closet doors. I took apart a four-panel folding screen, attached two panels together and created a door for each closet opening. I’m proud of the reclaimed wood bar in the dining area too.

Biggest Indulgence: Building out my closet space. There was a lot of dead space in my bedroom with a standard closet wall. I decided to build it out to create more storage space. I call it my “attic.”

Best Advice: You don’t need to spend a lot of money to achieve a high-end look. Almost everything that I’ve decorated and furnished with in my last two homes has been repurposed, garage and estate sale finds.

Dream Sources: Estate sales, garage sales, auctions, antique stores. A friend and I call our shopping trips “Shopping for Dead People Stuff.” There are so many beautiful, useful things available secondhand. For example, if the world stopped manufacturing dishes, there would still be enough plates and bowls for everyone on the planet.

(Image credit: Mike Hetu)

Resources of Note:


  • Black lacquer cabinet: Hunt and Gather
  • Moose mirror: The Blue Door

  • Lighting: Lamps Plus

  • Rug: Target
  • Table: Jazzy Junk Consignment Shop
  • Bertoia side chairs: Fine Mod Imports
  • Lighting: Lamps Plus
  • Artwork: quirky postcards and various artists including Shawn’s sons and grandsons; members of Heartside Gallery

  • MCM sideboard: Hunt and Gather
  • MCM tripod tub chair: Hunt and Gather
  • Leopard chair: from Shawn’s former boss
  • Flat file coffee table: a gift from Shawn’s friend
  • Rug: Home Goods
  • Man lamp: Eastown Antiques
  • Floor lamp: World Market

  • Accessories: Target, World Market
  • Artwork: Shawn’s grandson


  • Lighting: IKEA
  • Bedding: Target, Etsy
  • (Image credit: Mike Hetu)

    Thanks, Shawn!

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