This Small Michigan Rental Is Filled With DIYs and Decked Out for Pride

published Jun 21, 2022

This Small Michigan Rental Is Filled With DIYs and Decked Out for Pride

published Jun 21, 2022
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Bedrooms
Square feet
670
Sq ft
670
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Name: Daniel Parkington, husband Geof Parkington, pet Stella
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Size: 670 square feet
Type of Home: Mid-rise apartment building
Years lived in: 7 years, renting

Daniel and his husband Geof love their rental apartment… they actually got married here! “We kept it a total secret and invited our friends over for what they thought was just a cocktail party,” Daniel admits. “We host a lot of parties and it really is the perfect space for it.” In fact, despite only being 670 square feet, Daniel and Geof squeeze a lot out of their home. Beyond being the perfect party place, it also stylishly stores a lot: 40 sets of new and vintage glassware for Daniel and 434 Lego sets, 790 mini figures, and over 900 action figures for Geof.

The couple has done an incredible job of maximizing not only the inside of their home, but their outside, too: Their balcony is a stylish extension of their living space. It’s also one of the spots that gets decorated for the holidays, which Daniel says he does year round. Right now, it’s decked out for Pride!

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I think discreet quirky or subtly maximalist describes it best. I love kitsch but I try to keep it restrained. A big part of my style is my husband’s massive Lego and toy collection. I like working it in while still having it read that childless adults live here. It started with the “Star Wars” table. He wanted to store the TIE fighter, and I thought it was pointless to have something that big taking up our limited space. I gave my dad the dimensions and he made us this amazing table that we love. It really became a focal point and vibe setter for the rest of the apartment.

Inspiration: This is not pandering, Apartment Therapy was so formative to me when I got my first apartment. I have been a fan for so long, like, dating back to 2009. I love looking at the home tours, and still do. I also take a lot of my interior decorating ideas from fashion. I have always loved Raf Simons and I think his home in Antwerp is absolutely perfect. Also, Jenna Lyons calling leopard a neutral always stuck with me and I will never say no to leopard.

Favorite Element: Hands-down the best part of our apartment is the balcony. I decorate it for every holiday so it’s become a bit of a landmark in our area.

In the warmer months we basically live out there. It’s coffee in the morning and martinis in… any time after noon. I get to feel like Ina Garten clipping my own parsley and basil while “my” Geoffry is away at work. A balcony is also so great for small dogs; reusable dog grass is amazing. Don’t clean them with bleach though; I feel like it just breaks down the plastic and makes them smell worse. I just clean ours in the shower with soap and water. Stella has a little Bluetooth doorbell that she uses and abuses to go out on the balcony. Most of the time she just rings it to go lay out in the sun.

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? Our coffee table. I worked at a Solstice Sunglass Boutique about 12 years ago and they let us take some fixtures when they closed our location. It was originally counter height and I had the legs cut down to make it a coffee table. I love it; I switch out the display all the time and I use the drawer that was originally for sunglass cases to hold my scrap sewing fabric. It is just as heavy as it looks though; I still dread moving it.

Biggest Challenge: Storage. We both love collecting things that take up a lot of space. I have about 40 sets of new and vintage glassware. Geof collects action figures and Legos. Currently he has 434 Lego sets, 790 mini figures, and over 900 action figures. We limit our storage to apartment only though; if we ever got a storage unit things might get out of control. I stacked a cube storage unit on a dresser in our bedroom that mainly holds all of Geof’s collection.

Proudest DIY: I will DIY until the day I die. It’s the best way to vibe on a budget. I have so many that I don’t think I can land on one. Almost everything we own is something that I got on sale and gave a makeover in our color palette. I just think everything looks better after I add some houndstooth contact paper and a copper accent. I make all of Stella’s toys, too. They’re always all over the place; I like them to match the apartment.

Biggest Indulgence: I don’t know if it’s really an indulgence, I just feel like we’ve spent a small fortune on lighting. Smart bulbs and specialty lighting really adds up. We don’t have any overhead lighting so I mounted puck lights under most of our side tables. It lights the space really well and isn’t harsh. I also lit up our balcony like a Christmas tree. Color-changing flood lights, string lights, fairy lights. Basically every kind of light out there. I think lighting can really make or break a party, so it’s totally worth it.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? Get an air purifier! It makes such a difference. We have big windows and when the sun is shining in it magnifies every piece of dust. It would always look like a snow globe with the dust floating around. We’ve tried a few and really love our Bissell Air220.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Beverage dispensers aren’t just for parties, we keep one out all the time. It’s a great reminder to stay hydrated and doesn’t waste cabinet space if you keep it out. Same with our grab-and-go snacks. I put them out in apothecary jars on the counter. I also love decorating for every holiday. I make sure to mix-and-match my decorations though. Rainbow Pride also works for St. Patrick’s Day, add some spiders to Easter eggs for Halloween — you just have to get creative.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Fresh flowers don’t have to be an expensive treat! I always have some on our island and in the bathroom. Just pick flowers that last a long time, and filler is your friend! Ruscus is an evergreen that keeps for months. I like using that so you can get away with buying smaller flower bundles. Or even just one or two large blooms. I usually go with Alstroemeria or carnations; I know they’re considered lowbrow in the flower world. I don’t care, they last forever and look great. I can usually keep a bunch looking good for two weeks.

Resources

LIVING ROOM

  • Sofa — Wayfair Jodanna Flared Arm Sofa
  • Hutch — Facebook Marketplace
  • Lego Storage Bricks — Wayfair
  • Sideboard — Craigslist
  • Lockers — Free from a store closing
  • Coffee Table — Free from a store closing
  • Side Chairs — Target
  • Footstool — Target (I painted and recovered it)
  • Dressform — eBay (I recovered it in gray)
  • Two tier end table — Family Heirloom (Made by my uncle in the ’70s and refinished by me)
  • TIE Fighter table — Made by my dad
  • Tree Planter — Homegoods (I painted it and added hairpin legs)
  • Small planters — Assorted places, I added contract paper to most of them

KITCHEN

  • Beverage Dispenser Stand — Crate & Barrel 
  • Beverage Dispenser — Homegoods
  • Cake Stand — World Market
  • Cloche — Homegoods
  • 3 Tier Tray — Homegoods
  • Apothecary Jars — Homegoods
  • Harness Vase — Pansy Ass Ceramics
  • Rooster Candy Jar — eBay
  • Stools — Wayfair

BEDROOM

  • Drawers — Homegoods (I painted it and added contact paper and copper knobs)
  • Shelves — Amazon
  • Towels — Homegoods
  • Nightstand Dresser — Family heirloom (my Grandpa made it when he was young and I refinished it)
  • Houndstooth Nightstand — Wayfair (I painted it and added the houndstooth contact paper)
  • Dresser and Cube storage — Target
  • Air Purifier — Bissell air22

BALCONY

  • Coffee table — DIY from a washing machine drum
  • Chairs — Target (I painted them gold)
  • Cushions — Homegoods
  • Rug — Amazon
  • Planters — Assorted, mostly DIY. I painted wire baskets gold and found planters that fit inside them.

Thanks Daniel and Geof!

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.