House Tour: Chuck and Holly's High School Home

House Tour: Chuck and Holly's High School Home

Janel Laban
Jan 22, 2009

Names: Chuck and Holly
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Size: 1369 sq.ft.
Years lived in: 7 months


(SLIDESHOW IS FIXED - enjoy the tour!)

Can you imagine living at high school? While it may be every sixteen year old's nightmare, Chuck and Holly were able to fully embrace the unique character of their new home. It is located in an old high school building originally built in 1872 which was converted to condos in 2005. The conversion was done with an eye on the past as the space retains some of details from the original use - their wood floors are from the boys gymnasium!


Chuck is one busy man - he recently had a book of his work, Wandering Off Into Space, come out and he works with clients as diverse as Puma, Vans and URB. Factor in getting their new home up to snuff and photographed for this tour - it made for a hectic end to 2008.

But, as we like to say at AT, nothing you do for your home is ever wasted, and now the couple can relax and enjoy their unique and modern space. Their love for clean lined design is evident in their decor choices yet the artwork featured throughout takes the cool crispness down a notch; making the space both more personal and beautiful.

AT Survey:

My Style: My style leans towards a more minimal, clean-line, almost art gallery-like style and Holly loves mid-century modern furniture and slightly warmer interiors. We both also love designers like Si Scott and Tord Boontje, whose detailed work juxtaposes well against very simple rooms and colors.

Inspiration: Our condo is still a work in progress, but we've been inspired by some of the art we've picked out for our place; as well as by a lot of the unique features of the condo that were left over from the original school building.

Favorite Element: The wood floors. They are the original wood flooring from the boys' gymnasium in the school and have been beautifully refinished. Some units down the hall from us even have original basketball lines on the floors. They add a lot of character to the place along with the custom concrete fireplace 'wall'. We also really love our balcony in the summer.

Biggest Challenge: Finding storage space. We really have nowhere but a separated garage to store things in, and we don't want to be packrats so even that is pretty bare. However, the reality is you're always going to need to a place to put that extra stuff that isn't meant to be out all the time, and we really only have one real closet in our place. It's been a challenge not only logistically for our place but for us personally as well.

What Friends Say: "Do you get tired of all those stairs?" and "Can I use a bathroom with a real door?" Ha…On a positive note, they've said it's a really fun place to come over and hang out at. They like that it's a modern yet comfortable and homey place.

Biggest Embarrassment: We have two cats, so the tumbleweeds that form on the wood floors from their shed hair. And the fact that all the doors in our place are translucent glass and surface sliding doors with no locks. Guests using the bathrooms for the first time are always a little unsure about that…. I think I still am too sometimes.

Proudest DIY: Probably the canvas I made and had printed for above our bed.

Biggest Indulgence: The condo itself was the biggest indulgence. We're the first owners of this unit in our building, and it has a lot of custom built-ins and upgrades like the kitchen countertops, the office space (desk & shelves already built), and the cabinets/concrete wall/fireplace in the family room. Other than that, my Aeron chair and books are probably the biggest indulgences.

Best advice: Surround yourself with things that make you happy, things you love, and most of all things that fit and make sense in your space. Holly and I both like lots of different artists, styles, and colors, but a lot of them just wouldn't be a fit for our place, so we try not to force anything. If you have to have something by a certain artist or designer on display, but their art isn't accessible or it's too expensive, there's always a good chance they have a book you can buy and put out.

Dream source: Holly would settle for a shopping spree at IKEA over just about anything else. Even Target. There's a lot of satisfaction in getting good design at a good price. But on a dream level, it would be nice to shop at The Future Perfect in Brooklyn or A+R in LA.



Living Room and Kitchen
-Bertoia-style side chairs: (we'd love to update to real ones eventually…but the cats love these)
-LEM-style bar stools:
-Living room prints: Si Scott (
-Fabric canvas & pillows: IKEA Fabric
-Sofa & end tables: IKEA
-Laser cut vases & bathroom curtain: Tord Boontje
-Balcony Furniture: IKEA
-Chalkboard: Salvaged from our original building
-Herman Miller Nelson Bench: DesignQuest in Grand Rapids
-Cat scratching post: made by our friend Tim

-Prints: By Chuck (
-Chair: Herman Miller Aeron – from Room & Board in Chicago

-Bed: IKEA (Malm)
-Bedspread: Target
-Lamps: IKEA
-Canvas print: Made for Holly by Chuck

-Prints:, Southfield, MI
-Fabric curtains+pillows: Made by Holly from mostly IKEA fabric
-Chair: IKEA
-Paint color: Behr-Sterling
-Pillow by KAWS -


Thanks to Chuck and Holly!

Photos: Chuck Anderson

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