When she was 16, artist Mary-Catheryn Baker met her current husband Jordan. You can bet his company was more than welcome as young Mary-Catheryn had just moved to the States from South America and was, unsurprisingly, in the midst of a culture shock. For years they trekked through life together as he showed her the ropes and, eventually, asked for her hand. Then came the children. Three to be exact and each one an adventure in their own right. All in all it’s been a whirlwind of a life for the couple, and their latest escapade, turning a house outside Grand Rapids, MI into a home, has been no different.
Situated on nearly three acres, the spot was move-in ready and fairly updated when the family took it over a year ago. Fair wasn’t enough for this creative duo though. Instead, they’ve worked tirelessly to make it a vibrant space for their growing brood. Gone are several of the 90s-era furnishings that used to dominate the rooms and in their place are cheerful colors and paintings courtesy of the family’s creative matriarch. Mary-Catheryn didn’t let the edges of a canvas box in her creativity though. No, no, no. She’s expanded her work to include more than just framed pieces decked out in bustling florals and charming animals. Lately she’s used her talents to add pattern and zest to the actual walls of her and Jordan’s property though hand-painted wallpapers and popping paint colors. (Pay close attention to the laundry room. Her work there is some of the best we’ve ever featured.)
Sure it’s filled with paintings, color and cheer, but the home this couple has crafted is much more than just a pretty place. You see, Mary-Catheryn comes from a country where more people than not don’t have homes at all. She says “I grew up in South America, in a 3rd world country where poverty and homelessness is the norm. To have a home, and a nice one, is something that I appreciate every single day of my life.” And as she walks her house’s halls and her children play on the plot she and her husband have worked so hard to provide them with, she’s reminded of the many gifts the family has been given. Scroll down to check out the humble Baker brood’s slice of the American dream. Enjoy! —Garrett
Photography by Mary-Catheryn Baker
Image above: The look of Mary-Catheryn’s at-home studio — which is set against walls she painted herself — changes almost weekly as the works that decorate it come and go.