A Local Interior Designer Shares Her Gallery Wall in Her Midtown Apartment

After a decade collecting art, Caitlin Rowley transformed her living room into a gallery of conversation starters
gallery wall
Interior Designer Caitlin Rowley pictured above in from of the gallery wall in her Midtown, Detroit, living room.

“I always wanted to move to the city, my entire life,” says interior designer Caitlin Rowley, who grew up in Fenton. As a student at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies, Rowley commuted from her hometown for a couple of years, before fulfilling her city dream and moving to Detroit’s Boston-Edison neighborhood, then to a few other spots in Detroit and Royal Oak. Now she’s happily living in Midtown Detroit with her cat, Ozzy, in the 15-unit Keyes building, which features four floors of restored apartments, replete with original window casings and trim, plaster walls, old hardware, antiquated radiators, historic doors and doorknobs, and other vintage touches. 

The pièce de résistance in Rowley’s home is her eclectic living room gallery wall, which has a window between two wall-art collections. It features works by artists near and far, amid an arrangement of accents and furnishings that’s both creative and inviting. That’s no surprise, as Rowley is an interior designer at Ellwood Interiors in Birmingham.

The art lover says the apartment’s design goes with her style. “I mix a lot of different eras of furniture and that gives it this unique charm, and most of my stuff is neutral, so the walls of art give the space the color.” She’s been collecting art in the way of originals and prints for about 10 years. “I get my art as gifts, from traveling, or from discovering an artist on social media,” she says. “My home is a story — a timeline — of me.” 

A Closer Look at Caitlin Rowley’s Gallery Wall

Surfers and whales and snakes, oh my!

“My print of surfers, by Leah Reena Goren (8), came from a print shop in California. The whales (9) are Northwest art and were purchased at the Seattle Art Museum. A snake print by Colour Poems (10) was a gift from a friend; I have a snake tattoo.” 

Hot and cold

Sandra Poliakov created the “Sun Salutation” (11) and “Calm Woman” (12)art works.

Pop culture

“I have a [copy of a] print by Keith Haring (13). He is one of my favorite artists from that time period, so it was a thoughtful gift. I like his style (which is characterized by the repetition of stylized shapes in bright, vibrant colors and outlined in black).”

Tips of the trade

“Don’t be afraid of things that you feel don’t go together,” the designer says. “Mix photography in with the abstract. Mix prints, canvases, and different types of frames.” 

Favorite pieces

A lucky-13 black-cat piece (1) and an “Enter” sign (2), both by her brother, Jordan Kabalka, who now lives in Alabama. “I am drawn to dark, creepy illustrations, so these are very much up my alley.” 

I’m watching you

A wallpaper sample from Maharam displays an eyeball pattern (3). Founded in 1902, Maharam is a leading creator of textiles for commercial and residential interiors.

More items

You’ll also see a cheerful floral work by Hollis Callas (4) and a print of a hand sketch of a triangular structure by Detroit’s Jeremy Johnson (5). A work featuring a contemplative woman with vibrant red lips (6), by German-born illustrator Hanna Barczyk, also gets a spot on the wall. Meanwhile, a bright, botanical illustration by Sewzinski (7) pulls several colors together.

This story is from the April 2022 issue of Hour Detroit. Read more in our digital editionAnd click here to see more metro Detroit interiors.