Looking Back at 2017

Michelle Gage // Looking Back at 2017
Michelle Gage // Looking Back at 2017
Michelle Gage // Looking Back at 2017
Michelle Gage // Looking Back at 2017
Michelle Gage // Looking Back at 2017
Michelle Gage // Looking Back at 2017
Michelle Gage // Looking Back at 2017

Happy New Year!

This year has been one wild ride, but I wouldn't change it for the world. I have learned so much in 2017, it's hard to say what lessons have been the most valuable. Professionally, I've grown leaps and bounds. I feel so blessed to have wonderful clients, who trust me to come into their lives and totally transform their homes. While there are hard days, this is truly a dream job - something I've chased after since I was seven years old. 

We have been lucky enough to travel to Paris, adopt a second pup and move into our forever home. In Paris, we shopped the flea market (!!!). Our second little nugget is just so in love with our first one; it's so heartwarming to witness. She has changed our lives for the better. In the summer, we started looking for our next fixer upper. Luckily, we found our dream home and moved in November. We'll be busy fixing it up for the next two years or so, which I plan to document here and on Instagram.

In early December, I returned back to a favorite project of mine to style and shoot the space. This client (we'll call her Lola), was amazing to work with. Lola was completely trusting of the process and wanted to see her empty shell totally transformed. Wish granted! To see more shots from Lola's space, click here.

Before + After: My Living Room Reveal

Michelle Gage // Before + After: My Living Room Reveal
Michelle Gage // Before + After: My Living Room Reveal
Michelle Gage // Before + After: My Living Room Reveal
Michelle Gage // Before + After: My Living Room Reveal
Michelle Gage // Before + After: My Living Room Reveal
Michelle Gage // Before + After: My Living Room Reveal
Michelle Gage // Before + After: My Living Room Reveal
Michelle Gage // Before + After: My Living Room Reveal
Michelle Gage // Before + After: My Living Room Reveal
Michelle Gage // Before + After: My Living Room Reveal

Our living room is HANDS DOWN our favorite room of our house and I am so excited to share a little bit more about it! The "before" photos that you are seeing was what we walked into as potential home buyers. While the space didn't reflect our style whatsoever, there was a certain warmth and charm to the way the previous owner decorated. We saw that the space had potential. 

It is a long and narrow space, so coming up with the perfect layout was hard - I'm still not sure that this is it. When dealing with such a skinny space, you don't want to chop it up by placing a sofa dead center. Our Anthropologie sofa tucked in nicely next to the stairs. We flanked each side with a vintage trunk. The blue trunk is a find from college. Alex and I scored that baby for TWENTY BUCKS at our town's YMCA. The brown and more beaten up piece came from a local estate sale. It was one of the first pieces we bought specifically for this home. Truthfully, we didn't do anything to get it out of its weathered state. We liked it just the way it was and I'm not a big believer of restoring vintage finds - especially ones that cost just $75. 

Our first order of business when tackling this transformation was to rip up the hideous orange carpet on the stairs. We really wanted our entry way to be a focal point in the space. In order to complete that mission, we added a wallpapered accent wall. This print is one I had been coveting for years and makes me smile every day. It's one of the first things that guests notice when they walk into our home - that and the teal vintage table. While few people have actually spotted them, we do have a quirky pair of vintage roller skates at the bottom of the stairs. We picked them up at a local flea market last summer for just $15. 

We filled this space with our favorite vintage finds from the last few years. Each piece has a story. Nearly all of the artwork and decorative objects came from a thrift store, flea market or estate sale. The campaign dresser was a Goodwill find. The cream cabinet came from my parents unfinished basement - something that was neglected for over forty years.

The one thing that we loved about the original space was the vintage mirror hanging over the fireplace. We actually tried to buy the seller's off of her but she wasn't willing to part with it. We found a similar style a few months later at an estate sale and hung it up immediately. We knew we didn't want a TV in this space, so the fireplace was going to house either a mirror or art.

One of the features that drew us to this space was the fireplace and built-ins. Luckily, they were already in good shape and not in need of additional TLC. That section of the room is where Alex frequents; it's his reading corner. Fun fact, he has hand selected each and every vintage book in our house - we're talking about hundreds of books, people! Being the grandpa that he is, he actually reads them cover to cover. With such a steady hobby, I wanted to get him a special chair. This chair and ottoman set was a Craig's List find. The cushions were a terrible mauve paisley print and desperately needed an update. We ordered some soft grey yardage with a West Elm gift card and had a local shop stitch it up. We're pretty pleased with the results. 

You want your front room to show off your style. Our personality is certainly reflected in the other rooms of our house, but our living room captures "us" best. It's filled with Alex's favorite books and my favorite art. It houses the brass car horn we got at The Rose Bowl while visiting friends in LA. It holds the black and white ceramic dog, passed down from Alex's grandfather. This is a space that just makes us love coming home.