One Room Challenge: The BIGGEST Change We're Making In The Master Bedroom

 

Alex and I have been sharing a bedroom since graduating from college in 2012. Yes, we lived in unmarried sin for four years. Get over it. 

Right as we graduated, we sensed that our little apartment was missing one thing - a playful pup! We got our first (rescue) doggie a month after signing our lease. She was our first baby, so we naturally spoiled her. She was quickly became the third body in our bed. For the first year, she was small enough to tuck into the crook of our knees. As she grew, our space diminished. She quickly learned that the coziest spot in the bed was right in between the both of us. 

Fast forward six years and we have dog #2 - can you guess where she likes to sleep? So, we're upgrading from a queen to a king bed. NO...a larger bed does not mean more space for the pups. After many, many nights of fighting for blankets, we've resolved to kick the dogs out of the bedroom. They're getting the boot. The doggies will be staying with the queen bed in the guest room. After all, it was always their bed; we were just sleeping in it.

The new bed and bedding we're getting is real nice, people. I have some wonderful sponsors to thank for that. Pom Pom at Home is providing a full bedding set. We are finally tossing out our tired, dog-chewed duvet in favor of a much nicer one. Our polyster sheets are going linen, as is our duvet. While we resolve to leave the dogs at the door, this set is machine washable...should we *cough* "break" *cough* our own rule. 

There are a few reasons why I chose neutral-colored bedding. First, Alex. I've put that poor boy through enough with wild floral printed patterns. Second, I knew I wanted crazy bold wallpaper and a pink rug. You need to be careful not to take print-mixing too far. This combination pushes the boundaries while still remaining tasteful (and not tacky) - all thanks to the light grey-toned bedding

Alex might marry our new mattress. I'm not kidding; he's obsessed with it. I worked on an event with the good people at Casper in February. I fell in love with their mattresses and honestly their customer service. That's a big thing for me. As I've gotten older, I've gotten busier. I am all about supporting companies that make my life easier. With Casper, I was able to try The Wave in the store and get it shipped within 24 hours. No joke. It might have been 20. The mattress came wrapped in a box and was left at my door. Since the mattress arrives in a box, I didn't even have to be home to receive it. As someone who has wasted many an hour sitting around for deliveries that never come, I was pleased as a peach. 

Another major change we're making is to the closet. Previously, the space that is now closet was once hallway. Remember, our bedroom used to be two rooms - so naturally you needed a hallway to get to each one. 

This is my first time having a big girl closet. All of my life, I have always had the dinkiest closets. Now, I'm no clotheshorse, but I do like seeing all of my pretty things on display. I partnered with The Container Store to outfit this space - and boy am I glad I did! On our initial call, they suggested that, as a designer, I might want to design the closet myself. NOPE! I have about ten thousand things on my plate right now, so I was happy to leave this one in their very capable hands. I worked with a designer that who put together a custom closet based on our needs. For once, I got to play the client!

Andrea at TCS designed us a his and hers closet - one side for me and one side for Alex. We were able to make tweaks throughout the process. For example, I don't have nearly as many high heeled shoes as she suggested storage for, so we traded that space in for some drawers. The Elfa system has a few finishes you can choose from and Alex and I both agreed on the birch.

Simple touches really get me giddy. My favorite part about the closet is the built-in jewelry drawers. I may not have a lot of heels, but I have A LOT of jewelry. I've always struggled with how to store it. For the last few years, I've had it all living in vintage dishes on my dresser. I honestly hate having them out, but that was the best way to contain it all - or so I thought. It's always collecting dust and truthfully looks a little junky sitting out. The Container Store outfitted the space with two jewelry drawers, with many tiny compartments for all of my itty bitty pieces. When I saw that they included that, my heart skipped a beat. FINALLY someone who gets me. Everything can have its own little spot, neatly stored and is easily accessible. 

If you're itching for your own closet makeover, The Container Store is having a MAJOR closet sale - now through May 13th. Hundreds of products are on sale for 25% off - so RUN! Their store staff can help you create your very own dream closet. 

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: The BIGGEST Change We're Making In The Master Bedroom
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: The BIGGEST Change We're Making In The Master Bedroom
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: The BIGGEST Change We're Making In The Master Bedroom

Okay, so we've talked through some of my favorite topics already - comfy bedding, king sized beds and organization of clothes and jewelry. Onto another favorite topic of mine - art! 

I gotta lotta art for this space. Just how we never got that fan we always wanted (until now), art has always been lacking in our past bedrooms. Our bedrooms have always been fairly undecorated spaces. I find this to be the case with my clients too. First, you do the living room. Next, you design the dining room. Bedrooms will usually be third or fourth in line, but they're rarely #1. 

If you're familiar with my style, you know I LOVE colorful art. I've always collected art. I've never really had anything all that expensive, but I've always had a lot of it. What can I say - ART IS MY JAM. I got lucky with sponsors this round, because I got to pick out some pretty amazing art from some of my favorite places to shop. First, Gray Malin (a featured designer for this challenge), donated this lovely piece. I've always dreamed of owning a piece of his. He's so genuinely talented and his work is incredibly upbeat. He fits my style perfectly. I had a hard time landing on which print to pick, but ultimately went with this The Reef for its beautiful blue tones. Alex loves it as much as I do.

Chairish also sent me some art. I have been a HUGE supporter of Chairish since they first launched their site. They offer some of the world's most amazing vintage goodies. I shop them a ton when I'm searching for one-of-a-kind finds for clients. Most recently, a client of mine snagged this knockout rug. I also sell my own vintage finds on Chairish. I find myself shopping more than I should - and I can keep that up by constantly reevaluating what might be able to part with. If I don't love it now as much as I did when I bought it, up on the shop it goes!

For my #massivemaster, I selected this colorful piece from Kate Roebuck and this blue and white beaut from Leslie Weaver. I have always been a big fan of Kate's so it's a dream come true to own her work. I discovered Leslie Weaver through Chairish's print shop and I'm so glad I did. I love organically discovering new artists. 

Not to be missed, I'm also putting this cheeky print in the closet and this guy in the sleep space. If I could continue to litter my walls with art, I'd happily shop my little bum off. I'm still eyeing some gems for other rooms of my house. This would look really sweet in a living room. This one would be perfect in a powder room. How about this one for a kitchen. 

Next up, we're laying the cork floors in the closet. Be sure to follow my stories to stay up to date on all things ORC - and read up on week 1 and week 2 here.

ORC Spring 2018.png

Apartment 34 | Beginning in the Middle | Coco & Jack | The English Room | The Gold Hive

Gray Malin | Jenna Sue Design | Jojotastic | Kelly Rogers Int. | Linda Holt | Marcus Design

Michelle Gage | Natasha Habermann | The Painted House | Rambling Renovators

Sacramento Street | Shannon Claire | Sketch 42 | Stephanie Kraus | Style Me Pretty Living

Media Partner House Beautiful | TM by ORC

Thank you to Pom Pom At Home, Casper, The Container Store, Gray Malin, Chairish and Minted for donating product to make this challenge a BIG success.

 

One Room Challenge: Let's Talk About Paint + Paper

 

I get asked all the time about what kicks off a room's design. I am a big believer that any item can be the design's starting point. In this case, my starting piece was the wallpaper. I knew that I wanted to wallpaper the wall behind my bed and knew that it HAD.TO.BE perfect. I looked at A TON of styles, before ultimately landing on this one from Milton + King. I sampled 12 Farrow + Ball paint colors to make sure I got the perfect bright blue tone pulled out from the lighter spots within the print. I knew matching the wall to the deep indigo tone would've been WAY too dark. I want the space to be punchy and uplifting, which is where Blue Ground came into play.

The wallpaper actually went up on the second day of the challenge, April 5th. I had the hanger scheduled for late March, but they were working on other rooms in the house first. Did I mention we're in the middle of a crazy total home renovation? Anyway, we felt it was serendipitous that thinks kicks off for the bedroom right on time.

Alright, wanna see some progress pics?! Full disclosure, we (Alex) worked on the demolition prior to the challenge's start date. There was no way that we could've fit that stage into six weeks. This room was a wreck - and don't forget, it was actually 3 separate spaces!

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Let's Talk About Paint + Paper
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Let's Talk About Paint + Paper
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Let's Talk About Paint + Paper
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Let's Talk About Paint + Paper
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Let's Talk About Paint + Paper

This is where we are now. The wallpaper is up. The paint is dry. The fan is installed. The floors are sanded. AND * BOY OH BOY * DOES IT FEEL GOOD!

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Let's Talk About Paint + Paper
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Let's Talk About Paint + Paper
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Let's Talk About Paint + Paper
 
 

I'm pretty pleased with where things are so far. The wallpaper is perfection; it makes a HUGE impact and the quality is spot on. It's not something I would've picked out for myself a year ago, but my style is always evolving. I plan to print mix it with some other wild patterns and am so obsessed with the thought of that. The deep indigo tone makes for the perfect backdrop and really draws your eye to the back of the room.

I got to use Farrow + Ball paint for the first time with this room. I sampled like ten bajillion colors to get the perfect one - and I NEVER do that. I'm usually super decisive - BUT the wall color needed to match back to the shibori print perfectly and lots of colors came reeeally close but weren't right. 

While Alex typically leaves all design decisions to me, he wanted to have a say in the fan. In our first home, we spoke about replacing our bedroom fan for the full three years we were there; we never did it. He loves making our house SMART. We have all kinds of gadgets that can be controlled by our phones, truly more than I could tell you. (We've got Nests, Google Homes, Alexa Echos - you name it). Alex has wanted a Haiku fan FOREVER. He loves the smart technology and I love how sexy it looks. Ceiling fans aren't always pretty; they can be truly tragic sometimes. This one, however, is so gosh dang good-looking and totally the right style for this recently renovated space.

We are so thrilled to have the shell in place; now the fun part begins. IT'S DECORATING TIME! I'll give you a little sneak peek of where the design in heading below. It's honestly still a bit of a work in progress (yes, people, this six week timeline is real here), but here's where I'm at with some of the bigger statement pieces. You can see some of my other selections for this space by following my #massivemaster pinboard.

 
 
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Let's Talk About Paint + Paper

Spoiler alert: If you follow me on Instagram, be sure to check out my posts, stories and highlights. I share some additional photos there. I've also started to place a few pieces in the room and they are worth seeing. I mentioned in my first ORC post that things were likely to change from the original plan. Well, call me Miss Cleo because THEY DID. I'm pretty sure the floor plan is being reworked. I'm working through it. (Insert palm-face emoji here).

Stay tuned and be sure to follow as these other featured designers work through their spaces.

ORC Spring 2018.png

Apartment 34 | Beginning in the Middle | Coco & Jack | The English Room | The Gold Hive

Gray Malin | Jenna Sue Design | Jojotastic | Kelly Rogers Int. | Linda Holt | Marcus Design

Michelle Gage | Natasha Habermann | The Painted House | Rambling Renovators

Sacramento Street | Shannon Claire | Sketch 42 | Stephanie Kraus | Style Me Pretty Living

Media Partner House Beautiful | TM by ORC

Thank you to Milton + King, Farrow & Ball and Haiku Fans for donating product to make this challenge a BIG success.

 

One Room Challenge: Introducing The Massive Master

 

Well, guys, here we are again. It's challenge season! I'm SO excited to be playing along as a featured designer for this round. I've been absolutely itching to design our bedroom. It's our first true master bedroom - sitting room, walk in closet, attached bathroom. We've never had so much space to ourselves. We're even considering keeping the dogs out of this room. I KNOW?! How will we ever pull this off?! The pups are commonly found in a deep slumber, snuggled in between us in our queen size bed - feet in face. For this space, we're getting a king bed, baby - and no, more space does not mean more room for the doggies. They'll be banished to the guest room (mark my words).

I'm really eager to get rolling on this room. I'm stepping a bit outside of my box on this one. The space is going to be slightly more bohemian than any I've done before. I plan to use shibori prints and sisal textures - a mixture that I've done for clients but never in my own home.

This room WAS a funny one. It used to have its own hallway. Off of that hallway, there were 3 doors - 1 to the bathroom and 2 doors to separate bedrooms. The previous homeowners had torn out the wall that separated the bedrooms, making for one massive master. To keep some structural support, they left a bit of wall. We really don't have the option to remove it, so we're making it work. That wall will separate the sleep space from the sitting space. The hallway is becoming the walk-in closet. We moved the bedroom's entry door to accommodate the change. 

Keeping our total home renovation timeline in mind, we scheduled painters for late March back in December. I always envisioned wallpapering an accent wall behind the bed and that's a task we always hire out. I spent a good amount of time hunting down the perfect paper, ultimately landing on this navy shibori style from Milton + King. I'll be pulling out the light blue tone for the adjacent painted walls.

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Introducing The Massive Master
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Introducing The Massive Master

These "before" photos show the space as it was when we moved in back in November. Those hideous closets are leaving, as are the radiator covers. Alex is in the process of refinishing the floors. We're not going to have the time to touch the bathroom in this round, but you will see a completed bedroom and closet. Can you believe these photos prompted us to call our realtor, requesting that we see this home ASAP?!

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Introducing The Massive Master

Milton + King | Homepolish | Amber Interiors

It was difficult to pull inspiration images for the space, since the design really came together in my head before I had a chance to head to Pinterest.  It sort of started with the wallpaper. I always say that any item can kick off the design plan; in this case, my starting point was wallpaper (duh.) After all, would it truly be a "Michelle Gage Interiors" room without IN YOUR FACE wallpaper?! I'm calling the inspiration "bright bohemian." The room is going to pack in a lot of patterns. It's time to flex my print-mixing powers.

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Introducing The Massive Master

This is the floor plan vision for now. One thing I've learned doing these challenges is that THINGS CHANGE. With the Spring 2017 ORC, we did a last minute switch up on which wall we wanted wallpapered. During the Fall 2017 ORC, I think the dressing room's floor plan changed three or four times. My point being - I know new ideas will arise as this thing gets going. There are always new discoveries within the design process and I'm excited to take you on that journey. Stay tuned to watch the magic unfold! 

 

Are You Ready For The One Room Challenge?

 

You all have seen me post about The One Room Challenge before. I participated in the challenge for the first time this time last year - then again in the fall. Each time, I designed a room for someone else. Each time, I was jealous of the room I left behind. 

The truth is, I wanted to join in on the party, but my home was already completely renovated and styled. I needed a blank slate and was lucky enough to find one each time. 

This time, it's all about me. I'm in a new house and every single room is in need of work - A LOT of work. I'm excited to say that I will be a featured designer for this round. (!!) I could barely contain my excitement when I was asked to join. I immediately knew which room I'd makeover...and I will reveal that next week. Hint: it's one of these 3 spaces.

Be sure to stop by each Wednesday morning to see the space progress. For now, let's look at photos from the last two challenges. How am I going to top these?!

Michelle Gage // Are You Ready For The One Room Challenge?
Michelle Gage // Are You Ready For The One Room Challenge?
Michelle Gage // Are You Ready For The One Room Challenge?
Michelle Gage // Are You Ready For The One Room Challenge?
 

Signature Style: Stranger Art

 

It's so secret - I'm into some funky artwork. My favorite subject is PEOPLE. I love finding vintage oil paintings of unfamiliar faces - or what I like to call "stranger art." 

I find it so fun to sprinkle photos of strangers throughout the house. In our last house, everywhere you turned, you were greeted by a friendly face. Our walls were littered with friends of all ages. Our shelves were lined with these painted pretties. 

I am thrilled to say that I am working with a client right now who is as obsessed with this look as I am. She prefers black and white photographs to painted canvases, however. We're going to line her set of newly built floating shelves with images of her ancestors. She has a great collection and I am tickled pink to play with these frames. I really dig the look of displaying these pieces together to create a collection; it makes a much bigger statement when like items are shown in one spot rather than scattered around the room. 

Michelle Gage // Signature Style: Stranger Art
Michelle Gage // Signature Style: Stranger Art
Michelle Gage // Signature Style: Stranger Art
Michelle Gage // Signature Style: Stranger Art
Michelle Gage // Signature Style: Stranger Art
Michelle Gage // Signature Style: Stranger Art
 

Signature Style: Fearless Wallpaper

 

For this installment of Signature Style, I'll be discussing Fearless Wallpaper - and what it can do for your space. As you scroll through some of these images, you may be reminded of this post. Well, to be fair, my favorite projects are the ones that include a few of my favorite themes - not just one. 

As a designer, you know your work has themes when strangers slide into your Insta DMs with WOWZA wallpaper pics. Side note, wallpaper fanatics are the only people hitting up those DMs - I'm cool with it. 

So why do I love wallpaper? I truly love a GOOD print. I love something that's totally different and POPS. That said, all wallpaper is not created equal. While I tend to push wallpaper where possible, there are a lot of bad options out there. I like my wallpaper to be totally original, colorful and have a bit of a kick. Think flamingos and birds of paradise. 

While I can find a use for wallpaper in any room, there are a few spaces that I find accept this look well. First and foremost, powder rooms are the perfect places to put paper. Wallpaper is pricier than paint, so using it a small space helps you to cut costs. It's also a room where you aren't matching back to much, so you can go BOLD and have it be its own thing.

I don't care for painted accent walls, but I do like wallpapered ones. Wallpaper works well as an accent in offices or behind headboards. Lining all four of your room's walls requires a lot of commitment. If you are just looking to dip your toes into this theme, just select one wall.

If you are brave enough to go BOLD, gimmie a call. Let's talk paper! 

Michelle Gage // Signature Style: Fearless Wallpaper
Michelle Gage // Signature Style: Fearless Wallpaper
Michelle Gage // Signature Style: Fearless Wallpaper
Michelle Gage // Signature Style: Fearless Wallpaper
Michelle Gage // Signature Style: Fearless Wallpaper
 

Signature Style: Velvet Upholstery

 

The goal of my projects is to have them reflect my client's personal style. I want the home to look like them, with my guiding hand. That said, there are a few themes I work into many of my designs. These themes are the what I like to think attract clients to me. They are part of my "signature style."

I'm starting a series that highlights these themes - or trends if you will. I hesitate to call them trends, because I find them to be pretty timeless. For this first round, let's look at velvet upholstery.

To say I am a dedicated fan of this look is an understatement. What I'm really digging is jewel-toned velvet specifically. I enjoy working with clients who share this same sentiment. I've been blessed to work with some amazing clients who have a similar style to mine. It's a match made in heaven when a client comes to me, looking for velvet upholstery. It is a regal look that doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg. It can totally transform a space and often becomes the room's star piece.

Michelle Gage // Signature Style: Velvet Upholstery
Michelle Gage // Signature Style: Velvet Upholstery
Michelle Gage // Signature Style: Velvet Upholstery
Michelle Gage // Signature Style: Velvet Upholstery
Michelle Gage // Signature Style: Velvet Upholstery
Michelle Gage // Signature Style: Velvet Upholstery

I'll continue with this series by talking about other themes you can see within my design work. If there is any trend you've noticed, comment below. 

 

Home Concepts: Our Master Bedroom, Living Room + Studio Space

 

I am so excited to share a little bit more of our house plans with you all. When we bought this house, Alex and I were on the same page in respect to how we'd renovate it. What we couldn't envision on the spot was the overall design, which luckily (and rightfully so) he leaves 100% up to me.

A lot of designers will say that it's easier to design for clients than for themselves. If I agreed with that statement, I'd have to declare that I am indecisive - which I am not. I am finding it no harder to design for myself, but what I am missing is the feedback and collaboration. I often enjoy hearing client's thoughts on their vision for the space. Their dreams are usually my jumping off point. Perhaps I'm feeling a little less than inspired when it comes to the design, because I know it's such a long road ahead. See, Alex is handling 80% of the renovation work himself, on nights and weekends. In our last house, he handled EVERY.LAST.BIT - BUT this new house is MUCH larger (almost twice the size). We've been thoughtful and strategic with what he will work on and what we will hire out. However, what he will work on will take time.

When it comes to the design work, it's all me. Don't get me wrong, I prefer it that way, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a daunting task. Keep in mind, designing our 3,500 square foot house is something I'm doing ON TOP of growing my interiors business and living through a list of never-ending renovations. I'm not complaining; I asked for this. I just wanted to share my perspective on the situation. I guess, in short, since interior design is my profession, designing my own home feels like work. Again, don't feel sorry for the little designer who has to struggle through her dream...she'll be fine. ;)

Anyway, onto the concepts I've landed on for each room...

Since I've only share my ideas for our first round of renovations, which will be completed this spring, I'll continue to share parts of the story in pieces. Yes, I already have the kitchen designed in my mind, but we're not there yet. Baby steps, people!

Michelle Gage // Home Concepts: Our Master Bedroom, Living Room + Studio Space

MASTER BEDROOM

Guys, we've never really had a master bedroom. When we lived in apartments, we had small spaces that served several functions. In our last/first house, we had a nice-sized space, but no walk-in closet, sitting space or attached bathroom. In this room, we have ALL THREE!!! We're calling it the MASSIVE MASTER. Now, we didn't just get lucky with that. We were "gifted" with this really awkward hall outside of the bedroom that we essentially converted into a the walk-in closet of our dreams. It's BIG, people, and I'm flipping out. 

I've always lived in (and loved) old homes. Anyone who has one knows that this almost guarantees that you will be lacking on closet space. Tiny closets have been my life for the last 28 years. Will I refer to time in the future as PWIC (post walk-in closet) and look back on the bitter memories BWIC (before walk-in closet)? We're taking "new year, new me" to a whole other level here.

Anyway, let's talk design. What am I thinking for this space? WELL I'm glad you asked! I want this to be a space that both Alex and I can enjoy - aka not too feminine. While I'd love an exploded floral wallpapered accent wall, I can save that for the guest room. This space will speak to both of us. 

I'm dividing this room into what I call "the sleep space" and "the sitting space." The sleep space will feature all your normal bedroom bits - (upholstered) bed, (leather?) nightstands, (woven?) bench, (printed) rug, etc. There's a half wall that separates the two rooms, so the other side will we more of a "get ready" or reading space. It'll have a pair of pink velvet chairs (I think...) and a banging coffee or end table. Perhaps it'll get dolled up with a vintage vanity and Moroccan rug. Pipe dreams, people. 

Michelle Gage // Home Concepts: Our Master Bedroom, Living Room + Studio Space

LIVING ROOM

We're working with a really large living room here, people. See, the house is nearly double the size of our old one - but we don't have many more rooms - just bigger ones. Luckily, I think I have this room worked out from a floor plan standpoint. This living room is going to be a little different from the others I've designed in the past. To start, we'll need to bring in two matching sofas. They will face each other and live on opposite sides of the fireplace. 

On the fireplace wall, we plan to build a GIANT gallery wall. We're talking about the mother of all gallery walls here, guys! All of my artwork has been living in boxes since the move and I am so excited to have it back out. 

The living room already has two great built-in shelving units by this sweet set of French doors, so you know those are going to get SERIOUSLY STYLED UP! I plan to have this space be heavy on the vintage items. Of course, I have a lot of artwork and decor that fits into this category, but I also have a great teal desk and cream cabinet that will live in here. I also plan to hunt down the world's most amazing mantel. Know a guy?

Other than that, I want to get some soft pink tones in here. Currently, the walls are a Pepto-pink shade - which is going! BUT...I'm thinking I want a soft blush rug to break up the blue velvet. 

Michelle Gage // Home Concepts: Our Master Bedroom, Living Room + Studio Space

STUDIO SPACE

I saved the best for last. We still have a lot of decisions to make on this space, but it is BY FAR the room in the house that I am most excited about. In our last house, I turned a spare bedroom into a bright work room. In our new space, the previous home owners actually did us a favor by ripping out a wall that separated two bedrooms, creating a larger one. Now, I say 'favor', but I use that term lightly. They removed a load-bearing wall and left us with a ceiling shaped like a bowl.

I am happy to report that the ceiling has since been removed. Our original plan was to just replace it. Obvious right? Well, as we opened it up, we revealed access to a portion of the attic space above. I'm not big on dedicating rooms to solely store stuff you never use (hello holiday decor), so I was pleased as a peach to NOT add a ceiling back in. We now have a vaulted ceiling that reaches the third floor. In this process of demolition (thanks, Alex), we also unearth a stone wall. Now, I don't mean to make us sound like total novices here; we knew this all existed. However, it wasn't until we (Alex) started ripping things apart until the full potential was realized.

This space is going to take me out of my comfort zone a bit - as the exposed stone isn't totally my style. Don't get me wrong, I love old stone homes - which we have - I just don't know how I feel about it in the bright and bubbly room I envisioned. Needless to say, the inclusion of stone totally shifted my design plans for this space. I had this bubblegum pink wallpaper picked out, which would look HORRIBLE with the stone. I really don't know if any wallpaper would work with the stone (*gasp*) so I may just have to pick paint. Either way, I was always planning to bring in a live edge presentation (essentially dining) table and a blue velvet sofa. I may need to find clever ways to make this space a tad bit more colorful, but here's where we are for now. 

If you got to the end of this post, I salute you. Seriously, HATS OFF - this was a meaty one! I'd love to hear your thought so far - sound off in the comments. 

 

Our House Project Plans | Spring-Summer 2018

 

By now, you know that we've moved into a new house - our second fixer upper and forever home. We knew we were moving at the end of September, so we've had plenty of time to think through the design plan. It has gone through a few rounds of edits, but I think it's finally in the place where I can share it with you all. If the plan seems intense, well, it is. We have A LOT of updating to do. This house is full of character. It was built in 1927 and has a stone exterior. There are two sets of stairs - the main stairs off of the entryway and the butler's stairs. The butler's stairs connect to the part of the house that used to be the servant's quarters. You can see the differences in that space - the floors and the moldings are less expensive than they are in the rest of the house. It's also a good bit colder. We're going to fix all of that, as that space will become my studio.

When we were house hunting, a design studio was a top item on the list. My business has been expanding - and I eventually want to hire a team to work with me. We looked at homes that had garages we could convert or land we could build on. Ultimately, we landed on this home, which had a separate set of stairs and a wall removed between two bedrooms (making it a massive space). 

Now that you have a bit of background on why we landed where we did, let me talk you through the changes. We already made some, that you can read about here. Let's look at the rest.

Michelle Gage // Our House Project Plans | Spring-Summer 2018
Michelle Gage // Our House Project Plans | Spring-Summer 2018

#GoodBonesAbode Our HouseProject Plans - Spring-Summer 2018

1. Master BedroomThis is the biggest project of the home. So, rather then work our (Alex's) way up to it, it's going first. This space started as two bedrooms off of a separate hallway. When we bought the house, the owners had already removed the walls that separated the two spaces. While it created a somewhat awkward space, it gave us a larger room to create a true master suite. We're working on removing the hallway, creating a walk in closet, sitting room and then designated sleep space. I'll be sharing more about this space soon. Right now, Alex is consumed with removing, building and repairing walls - and I have SO MANY progress pics to share. 

2. Living Room: Surprisingly, this is one of the rooms that needs the least amount of work. Structurally, it's sound. It features some great wooden beams (one of the reasons we fell in love with the space) that just need a little cleaning. We need to do something (tbd) with the fireplace mantel. After painting is complete in March, I can furnish and decorate. There are some amazing built in shelves, which I can't wait to get my paws on. 

3. Studio: I got a little bit ahead of myself by speaking about the studio earlier in this post, but it just might be the room I'm looking forward to finishing the most. Currently, we can't even go in this room, as the ceiling is sinking. Alex plans to tear down the ceiling and fix it's busted structure. When the previous owners removed the wall between the two rooms, they didn't realize it was structural. Luckily, this was the only room with carpet. Alex removed it this weekend. It's going to get wall to wall wallpaper and some built in shelving for props and samples. Then, it comes down to the decorating. I already have the furniture I need for the space; it's currently sitting in our soon-to-be ripped our sun room. 

4. Powder Room: This room just needs a little touch up. We're keeping the original sink, but replacing the toilet. Alex has to do some rewiring - and you know it's getting an amazing wallpaper makeover.

Keep in mind, every room in the house is getting painted. Alex will also refinish all of the floors. There's a lot of labor that goes into both, so we chose to hire painters, something we didn't do in the last house.

I think that about covers the first round of renovations. In the fall, we'll start tackling some of the other spaces. I can't wait to share more of the process/progress as we get rolling. I hope you enjoy following along!

 

It's Time To Talk About The New House

 
Michelle Gage // It's Time To Talk About The New House
Michelle Gage // It's Time To Talk About The New House
Michelle Gage // It's Time To Talk About The New House
Michelle Gage // It's Time To Talk About The New House
Michelle Gage // It's Time To Talk About The New House

I've been putting off writing this post for a while now. Not because I was dreading it, because I have so much to say and barely know where to begin.

In November, we sold our first house (of 3.5 years) and moved into our forever home. We spent the entire time renovating it, room by room. We started by painting the entire place ourselves then moved onto meatier projects, like renovating our kitchen. We truly enjoyed the process of fixing up our first place, but honestly came to the end of the project. We fixed up everything we possibly could, while not pricing ourselves out of the neighborhood we were in. The changes we made were worth it for us to enjoy while we were still living there, but also made for a sound investment when it came time to sell.

Our hunt for our second house started last spring. We weren't looking to move, rather for a place to fix up and flip. This would mean that we'd have two mortgages until the second property sold. We found a gorgeous (but poorly cared for) 4,500 square foot Victorian that was beaming with potential. As we started crunching our numbers, we realized that we were about two years away from being able to take on a second property of this size. We quickly came to the conclusion that, if we did this NOW, we'd need to live in flip and not just have it as a side project. We decided, however, that if we were to move, we were never going to move again. So, our focus shifted. We were still itching to take on another project; we just needed to find one we'd want to live in forever. For many reasons (bad schools, small yard, expensive sewer issues, etc.), The Victorian wasn't it.

I'll skip passed the part where we saw a bunch of beautiful houses that didn't work out for one reason or another - and tell you that we found the one we bought while searching on Zillow late one night. Alex was actually out of town for work and I sent him a link, claiming that I found our forever home. It checked ALL of the boxes - and was under our budget. Considering that our wish list was insanely long (and somewhat unreasonable), we knew this gem was rare. We scheduled a date to see it with our realtor on the following morning and put in an offer right away. With a bit of back and fourth, the home became ours within a few days. As luck would have it, our home sold on the same day - actually, within the same hour. It was really hard to say goodbye to our first place, but we were overflowing with excitement for this next step. 

I'll be sharing more on the project specifics as we get into the nitty gritty. I have every single space designed (in my head) and I'm eager to get those thoughts into posts. At this point, our projects haven't been the most interesting to document. We got a new roof. We converted our heat from oil to natural gas. We've started by crossing off the "needs" items from our list, before diving into the fun projects we just want to tackle. Alex has made plenty of progress on the master bedroom, which I've shown lots on Instagram. Once the renovations are completed in there, he will move onto refinishing the floors. Then, we will bring painters in to paint and wallpaper (lots, duh) the entire place. Our old home, which was 2000 square feet, was a much more manageable amount of wall space for us to cover ourselves. Our new home is 3500 square feet, so we're calling in the troops!

I'm SO SO excited to document more of this space. Stay tuned to follow along as we rip out walls and pull down ceilings! 

 

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.

 

One Room Challenge: Revealing The Vintage Boudoir

 
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Revealing The Vintage Boudoir
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Revealing The Vintage Boudoir
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Revealing The Vintage Boudoir
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Revealing The Vintage Boudoir
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Revealing The Vintage Boudoir
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Revealing The Vintage Boudoir
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Revealing The Vintage Boudoir
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Revealing The Vintage Boudoir

Well, folks, this is it! The big reveal is finally here. I am SO SO excited to present The Vintage Boudoir to you. This season, Alana, Kyle and I collaborated to transform Alana's bedroom into the vintage retreat of her dreams. Complete with a quaint (and moody) dressing space, Alana's bedroom is one for the books. Alana is an amazing shoe designer with serious style; she needed a space that reflected her personality. As lovers of all things vintage, Alana and I aligned immediately when it came to the overall vision of her space. 

Even though we were pretty well paired in terms of style, this space still saw a few rounds of revision. After the initial consult, we communicated primarily over email (and Instagram). After the groundwork was set, we did a little thrift store shopping together to acquire the right accessories. On the morning of the photo shoot, I showed up early to do the final styling. Those touches really took the space over the top. Those little details are not to be missed - the perfect pillow or decorative prop can add so much interest to a space. Luckily for us, Kyle was right there to capture all of these magical moments. She has an insanely talented eye when it comes to shooting a space. 

Fun little fact, the 3 of us all used to work at Anthropologie's home office. Our paths rarely crossed (if at all), but we were connected by social media a few years later. Small world!

Be sure to read up on how everyone else's space turned out here. Thanks for following along for these last 6 (well, 7) weeks! We hope you love the space as much as we do! 

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Revealing The Vintage Boudoir
 

One Room Challenge: Behind The Scenes Snaps

 
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Behind The Scenes Snaps
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Behind The Scenes Snaps
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Behind The Scenes Snaps

Folks, it's week 6 of The ORC. Normally, you'd get the reveal today. However, the founder chose to add a week to this challenge, due to the unexpected delays the weather has caused. Luckily, Alana, Kyle and I didn't experience any delays with our products - but we could certainly use the extra week. Kyle could use the time to edit photos and I am actually moving TODAY! We did finish the shoot last Friday, so I felt it was only fair to share some behind the scenes snaps. The professional photos are what will really show off the space best - but my iPhone shots will have to do for now. Be sure to come back next week to see the full space in all its glory!

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Behind The Scenes Snaps
 

One Room Challenge: Whatchu Know About Wallpaper?

 
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Whatchu Know About Wallpaper?
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Whatchu Know About Wallpaper?

GUYS, the wallpaper is finally up! Can I tell you the struggle we faced here? We had multiple cancellations from the hanger - so many that Alana considered doing the work herself. However, hanging wallpaper is NO JOKE and I highly discouraged her from it. We still have a long way to go on the set up, but we've been waiting for the wallpaper to go up first. This is a going to be a BIG WEEK in terms of progress. Believe it or not, but the shoot is FRIDAY! I'll share some behind the scenes sneak peeks via Insta-stories as we ready up this room.

If you haven't already heard, the reveal got pushed out a week. All of the recent natural disasters have delayed a good bit of product, so Linda (ORC founder) has added a week to the challenge. Since I am in the middle of a major move, we are sticking to our original shoot date and plan. Next week's post will likely just be a sneak peek (one photo) and then you can see the full space on 11/16. 

Be sure to follow along to see how everyone else is handling their projects. You can also get some insight into what we've been sourcing by checking out our project's pinboard. 

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Whatchu Know About Wallpaper?
 

Before + After: Budget-Friendly Basement Reno

 
Michelle Gage // Before + After: Budget-Friendly Basement Reno
Michelle Gage // Before + After: Budget-Friendly Basement Reno

I am excited to say that this little basement renovation of mine is featured on Design*Sponge today! Hop on over there to read about how we transformed this space for just $1,000!!

Michelle Gage // Before + After: Budget-Friendly Basement Reno
Michelle Gage // Before + After: Budget-Friendly Basement Reno
Michelle Gage // Before + After: Budget-Friendly Basement Reno
Michelle Gage // Before + After: Budget-Friendly Basement Reno
Michelle Gage // Before + After: Budget-Friendly Basement Reno
 

One Room Challenge: What We're Styling With + Budget Breakdown

 
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: What We're Styling With + Budget Breakdown
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: What We're Styling With + Budget Breakdown
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: What We're Styling With + Budget Breakdown
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: What We're Styling With + Budget Breakdown

Alright, folks, are you ready for week four? I'm just going to come right out and say it - this post is a quickie! We have made so much progress on The One Room Challenge to date - but have a looooooong way to go. The painting and wallpaper was done earlier this week, but I'm saving those photos for next week.

This week, we're talking about the almighty dolla dolla bill, ya'll. Let's break down the budget. Where did we spend? Well, truth be told, we didn't get too spendy here. We planned to keep the budget low, but didn't anticipate that we could pull both rooms together for less than $2k. So how did we do it? Well, we did our best to work with the existing items in the room. The bed, for example, was begging for a little "umphf." To highlight this piece, we wallpapered the wall behind it and added sconces beside it. Next to the bed, we scored the steal of the century - a set of Anthropologie nightstands for $300! How? SUPER SALE! They were a little damaged and discounted to reflect that. After coming up short in that category, we pounced!

Alana and I also put our thrifting skills to #werk. We spent an afternoon hitting up all of our favorite thrift stores. We scored some pretty fantastic artwork, mirrors and decor. They will all come together in a gallery wall above the little blue bench and will make the space POP - but also help to keep the budget in check. You can check out all of the other items we considered for the space here.

All in all, we're super excited to be on budget. We're jazzed about how the space is turning out, but are honestly getting a little bit burned out. Pulling two rooms together in six weeks is NO JOKE! On top of that, Alana (client) is currently on a work trip in India and I am in the middle of a major move. Buying and selling homes at the same time is one of the more stressful things I've ever done. I can't wait to be on the other side of things. 

Wish us luck as we crawl towards the finish line.

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: What We're Styling With + Budget Breakdown
 

One Room Challenge: How We Made The Big Design Decisions

 

My clients always ask me, "What is the first piece we need to pick out?" Truthfully, any item can act as a starting point. In this case, Alana and I were all about this rug. We knew we wanted to keep it, but it featured a pretty tricky pattern. We started by choosing a wallpaper with a print that worked with the rug's pattern. Then we selected a paint shade that was also in the rug and the wallpaper. These common threads helped us keep the rug, while introducing a fun wallpapered accent wall.

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: How We Made The Big Design Decisions

This wallpaper will line one wall in each space - behind the headboard in the bedroom and on the window wall of the dressing room. All of the other walls will be Moonlit Orchid

To backtrack a bit, these are the wallpaper samples we looked at before landing on the Anthropologie style.

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: How We Made The Big Design Decisions
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: How We Made The Big Design Decisions

Some of our exciting pieces have started to pour in. The bench arrived - and not in the color we expected. It was supposed to be a blush tone, but arrived a bit too close to the wall color. In design, this stuff happens. You have to be flexible. We're working with it! Our sconces also arrived; they were chosen to match to the brass bed.

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: How We Made The Big Design Decisions
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: How We Made The Big Design Decisions
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: How We Made The Big Design Decisions

Remember, you can follow along as we source and select by checking out this project's pinboard. You can also see what everyone else is up to by checking out their progress.

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: How We Made The Big Design Decisions
 

One Room Challenge: The Design Plan

 

Well, folks, can you believe it? We survived week one. This week, I wanted to share a little peek into our design plan. We went through a few rounds of tweaks (as every design does), to ultimately land on the third design board. I'm going to get a bit more into how these decisions were made in next week's post. For now, I'll walk you through the basics. 

OPTION 1

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: The Design Plan

OPTION 2

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: The Design Plan

OPTION 3

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: The Design Plan

OPTION 4

MICHELLE GAGE //  ONE ROOM CHALLENGE: THE DEISGN PLAN

OPTION 5

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: The Design Plan

These are what I call "fast and dirty design boards." We've made so many changes along the way - and shared many text convos, emails, pinterest messages - to ultimately land here. We've talked out every single aspect of this design; the boards merely represent those chats.

Like I mentioned in the last post, Alana had some items worth keeping. Her vintage brass bed is a real winner; there's no way we were getting rid of that. Alana also had a great vintage rug that we pulled colors from for the wall tones. We both agreed that her space needed wallpaper. To keep the budget in check, we chose to wallpaper just one accent wall, behind the headboard. In the sleep space, we knew we needed to replace the current nightstands in favor of something more substantial. Sconces were also a MUST, as the lamps HAD TO GO!

Onto the dressing space...so excited for this one! We're keeping Alana's great old dresser. Vintage cabinetry is being installed on the adjoining wall. In the center of there space, there will be a great vintage rug, bench and some additional oddities We've also secured a wonderful vintage dress form to really drive the look home.

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: The Design Plan

As I mentioned, I'll dive deeper into how we got to where we are next week - how we chose the wallpaper, paint, etc. For now, be sure to follow along on our project's Pinterest board. I'd love to hear from YOU! What are your favorite elements of this design? 

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: The Design Plan
 

The Importance of Vintage Portraits with Chairish

 

I have been selling vintage goodies on Chairish for about two years now. A few months back, they reached out to me about my love of painted vintage portraits. I jumped at the opportunity to write a post for their blog about my obsession. This story is up on their site now and I'd love it if you would check it out. Head over to their blog to see the rest of the places where I've put portraits

Michelle Gage // The Importance of Vintage Portraits with Chairish
 

One Room Challenge: Introducing #VintageBoudoir

 

Let the games begin!

This is my second season participating in the One Room Challenge. Last spring, I completed this Palm Springs Inspired Living Room. That project was such a blast, so I decided to take on another. This fall, I am working with Alana Oates, a bad ass shoe designer living in New Jersey, on her Vintage Boudoir. I'll be posting about our progress weekly - and sharing some insight into product inspirations and selections on this Pinterest board. 

Coincidentally, Alana and I both used to work at Anthropologie's Home Office. However, we only met once, as our departments (shoe vs. home) didn't overlap. Now, years later, we're collaborating on her bedroom makeover. 

Alana lives in a charming bungalow, right outside of Philadelphia. She has been working on the styling of her home, but has been struggling to create the ultimate bedroom retreat. After talking with her about her wildest dreams, a plan was devised. The inspiration will come from our mutual love of vintage. In true fashionista style, Alana loves rich prints and textiles, which you will see come through in the room's wallpaper (yes!!) and accessories. 

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Introducing #VintageBoudoir

Her bedroom features a few items worth keeping - for example, that vintage brass bed. Don't you just LOVE IT?! Off of the bedroom, there is an attached dressing space. I've been DYING to design this sort of space (especially one that belongs to a fashion forward friend) so we're tackling this room too. 

Let's look at the BEFORE PHOTOS:

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Introducing #VintageBoudoir
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Introducing #VintageBoudoir
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Introducing #VintageBoudoir
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Introducing #VintageBoudoir

So, folks, it's time to take on another six week transformation. I'll share more about the design ideas next week. Be sure to follow along and watch how this space unfolds. 

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Introducing #VintageBoudoir