One Room Challenge: Week 3

 

Let me start off by saying this…I KNOW. I KNOW it’s a bit out of order to see the built in details before the full room design. I KNOW everyone and their mother shared their design boards last week. I KNOW I’ve kept you waiting on the details of what furniture, wallpaper and lighting is going into the room. Trust me, I had a good reason. See, I KNOW wallpaper. I have picked out some pretty fantastic styles for clients, if I do say so myself. (See evidence of this statement here, here, here, here and here).

You get it.

So back to me. I knew that if I showed you all a wallpaper that I wasn’t 100% certain about, you’d fall in love and want it real bad…then I’d break your little hearts when I told you I changed it to a different but equally amazing style. I was doing you a favor, really.

To cut to the chase, the wallpaper is on it’s way; it’ll be here by Friday…so now we can talk about it.

I’m jazzed because I sure do love talking about wallpaper. I really dig throwing a BOLD style into a space. Wallpaper can make the room. With wallpaper, I suggest going FEARLESS!! Your dining room is a great space to experiment and should definitely be decked out.

Let me make my case…

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Week 3
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Week 3
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Week 3
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Week 3
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Week 3
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Week 3

So we all dig the wallpaper, right? More on that later…

I’m thrilled to say that I have an amazing team of sponsors making this room a reality. Before I share the sponsors with you, let me say that there is no way this would be happening without my husband; I just can’t gush about him enough. This guy is spending every waking hour of this weekend making this dream dining room a reality. He is working on the space in the evenings and just making whatever I designed WORK.

I was away Saturday through last night at Highpoint Market with Nicole Cole (another featured Philly designer). I kid you not, I’d be lost without Alex. When I returned home from my trip, there was all of this magical progress in the dining room (see my highlights). He’s just the best and I’ll likely remind you of that every week (as I already have in Week 2).

So let’s talk sources. What’s coming into the space to create this kickass design? Article is sponsoring with this amazing bar cabinet and dining table. Underneath the table, Hayneedle is coming in with this (#sponsored) stunner of a rug. At the head of each table will sit these PERFECT chairs from Selamat. I’m so grateful to have Selamat as a sponsor, especially since they’ll be sending me this AMAZING bar cart that I’ve been eyeing FOREVER. On each side of the table will be these cutie chairs (#notsponsored #paidforbyme).

Two huge sponsors for this room are Hudson Valley Lighting and Metrie. HVL is coming in strong with a table lamp, sconces and the chandeliers of my dreams. I already went into detail about the amazing moldings being provided by Metrie in last week’s blog post. If you want to see some progress on all that, again, hop on over to my IG highlights (or peep my husband’s IG). IT’S SICK STUFF!!

Lastly, what you’ve all been waiting for…THIS is the amazing wallpaper I’ve chosen for the dining room. Cole & Sons is providing me with a pretty great discount that allows me to afford the install on this bad boy - because the one DIY we don’t do is wallpaper. No doubt, this print splashed all over the walls will be what makes the room. It’s all I’ve ever wanted in a wallpaper. I’m one lucky lady!

Alright, I’ve yapped enough. That’s all from me, y’all. Be sure to see what the other bloggers/designers are up to this week. I see some good things a-brewing!


At Home with Ashley
 | Bre Purposed | Dabito | The English Room | Erin Kestenbaum

Harlow & Thistle | House of Brinson | J & J Design | Kelly Golightly | Linda Holt

Megan Bachmann | Michelle Gage | Mimosa Lane | Murphy Deesign | Nicole Cole

Old Home Love | SG Style | Shay Geyer | Sita Montgomery | Style MPL

Media Partner Better Homes & Gardens | TM by ORC

 

One Room Challenge: Week 2

 

Every interior designer needs a reliable contractor - and luckily I married mine. Well, that’s not entirely true. Alex and I were together long before we starting renovating homes. We met in a college dorm freshman year and have been inseparable ever since (10 years together, baby). While in college, we volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and an organization that went to Mississippi to rebuild homes after Hurricane Katrina. Once we graduated, we lived in apartments for two years before we purchased our first fixer upper together (which we’ve since sold). Now, we’re in what we hope is our “forever home” and are taking extreme care and consideration with every renovation.

Alex is the best executer I know. I create all the design plans - based on my wildest dreams - and Alex is the one to make them happen. I do not hide the fact that I am not the one swinging the hammer. It’s not that I’m against getting my hands dirty, it’s just that Alex and I have different focuses. I’m the designer and project manager. He is the contractor. We play to our strengths and make a good team.

Now onto the FUN STUFF…the built in!!

Next week, I will share the full design plan with you. It’s maaaaaybe 92% done and I don’t want to share it until it’s at 100% - BUT one thing we know for sure is that we’re creating a massive built in along the back wall. As I mentioned in last week’s post, this was our jumping off point. We have another time lapse video to share some additional insights - as well as photos that capture the step by step process.

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Week 2
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Week 2
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Week 2
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Week 2
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Week 2
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Week 2
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Week 2

YEA yea yea, Alex is amazing - I can’t argue that. Moving on. We purchased a trio of inset cabinets for the base of this built in and Alex turned a pile of wood into the top shelving. We’re building it into the wall and making it look original to the house by applying uniform moldings throughout. Metrie is supplying us with the trim and we couldn’t be more excited. I have seen many bloggers and designers create wonderful rooms with their products; we’re pumped to join that “dream team.”

So what’s the trim plan? Metrie is providing us with chair rail, crown molding, picture mold and panel mold. You can see the intention for the what the wall trim will look like in the middle image below. Underneath that, you can see that we (Alex) already got started applying the crown molding. We are SUPER SUPER EXCITED to get all this trim work up on the walls. This room is pretty open to the rest of the house and it’s going to be amazing to have it be such a showstopper.

IMG_0974.jpeg
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Week 2
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Week 2

As of now, we can happily say we’re on track with this challenge. That said, it’s a reeeally tight schedule and becoming increasingly stressful with every passing day - especially with all of the work traveling happening this month. I feel so lucky to have many partners in this. Not only do I have Alex, but I also have some wonderful sponsors coming through with some amazing products that I can’t wait to talk about. Linda (who is also a huge help) organizes a great challenge and keeps us all on track. While there is a tight timeline, we are left with wonderful rooms at the end of this six weeks to enjoy.

The talented line up below knows exactly what I’m talking about. If you’ve been following along with their posts, you’ve seen that they are all designing some super excited space. Personally, I’m watching Kelly Golightly’s ORC closely. I’m itching to design a teenage girl’s room - especially decked out the way I know Kelly will. Her style is super fun, bold and bright and I’m DYING to see how she transforms the existing space for her niece. Which rooms are you most excited to see unfold?

At Home with Ashley | Bre Purposed | Dabito | The English Room | Erin Kestenbaum

Harlow & Thistle | House of Brinson | J & J Design | Kelly Golightly | Linda Holt

Megan Bachmann | Michelle Gage | Mimosa Lane | Murphy Deesign | Nicole Cole

Old Home Love | SG Style | Shay Geyer | Sita Montgomery | Style MPL

Media Partner Better Homes & Gardens | TM by ORC

 

Get The Look: Alana's Vintage Boudoir

 

It’s been nearly a year since I revealed Alana’s Vintage Boudoir on the blog. If you recall, I designed Alana’s space as part of last Fall’s One Room Challenge. Right now, I’m in the middle of another ORC, but thought I’d throw it back a bit. Alana was such a dream to design for. I strive to bring my client’s personalities out into their spaces - and we did just that here. Her style is eclectic and sophisticated - and she favors a splash of vintage.

Since come time has gone by, a lot of the pieces we purchased are no longer available. The look I pulled together reflects the original bedroom design, but is slightly more updated with in stock items that you can run out and snag for yourself TODAY!!

Michelle Gage // Get The Look: Alana's Vintage Boudoir
Michelle Gage // Get The Look: Alana's Vintage Boudoir
Michelle Gage // Get The Look: Alana's Vintage Boudoir
Michelle Gage // Get The Look: Alana's Vintage Boudoir
Michelle Gage // Get The Look: Alana's Vintage Boudoir

It’s time to give the people what they want - the sources!! As with every design project, I get A LOT of questions about where I find everything. Typically, these sources are between myself and my clients. They are hiring me for a service - which costs them money - and I don’t want to then take the work that they paid me to do and spread all around the internet for others to copy.

For this project, however, I didn’t charge Alana. This was a collaboration and I provided her with complimentary design services in an effort to complete The One Room Challenge. For that reason, I feel comfortable showing you how to get the look yourself. A lot of what we chose for Alana’s space was vintage, so these links lead to similar options with plenty of stock. I’d love to hear from you - what pieces will you be buying for your bedroom makeover?

So onto the sources…

Brass Bed (half-priced option) / White Lacquer Nightstand / Black + Brass Sconces / Lavender Metallic Wallpaper / Oriental Rug / Blush Pillow / Baby Blue Pillow / Maroon Mongolian Fur Pillow / Wedding Blanket / Natural Leather Moroccan Pouf / Rattan Chair / Mini Gold Mirrors / Blue + Brass Velvet Vanity Bench / Sheepskin

 

One Room Challenge: Week 1

 

Can you believe it, baby, we’re back at it again. The Fall 2018 One Room Challenge is in full swing, with a killer lineup of amazing designers and bloggers. This challenge is going to be unlike any other. Why you ask? Well, normally we have six weeks to transform one room of our choosing. However, this season, I’m practically gone for the whole month of October aka the whole ORC. I’m traveling A TON for work this month and have lots of (exciting) client projects to tend to in between trips. THE PRESSURE IS ON!!

Luckily, I have an amazing husband to tend to the home front. It’s no secret that Alex is the muscle behind my designs. He is my #1 contractor. I feel so lucky to have someone by my side who can add and remove walls at my whim. I meeeeeean, did you see our last challenge? The man turned a hallway into a closet, which makes him a hero in my eyes.

So what room are we working on? Well, I’m glad you asked - we’re making over our dining room!! If you’ve been checking in on Instagram, you would have seen that Alex started doing some framing for the killer built-in he’s making. That piece is going to be EPIC and totally transform the space. As of now, the room is pretty square. Usually, dining rooms are a little long and narrow - or at the very least obviously rectangular. Our dining room is square, which is proving challenging to design - but we’ll make it work.

Alright, the moment you’ve all been waiting for - THE BEFORE PHOTOS (& a video)!!

Disclaimer: This is what the space looked like when we moved in and we’ve done next to nothing to it (just refinished the floors) and it’s what the room looks like now. For the last few months, we’ve been eating at a folding table. While that sounds terrible, currently we have no table to eat at so I miss that folding table very much. AND NO, your eyes don’t deceive you, these walls are in fact a terrible butter yellow, accented with a ripe ketchup color. The previous homeowners had interesting taste.

Alex created a time lapse video of the work he started on this weekend. He did all the work, but I uploaded in to Youtube, which no joke, has me wondering if you’re reading the blog of the world’s next big Youtube star. First Youtube video here and BAM your girl nailed the upload.

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Week 1
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Week 1

Well, that’s all she wrote. Be sure to check out each featured designer’s blog post today and the participant’s tomorrow. I always feel jazzed and inspired when The ORC rolls around - people creating all around the world and web…ahhh magical!!

At Home with Ashley | Bre Purposed | Dabito | The English Room | Erin Kestenbaum

Harlow & Thistle | House of Brinson | J & J Design | Kelly Golightly | Linda Holt

Megan Bachmann | Michelle Gage | Mimosa Lane | Murphy Deesign | Nicole Cole

Old Home Love | SG Style | Shay Geyer | Sita Montgomery | Style MPL

Media Partner Better Homes & Gardens | TM by ORC

 

Perfect Pairings: 8 Round Dining Table + Chair Combos For Your Small Space

 
Michelle Gage // Perfect Pairings: 8 Round Dining Table + Chair Combos For Your Small Space
Michelle Gage // Perfect Pairings: 8 Round Dining Table + Chair Combos For Your Small Space
Michelle Gage // Perfect Pairings: 8 Round Dining Table + Chair Combos For Your Small Space
Michelle Gage // Perfect Pairings: 8 Round Dining Table + Chair Combos For Your Small Space

image 1: Chestnut Hill Charm / image 2: via Chairish / image 3: Eclectic Color in Manayunk / image 4: via Domino

 
 

If you’ve been following along for some time now, you’ve likely noticed that there have been a lot of changes happening around here. Among other things, the blog is getting a new life. Blogging has been something that I’ve always enjoyed but could rarely find the time to do. That said, I think it’s extremely important to consistently be sharing and telling stories related to design - and to do so, I knew I needed help.

About a month ago, I brought on a new full-time team member. Faith is my right hand woman, helping me with all things interiors. She wears many hats - from interior designer extraordinaire to social media strategist and all things in between. Together, we created an editorial calendar for the rest of the year so that we can continue to bring fresh content here and on other social spheres. We’re really excited about this endeavor and hope you’ll check in with us every Monday and Wednesday for the fresh content we’ll be cooking up.

Today, we’re sharing a new series - Perfect Pairings. In this round up, we’ll be putting commonly coupled pieces together that makes shopping super easy for you. These full-proof pairings provide you with a base to design your room around. Get your breakfast nook ready for fall with these awesome options. Sit down with some soup and sort through these selections; you’re sure to find something to help spruce up your space.

Michelle Gage // Perfect Pairings: 8 Round Dining Table + Chair Combos For Your Small Space
Michelle Gage // Perfect Pairings: 8 Round Dining Table + Chair Combos For Your Small Space

1 - table, chairs / 2 - table, chairs / 3 - table, chairs / 4 - table, chairs / 5 - table, chairs / 6 - table, chairs / 7 - table, chairs / 8 - table, chairs

 

'Tis The Season: Gearing Up For The One Room Challenge

 

Well folks, here we are again. The One Room Challenge is upon us and I’m entering my fourth season. I had so much fun participating in the last three rounds, that I came back for one more. For my very first ORC, I took on an e-design project. I chose my client from her Instagram profile and together we create a Perfect Palm Springs-Inspired Oasis. For the next season, I found an equally awesome client (she designs shoes, hello!) and gave her a glam bedroom makeover. Last spring, I finally worked on a room of my own and tackled my new home’s master bedroom.

This new season starts in ONE WEEK!! Can you believe we’re here again? I am VERY EXCITED about the space I am about to makeover. It’s going to be EPIC and dare I say - my favorite room to date? Sound off in the comments on what room your think I’ll be taking on. I’ll give you a hint, it’s in my home and there will be wallpaper (duh) - and maybe some cake. ;)

sproulrd_mssuite_sitrm_03_web 2.jpg
Michelle Gage // 'Tis The Season: Gearing Up For The One Room Challenge
2017-04-19_23_crescent_ave_0368_web 2.jpg
 

That Time I Offered to Fly to LA to Hold Emily Henderson's Baby

 

HAPPY FALL, ya’ll, we have some exciting news to share with you today. We’re relaunching the blog!! It’s been a while since we connected on this platform and we have plenty to share. We felt it only appropriate to start things off with a reintroduction.

HELLO!! I’m Michelle Gage and I am about to humiliate myself on the internet.

Where do I begin? I guess I should start off my saying that I have been a die-hard Emily Henderson fan since her early days on HGTV. She’s frankly been a design icon for me and I’m utterly obsessed with everything creates.

Let’s go back to 2014, when I was working for Anthropologie’s Home Office here in Philadelphia. I was on the buying team; one of my main objectives was to scout and develop amazing home goods. I welcomed that opportunity and fancied myself as a person like Emily would want to meet. As most 24 year olds do, I thought too highly of myself.

Spring was approaching and my (then) boyfriend and myself had made plans to fly to LA to visit with some of our very best friends from our college days. I made a long list of all the design-related shops and showrooms I wanted to visit while there (House of Honey, Nicky Kehoe, etc). The Rose Bowl, of course, made the list - and you know who frequents The Rose Bowl? My girl Emily Henderson.

I somehow got the idea in my head that Emily and I were destined to meet - or rather that she would have any interest whatsoever in meeting me. Call it insane courage (or blind optimism), but I drafted an email to Emily with a detailed plan on how we should connect during my stay in LA. I suggested that - if she had plans to shop The Rose Bowl - we should do so together, alluding to the fact that I am in fact a skilled junk collector and lugger of said collected junk. I spent many nights editing my very frank email and attached some of the most horrific interior design work known to man.

Alex and I had just purchased our first home - money was tight- and the house looked like a cross between your grandmother’s fake antiques and the “crap you buy from Goodwill and promise yourself you will fix up but never do.” Back to the email itself - I believe I even offered to hold her newborn child so that she could have some focused shopping. In my mind, this was an offer she just couldn’t turn down - though I’m not sure what new mother could comfortably shop for vintage treasures while a stranger creepily holds her child on the sidelines.

  24 year old me, to add further design embarrassment fuel to the fire…

24 year old me, to add further design embarrassment fuel to the fire…

Fast forward to a few days before the market, when I did actually get a reply from dear Emily. No, the reply didn’t have a restraining order attached to it, rather a promise. She said that if she wound up attending the market, we could meet. I almost choked on my overpriced LA street taco. I’d take a meeting, I thought.

(Very) long story short, we didn’t meet then in LA. We didn’t shop the flea market arm in arm and trot away with tales of how we became such fast friends. We did, however, meet a few years later at an event in New York (she was just as lovely as I had imagined) and I did go on to compile a few round ups for her blog. You may recall such notable contributions as this one about sofas, this one about wallpaper and (some of the best work I’ve ever produced) this one about toilets.

I’m taking this one as a lesson in perseverance and a reminder that you cannot be afraid to fail. Do I cringe when I think about my slightly stalkerish attempts to get the attention of my idol? Absolutely! Given the chance to go back in time, would I do it again? Absolutely! As I start my 29th year and march onto my 30th, I can only look back and smile at the 24 year old eager interior designer that I was then - full of excitement and completely unaware of the struggles to come.

Call it blind determination or naivety, but we all have to start somewhere. You don’t know what you don’t know - and in life and with work, you have to treat these experiences as the cost of tuition. You learn as you go, even if you have to pay for it with embarrassment along the way.

Well, folks, that’s all for the cringe-worthy blogpost. Be sure to return here on Mondays and Wednesdays, where we will be sharing about all things interior design!!

 

One Room Challenge: Revealing The Massive Master

 

IT'S REVEAL DAY, BABY! I can't believe we finally made it to week six. Let me tell you something, these challenges take A LOT out of ya! There is a lot of work to be completed in a short amount of time. It's physically, emotionally and somewhat financially draining. As a featured designer, I've been lucky to get connected to some really great sponsors. That said, I'm a picky girl. I would never work with a company that didn't align with my brand vision. I wound up partnering with some really wonderful companies - and turning down some others that weren't the right fit. 

At the end of the day, this is my job. Designing interiors, while I love it, is work. I take time away from the core of my business to participate in these challenge - and I am happy to do it. I am in no way "spilling tea" on this topic. I just like to keep it real. Like anything you want in life, it takes a ton of dedication and hard work. I happen to enjoy working myself to the bone, so maybe I'm in the right business. ;) Just know, everyone playing a part is putting in a massive amount of energy to make this a success. 

I partake in The One Room Challenge because I think it is a truly special community of uber-talented designers and bloggers. It's a genius set up, led by the wonderful Linda Weinstein. She's a real hoot! I've gotten some really wonderful opportunities from participating in The ORC. Heck, I got selected as a featured designer after my first submission. After each challenge wraps, I get all excited for the next one. I truly feel like I create my best work when racing to the finish line with other talented folks - and I'm so excited to share The Massive Master with you!

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

BEFORE...

 product sources:  dresser ,  artwork

product sources: dresser, artwork

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

BEFORE...

One Room Challenge: Revealing The Massive Master
 product sources:  wall paint ,  bench ,  printed pillow ,  artwork

To those who are wondering, yes, I did change the floor plan from my initial design. BUT UH I TOLD YOU I LIKELY WOULD! This was one hard room to work with. As mentioned before, the previous homeowners removed a wall that used to separate these two big rooms - to make something massive. It's honestly more room than anyone needs in their bedroom. 

When we walked through the house, as perspective buyers, all of their furniture had already been moved out. We didn't have the chance to see how they chose to arrange the furniture in this space. Don't forget, what is now the closet actually used to be the hallway. The room's entry door scooted down a bit. The floors were sanded and stained - walls patched and painted (and wallpapered, duh). This room received quite the transformation - beyond the design work done (which is exceptional, if I do say so myself). 

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

BEFORE...

 product sources:  rug  (similar),  end table  (similar),  chairs  (similar)  sconces ,  leather pouf ,  printed pillows ,  artwork

product sources: rug (similar), end table (similar), chairs (similar) sconces, leather pouf, printed pillows, artwork

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Revealing The Massive Master
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Revealing The Massive Master
 product sources:  vanity ,  vanity stool  (similar),  mirror ,  planter

product sources: vanity, vanity stool (similar), mirror, planter

So what do you think? I tried to top my previous challenges (see Spring and Fall 2017) - but but that's a tall order! I purchased a lot of the furniture pieces myself (outside of sponsorship) and linked what I could; some items are no longer available. The wonderful white bird chairs, for example, are no longer sold through Anthropologie. I had actually purchased one while I was working as a buyer for the company in 2015. The other, I stumbled upon at a thrift store. It was totally disgusting, covered in coffee. I used a Rug Doctor to get out 95% of the filth. Lesson learned: don't be afraid to put in a little elbow grease. This pair of chairs totally makes the space, so I'm glad I saw through the grime. 

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

BEFORE...

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

All of this closet stuff is on sale right now, people. If you hop on over to The Container Store before May 13th, you'll get 25% off all your closet storage needs. Their design staff can also help you with the space planning. If you're like me - an exhausted designer - you can put that part in someone else's capable hands. YIPPEE!

All of the products used in this project are linked on this pinboard. If you have any questions about how the space came together, sound off in the comments. Be sure to also take a look at what the other talented peeps produced this spring. Whether you're a featured designer, guest participant or just following along - HATS OFF TO YOU! There is so much inspiration to be captured in each and every space. Designers, it's been wonderful to work alongside you. Readers, it's be great having your support. I'd like to extend a final thank you to Linda, who makes this challenge possible and the sponsors who partnered with me to create such a colorful space. It was wonderful to work with teams of people who trust your design talents enough to sit back and let you DO YOUR THANG. I hope to have done everyone proud. 

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 | Bisou Style

Media Partner House Beautiful | TM by ORC

 

Thank you to all of the wonderful sponsors for providing product to make this challenge a BIG success. Sponsored product was received from the following brands: Milton and King, Lamps Plus, The Container Store, Globus Cork, Haiku Home, Farrow & Ball, Minted, Chairish, Grey Malin, Bunglo, Casper, Pom Pom At Home, Jill Rosenwald, Bellacor and Overstock.

 

One Room Challenge: How To Prep For A Photoshoot

 

This is a topic that I have previously found very little information on - or at least little GOOD information. When I started my design business, I was pretty clueless as to what all went into make a stunning shot. Prop styling such an intuitive and visual art, that it's a hard topic to write about - and I thirsted for this information. Truthfully, good styling comes with A LOT of practice. Oftentimes, items appear differently on camera than they do in your own (or your client's) home. I want to shed a little light onto the process, so that you can start to take baby steps towards being an amazing stylist. 

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: How To Prep For A Photoshoot

1. Find The Right Photographer.

Having the right photographer is key. The right photographer should make your work look better in photos than it appears in person. Finding the right person may take some time - and trial and error. Try out a few pros to see who is the best fit for you and your style. Instagram is a great place to start your search. Be sure the photographer's style meshes well with yours and take the time to grow that relationship, as it could be a long-term one!

2. Review your shot list. 

Do this in the space with your photographer. Be sure you both have a count of the vignettes you wish to capture. Be flexible and trust your photographer's eye. If you're proposing an impossible shot, rethink it and let your photographer suggest another. Arrange your shot list in order of importance, in case you start losing daylight. I always walk the room solo first, taking iPhone snaps along the way to get an idea of what shots will work.

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: How To Prep For A Photoshoot

3. Hide all cords (& ugly stuff).

Tuck all of your cords away. Hide them behind dressers and under rugs. Nothing ruins a photograph more than an ugly plastic cord poking out. On that note, shut the door on any disasters. We shot our master bedroom and closet, but didn't intend to touch the bathroom just yet...so it became a dumping ground for all of the construction clutter. No one needs to see that.

 chairs + rug from Anthropologie (old);  sconces  from Lamps Plus;  pouf  from Overstock

chairs + rug from Anthropologie (old); sconces from Lamps Plus; pouf from Overstock

4. Clean your windows.

Use a microfiber cloth to clean your windows. The grime on them can really appear enhanced in a photo. 

  bedding  from Pom Pom At Home; sconces from Lamps Plus;  rug  and  pad  from Overstock

bedding from Pom Pom At Home; sconces from Lamps Plus; rug and pad from Overstock

5. Sweep and vacuum your floors. 

Be sure to clean up any dirt on your floors before the shoot day. Sweep and vacuum, Cinderella.

6. Turn off all lights. 

It's very rare that a shot looks better when the lights are left on. Leaving your lights on can add odd coloring to other items in the space - and be blinding at times. It's best to turn the lights off for shooting. 

  art  from Gray Malin;  dresser  from Overstock

art from Gray Malin; dresser from Overstock

7. Freshen up with flowers (& plants).

I cringe every time I see interior designers skip this step. Adding floors (or fresh fruit, depending on the room) can really liven it up! Bringing flowers into the space can also bring in color. Sure, you can use white ones if you need that balance. However, if you want to bring a POP of pink (or another accenting color) into the space, this is an easy way to do it. This step is totally affordable too! I get flowers from my local grocer and plants (like this $10 one) from Ikea. 

8. Books, books and more books. 

Books are the #1 needed item for any photo shoot, especially when styling a shelf. If you're thinking that you wouldn't use them to style a bedroom, you'd be wrong. While you certainly don't need many there, you still need some. For example, I styled both nightstands with a small stack of books. Books were crucial to getting varying heights on a flat surface. 

***

For any of you who still have yet to shoot your space, I hope you found these tips helpful. There is so much that goes into photoshoots, so it's best to be prepared. Following a few of these steps will ensure styling success. 

I'M SO EXCITED to share my finished space with you. It's one of my favorite projects to date and I'm so grateful that it's mine. In the previous two seasons, I worked on room's in other people's homes. I was sad to say goodbye to those spaces - and this time I don't have to.

If you're trying to catch up on the last few week's progress, you can read up on week one, week two, week three and week four by clicking the embedded links. Be sure to come back next week for THE BIG REVEAL!!

To stay up to date on what the other fantastic featured designers are doing, check out their blogs, linked below. 

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 | Bisou Style

Media Partner House Beautiful | TM by ORC

 

Thank you to Overstock.com, Lamps Plus, Pom Pom At Home and Gray Malin for providing product to make this challenge a BIG success.

 

One Room Challenge: I Finally Have Progress Pictures

 

In last week's post, you got a lot of text. I had a lot to say, but not a lot to show. Truthfully, we didn't make much progress in the master bedroom. All of my ideas were still on paper...or on order, but not yet received. 

This weekend was a whirlwind. We spent three straight days sprucing this space up. I would never say that interior design is "difficult" - but there are a million moving parts. If one thing goes wrong, it can throw off every intention you had for the space. It's a giant puzzle and you're always missing a piece - and it's never under the couch cushion. The missing piece is always hanging out in the kitchen cabinet, between the bags of chips, where you'd never think to look...because you've never put a puzzle together there. Make sense?

We dealt with a delayed dresser delivery, missing components to the bed and a busted bench. Even with the best laid plans, things can just go awry. You have to keep a clear mind. These things don't HAPPEN TO YOU, they just happen (insert shrugging girl emoji here).

To top it off, I spent the previous week away in Highpoint, North Carolina, shopping the market for furniture for my design client projects. While I was away, some pieces trickled in. THANK GAWD for Alex. He was home to receive and lug in this rug, pad and pouf from Overstock.com. THEY'RE GORGEOUS! He also put down the cork floor, from Globus Cork, in our new Elfa closet

With all those wrenches thrown into the mix, we still made major progress - and I finally have the pics to prove it.

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: I Finally Have Progress Pictures
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: I Finally Have Progress Pictures

Last week, I got to pick out some storage items from The Container Store, which was a dream come true. I selected some wooden hangers, black boxes and copper bins to outfit the space. I was like a kid in a candy store; I filled my cart up so fast. My twelve year-old self wouldn't believe what I get to do for a job now at twenty-eight. If you want to take yourself on a little shopping spree, The Container Store is running a 25% off sale now thru May 13th. GO GET YOU SOME!

In the closet, we chose to install a cork floor. It was super easy (I say, having not done it myself). Alex put the floor down all by himself. He's done tile work before - and has totally sworn it off. The cork, he says, went down much easier. Everything came pre-cut and ready for install. Alex has been DYING to get cork flooring somewhere in the house. The closet was the perfect place to give it a go. Why? Well, remember, he swore off tile so that wasn't an option. I don't like carpet. The hardwood floors would've been impossible to match. Also, I wanted COLOR. Globus Cork has a range of colors and patterns to choose from. We chose the sage green, nugget cork in pattern #8. We're pretty pleased with how it turned out. The color works with the birch wood drawers and soft grey walls very well. 

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: I Finally Have Progress Pictures
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: I Finally Have Progress Pictures

Are you following along on Pinterest? No?! Well you should be! I'm stashing all the juicy product information here. If you want to catch up on week one, two and three...be my guest. Be sure to check in on the progress from this uber-talented crew too!

 

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!