Before and After: An Outdated Living Room Gets an “Artfully Bold” Update

It was on a house hunting visit that Michelle and Alex Gage were first able to see this living room’s possibilities. Though the previous owners’ style was far from the couple’s modern, eclectic taste, the room had been thoughtfully arranged. As Michelle writes “there was a certain warmth and charm to the way the previous owner decorated. We saw that the space had potential.”

The living room is the first room guests see when they visit this house, so the couple wanted to craft a dazzling first impression. They ripped out old orange carpet on the stairs. They covered the entryway wall with wallpaper Michelle had been dreaming about for years.

Then they tackled the long and narrow living room’s layout, filling it with new furnishings as well as affordable vintage pieces. Michelle says she’s inspired by “the art of collecting and acquiring treasures over time.” And the two of them are masters at finding deals on fascinating objects. The blue trunk on one side of the couch? A YMCA score for $20 back when Alex and Michelle were still in college. The brown has-seen-better-days trunk? The couple snagged it at an estate sale for only $75.

A quirky pair of old roller skates was found at a flea market last summer for $15. The tall cream cabinet that’s been turned into a lovely display piece was rescued from Michelle’s parents’ basement, where it had lived unloved for over forty years.

Because Alex is an avid reader (and “hand selected each and every vintage book in our house,” as Michelle swears), the spot next to the fireplace and built-in shelving is Alex’s reading nook, and the chair and ottoman were found on Craigslist and lovingly reupholstered to look good as new.

“You want your front room to show off your style. Our personality is certainly reflected in the other rooms of our house, but our living room captures ‘us’ best. …This is a space that just makes us love coming home.” You can read more about the living room redo on Michelle’s blog.

Thank you Michelle!

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