The story of Mel and Mitch’s home is the kind we all root for. They worked in the same school district years ago as co-workers, which is where they met and later got married after they both went through painful divorces. They now live Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, with their kids Joe and Lucy. Second chance at love in their forever home built and designed by the duo!
On Mel being the designer and Mitch, the builder:
Mitch and I have a 17 year age difference between us, so when we married, he had adult kids while my kids were in middle school. I knew it would be tough for them to accept someone new, especially my son. Mitch and I went to counseling together to learn how we could best introduce him to my kids, and the counselor advised that he start by coming over to do a handyman type project across several days. That is when I realized how talented Mitch is! Thus began a long journey of home improvement projects.
On Defining the Vibe of the House:
I have a small typographic print hanging in our family room that says, “Inhale, Exhale.” That is because I want our home to be a place where you feel calm, relaxed, and welcome the instant you walk in. I also want it to be unique, eclectic, and memorable, and to represent who we are as a couple.
On Visualizing a Blank Canvas:
I decided since this was my “start over” home for my “start over” life, I was going to fill it with what I love.
I took the time to pour over catalogs, décor magazines, Pinterest, design blogs, and Instagram. Then I looked for patterns in my choices. I realized that my most often pinned furniture was mid-century modern style. Also, the rooms I was most attracted to, contained large, bold art, accent walls, and unique lighting. Finally, I realized I was most attracted to rooms filled with blues and greens and darker wall colors. As a result, all of these things are woven consistently throughout our home.
On how Long it Took to put the House Together:
It took ten years to get our home to where it is now. Some rooms we redid all at once-like our kitchen, our master bathroom, my daughter’s room, and our basement. Other rooms evolved, like our fireplace room, our dining room, our master bedroom, and our family room.
On Displaying Art:
The easiest way is to choose an oversized piece of art and make it the center of a wall. However, gallery walls also look amazing if they are well planned.
First, for a gallery wall to look its best, there should be a consistent color palette to unite it. Besides, frames that match or coordinate well with one another also make a big difference. Our extensive gallery wall contains only pieces by Modigliani, while a smaller one in our family room contains mostly pieces by Klee. In our bedroom, the art behind our tv all contain the colors black, white, and silver-with just a little color mixed in.
Proportion is also important-many people seem to hang their pieces too far apart or without balance to the shapes and sizes. When Mitch and I planned our Modigliani wall, we used graph paper to ensure that the pieces would be perfectly spaced. It was a giant pain, but well worth it. Another great strategy is to cut paper out the size of the art you are thinking, and tape it to the wall with painter’s tape. You can move it around until you get the spacing right, and then you will know what sizes to buy and where to hang them after you do.
On Picking a Favourite Corner in the House:
My favorite room in our home is our fireplace room, where we now have our Modigliani gallery wall. The arrangement of furniture invites conversations over cups of coffee or glasses of wine. Friends and family gather in there while we cook dinner, and there is a beautiful view of the kitchen. The Klimt painting over the mantel is my absolute favorite piece of art of all time, I adore my fabulous faux fiddle leaf fig tree, and the bookshelves Mitch built make me smile because I know how hard he worked to make them just the way I wanted them. Finally, when Mitch plays the guitar, the music floats up to the second floor and into our bedroom in such a lovely way.
Favourite sites to find key furniture, rugs, decor and art:
For furniture and rugs, my all-time favorite site is West Elm, with CB2 being a close second. I also love Joybird and Article. For art, art.com and Great Big Canvas let you choose from an amazing array of styles, sizes, and colors-and frame the prints just the way that you want them. I never fail to find some must have décor item at Target…and I also love to find unique items by browsing Etsy. Crate and Barrel and Pier One have fabulous faux botanicals, which I use heavily throughout our home.