Tracey Tilley’s home in Detroit is a testament to the adage “good things take time.” Purchased when the blogger and photographer was just 25, Tracy has spent over a decade transforming this once derelict fixer-upper into the charming and welcoming home that it is today. How did she get here? With thrift, patience, do-it-yourself ingenuity, and the wisdom to know that such work is never truly “done.”

“For the first few months,” Tracey recalls, “I worked furiously. I tore out the carpet, refinished the floors, painted the walls, doors, and ceilings, sanded and painted the kitchen cabinets, and replaced the light fixtures. I was anxious to have a clean, blank canvas to work with.” There were mistakes and headaches along the way, but as any accomplished DIY-er can attest to, the satisfaction was worth the wait. “It is important that our home feels calm, happy, and reflects our sense of humor. Luxurious, but not fussy. Organized and clean, but not sterile. I want to sit on my sofa, turn on Orange is the New Black, and enjoy a glass of red wine and a slice of pizza without worrying obsessively about spills and crumbs. I want my friends to come over and feel like they can be rowdy and have fun. I want to live in a space that makes me and my husband feel happier than any other place in the world.”

“The living room is probably my favorite room in the house.” Tracey says. “It’s where we relax, watch movies, read, and entertain. I’m always switching up the gallery wall. I love collecting old portraits from estate sales and thrift stores. Many of my friends are artists, so I’ve collected a lot of great original art over the years. The bar cart was a $30 craigslist find. I love making cocktails for my friends (and myself!). I have so many books! I can’t bare to part with a book after I read it, so I keep them stacked in little piles all over the house.”

West Elm - Eclectic Mid-Century Home In Detroit

West Elm - Eclectic Mid-Century Home In Detroit

West Elm - Eclectic Mid-Century Home In Detroit

“I found this old ladder, covered in paint splatters, at a thrift store for a few bucks. I removed the back piece, rubbed a coat of gray stain over it and leaned it against the wall in our hallway. It makes a great display rack for rugs, blankets and textiles (and covers up the thermostat and laundry shoot).”

West Elm - Eclectic Mid-Century Home In Detroit

“I wanted our bedroom to feel fresh, clean, and relaxing so I painted the walls and ceiling in a bright white. The rose patterned chenille bedspread was passed down from my great grandmother to my mother, and now to me. A friend of mine saved this dresser from being thrown in a dumpster. It was originally a light cream color and was missing a few handles. I upgraded it by painting it navy blue, distressing the edges and adding new handles. The pink salt lamp gives off the prettiest warm glow and supposedly produces negative ions which the internet told me is a good thing.”

West Elm - Eclectic Mid-Century Home In Detroit

West Elm - Eclectic Mid-Century Home In Detroit

West Elm - Eclectic Mid-Century Home In Detroit

“Most of the furniture in the dining room was passed down to me by family members. The dining table was my grandmother’s and desperately needs refinishing. I’ll get around to it someday! For now, I keep it covered in a cute macrame runner and a tray of bits and bobbles. The drapes are two long pieces of ikat fabric that I hemmed with iron tape and hung with curtain clips. The suit of armor in the dining room was a lucky garage sale find for $10. I used my great grandmother’s vanity as a sideboard in the dining room. It’s in pretty rough shape, but I love it anyway. The original photograph of Abe Lincoln is dated 1891 and has the photographer’s name on it. I found it in a flea market for $25.”

West Elm - Eclectic Mid-Century Home In Detroit

West Elm - Eclectic Mid-Century Home In Detroit

“The breakfast nook is the perfect spot to sip coffee and pose with my chihuahua, Eleanor Rigby. The shelves hold a rotating collection of my favorite books and curiosities. I found the acrylic console on Craigslist for $10. It’s bowing in the middle, but for ten bones, I can’t complain! The large framed baby photo is my great grandmother, and the wedding photo is my great great grandparents in the late 1800s. I cherish those old family photos so much! The disco ball is one of my favorite things in the house. It adds a bit of playfulness and casts sparkly lights all over the room!”

Photography by Kate Sassak

Tracey Tilley is a project manager by day and a blogger, photographer, and design-enthusiast by night. She lives in Detroit with her husband Mike a cat named Celia and a dog named Eleanor Rigby. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog Studio 34.

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PD

December 28, 2015

What a beautiful house!

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