The entertainment center, which was moved to the opposite side of the room where it hides a heater that is never used (it also balances the other large pieces of furniture in the room), is about the only piece that remained. Satin-finish paint was used for easy cleaning — necessary with three kids — and living plants added “some pizzazz in an inexpensive way,” says Michelle, who even did a little dumpster diving in search of a deal — a first for this high-end designer. She also invested in a ceiling fan — found for 20 percent off — not only for much-needed ventilation but to bring down the height of the ceiling to a more human scale. And, she points out, it always pays to shop around: The mirrors she bought for the found frames were 30 percent cheaper at Superior than other shops she called. It also helps to think of different uses for common objects: Michelle turned coat hooks into curtain-rod brackets when she couldn’t find off-the-rack hooks in the right size.
From the Rose Bowl Flea Market (held every second Sunday of the month)
Three bamboo stacking tables, $40 One Van Gogh and one Matisse print, $10 each Wood bowl, $3 Rotating picture frame, $5 Four large seashells, $7.50 Tablecloth, $30