Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City

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What I love about revisiting a home that we have previously peeked inside of is that the stylistic evolution is always so fascinating. Three years ago, we featured Tracey and Mike Tilley’s sunshiny bedroom makeover, and today they have been generous enough to let us see the rest of their mid-century, ranch-style abode in Detroit, MI.

Anxious but excited, project manager Tracey bought the home after growing tired of tossing money into a pit of rental properties. With such a passion for decorating, it no longer made sense for her to invest so much time and effort into a temporary residence. The hardwood floors, coved ceilings and abundant closet space helped this property win out over more updated and convenient homes. Luckily, the one-bedroom home’s previous owners did a fantastic job maintaining some of the space’s original, 1950s charm. “I got good vibes the moment I walked in,” Tracey says.

Eager to have “a clean, blank canvas to work with,” she spent the first few months of her time in the home refinishing floors, tearing out carpet, and painting walls and ceilings. The decorating process has been slow, yet nothing but enjoyable. With a love for scouring vintage shops and keeping her decor in constant rotation, Tracey set out to mix “inexpensive pieces from big-box stores with vintage, flea-market finds.” Eleven years later, she is still finding clever ways to achieve the look she loves for less. Working on a budget meant that some extra DIY headaches were endured, but Tracey says it’s all been worth it. I have to agree. Truly one-of-a-kind pieces fill her rambler. There’s even a disco ball in the dining room and a full suit of armor guarding the breakfast nook. All these quirky touches set the mood for a fun and glittering home I am sure you’ll not soon forget. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Kate Sassak and Tracey Tilley

  1. yy says:

    One of the most memorable posts as of late. Beautiful space. I love the details.

  2. Claudia says:

    What a beautiful and comfortable home! Can you tell me more about the fabulous plant stand in slide 18?

    1. Tracey says:

      Thanks, Claudia! It’s from Anthropologie a few years ago.

  3. Amanda says:

    When my husband and I were buying our home years ago we wouldn’t even consider ranches probably because we both grew up in terribly decorated versions of the same. It is so refreshing to see such beautifully redone homes like this one. It makes me almost appreciate ranches (almost!).

  4. Kaitlyn says:

    This is unbelievably gorgeous. This is a post I will revisit when it’s time to decorate my new place. It’s wonderful and charming and the right amount of eclectic, lux, and lived in. I’m obssessed!

  5. Diane C. says:

    I love her taste and style! The blankets on ladder add such great color and texture, and that cat pic in the bathroom……!

  6. Grace says:

    So so pretty! Where did you get the lamp that’s on the bar cart? I totally need that for my office! It’s just the touch of class that it needs.

  7. Tracey says:

    Thank you, Grace! The lamp is from Target last year.

  8. Cheryl says:

    where did you find the press here for champagne decoration?

  9. Kristin says:

    LOVE the closet doors in the bedroom. Do you have more pics you can share? Are they just painted doors? Would like to see some more detail. Thanks!

    1. Tracey says:

      Thanks, Kristin! They’re just painted black with a white painted border all around. You can see some more pictures here:

  10. Aidel.K says:

    Great space!

  11. Jo says:

    Fantastic home. Love the photo college. What a great idea.

  12. Iz says:

    Laundry *chute* ;-)

  13. Laura says:

    I LOVE the rug in the breakfast nook. Where is it from?

    1. Tracey says:

      Thanks, Laura! It’s from West Elm.

  14. Yvonne says:

    Beautiful!! Everything ties together so nicely! May I ask what size your shag rug happens to be? Trying to find a good size for my living space as well – it’s not too big and not too small!

  15. Sara says:

    Your home is lovely, i love all of your fun finds! Could I ask where are some good flea markets that you like to go to in the Detroit metro area?

    1. Tracey says:

      Thanks, Sara! Some of my favorites are Odd Fellows in Berkley, Eastern Market Antiques, The Sunday Flea at Royal Oak Farmers Market, and The Town Peddler.

  16. kitty says:

    best wishes.

  17. Lauren says:

    THis is so pretty and I LOVE the ‘nook of weird’…”dat ass”-hahaha! I am inspired by your heart photo collage. How did you attach the photos to the wall? Did you use blu-tack or pins or a more interesting disply solution?

    1. Tracey says:

      Thanks, Lauren! I used painters tape on the back of the Polaroids. It doesn’t damage the wall or the photos.

  18. andrew bradford says:

    Interesting mix of decor styles!
    The place really shows Tracey’s style.


  19. Kristin says:


    I love the basket/flower pot! Where did you find it?

  20. Tracey says:

    Hi Kristin, it’s from Target. :)

  21. Melisa says:

    Beautiful space!!! LOVE!! May I ask of wall color in your living room?

    1. Melisa says:

      Beautiful space!!! LOVE!! May I ask of wall color in your living room?

  22. Lindsey says:

    Gorgeous home. What color paint did you use on the walls? It’s so refreshing.

  23. Sarah says:

    I LOVE your home. The living room is so gorgeous and welcoming. Do you remember what style your IKEA curtains are? I’m looking for a perfect white curtain. I’m also in love with the Moroccan wool rug but hear they shed. Have you had any problems with that or is it worth it for the style and comfort? Thanks so much! ?


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