Interiorssneak peeks

Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City

by Garrett Fleming

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

Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City, Design*Sponge
Tracey's favorite spot in her home is the living room. The open floorplan is perfect for both the occasional disco nap and entertaining. A Macy's sofa, West Elm coffee table, Target wire table and rug from Rugs USA anchor the space. IKEA curtains flank the living room's windows.
Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City, Design*Sponge
The sunniest spot in the living room is home to Tracey and Mike's plants – seen here in an Anthropologie hanger and woven basket. Benjamin Moore "Stonington Gray" covers the walls.
Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City, Design*Sponge
The couple has a soft spot for old portraits. Tracey and Mike are frequently found perusing estate sales in hopes of adding to their collection. Many of the two's friends are artists, and their work also decorates the home. Jessica Brown, Emily Whitehead and Warpaint Studio designed a few of the pieces. The gold table is from West Elm, and the chair is from Urban Outfitters.
Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City, Design*Sponge
Reading is a big part of this household. Tracey falls so in love with many of her novels that she can't ever seem to part with them. That being said, stacks can be found all over her Detroit house.
Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City, Design*Sponge
At $30, this Craigslist bar cart was a steal. Tracey fancies herself a bit of a bartender and loves nothing more than crafting fun cocktails for her friends. A self-diagnosed rug hoarder, her overflow lives in this woven basket from Target. I am a sucker for mixing brass and copper. These intermixed metals are so stunning!
Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City, Design*Sponge
A coat of grey stain brought this thrift-store ladder back to life. Now it's "a great display rack for rugs, blankets and textiles – and covers up the thermostat and laundry chute." The top two textiles are from Detroit Vintage Collective. The black-and-white rug is from Urban Outfitters, and the bottom rung's rug is from Proud Mary.
Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City, Design*Sponge
The couple's bedspread was passed down from Tracey's great grandmother. They weren't crazy about the outdated, sliding closet doors, but a fresh coat of black paint modernized them. The chandelier is on a dimmer and "casts lovely light around the room."
Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City, Design*Sponge
The ombre curtains are from Anthropologie's clearance section. Pink in a master bedroom is a bold choice, but Mike didn't mind one bit. Painting the ceiling in Benjamin Moore "Simply White" allows for light to bounce around the space all day long. What a clever way to achieve the "fresh, clean and relaxing," bedroom they always wanted. Target makes the side table, and the hanging terrariums are from CB2.
Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City, Design*Sponge
Back in 2012, we featured Tracey's bedroom makeover. While the bulk of the look has stayed the same, it's interesting to see how her taste has evolved over the last couple of years. The "War is Over" print can be downloaded from Imagine Peace.
Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City, Design*Sponge
One of Tracey's friends stepped in and saved this dresser from the dumpster. Struck by its shape and potential, Tracey took it home, painted it navy, added new hardware and distressed it to perfection. The salt lamp casts a hazy, pink glow over the master bedroom. This gold mirror is the most interesting HomeGoods find I have ever seen.
Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City, Design*Sponge
The full bath got overhauled. I think the most ingenious update was the glass door. Mike and Tracey knew that light would make the quaint room feel larger, so they replaced the old shower door with this all-glass option. That way light from the small window could fill the entire room. An IKEA shelf and Obama night-light from Glass Action! call the bathroom home.
Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City, Design*Sponge
Tracey tries to add "a pop of weird," to each room in her home. The bathroom got some cat-meme artwork, and a "Press for Champagne" plaque by Lisa Golightly. Tracey painted the black-and-white planter herself.
Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City, Design*Sponge
The breakfast nook is "the perfect spot to sip coffee and read the news in the morning. And by 'read the news' I mean scroll through Instagram," Tracey says. The two shelves are in a constant rotation as the couple finds new and interesting accessories to display. The table is by West Elm, the black chair is vintage, the stool is from Target and IKEA curtains decorate the windows.
Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City, Design*Sponge
The dining room's console was only $10 on Craigslist. Baby photos of Tracey's grandmother and her great great grandparents' wedding photos from the 1800s complement the modern and brilliant disco ball from Eldorado General Store. Mixing vintage and mod is something I always adore, and the Tilley's are masters at it. More Benjamin Moore "Stonington Gray" covers the dining room walls.
Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City, Design*Sponge
Eleanor Rigby is a 3-year-old Chihuahua mix, and Tracey loves her so much she could "SQUISH HER FACE."
Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City, Design*Sponge
The dining room's quirky suit of armor was a $10 garage-sale find. Tracey used fabric from Emily Henderson's One Kings Lane collection to make these curtains.
Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City, Design*Sponge
Tracey's family passed down the majority of the dining room's furniture. Until Tracey refinishes Grandmother's dining table, an Anthropologie runner and "bits and bobbles," amp it up. This Polaroid collage always grabs guests' attention. Instead of crafting photo albums, the couple leaves loose photos around the house. If the two have learned anything about entertaining, it's that guests never get tired of looking at and inquiring about these paper memories.
Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City, Design*Sponge
Great Grandmother's vanity proved to be the perfect dining-room sideboard. "The original photograph of Abe Lincoln is dated 1891 and has the photographer's name on it." For $25, it was a no-brainer, flea-market find. Mike and Tracey painted the walls in Benjamin Moore "Distant Gray."
Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City, Design*Sponge
Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City, Design*Sponge
The home's floorplan.

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