Interiorssneak peeks

A Designer & a Do-er’s Forever Home

by Garrett Fleming

A Designer & a Do-er's Forever Home, Design*Sponge

Mel and her husband Mitch’s home in Mechanicsburg, PA is a shining example of the stellar results brought forth when designing and doing work hand in hand. Mel, who’s never not thinking of new improvements for their 1,800-square foot house, is the brains of the operation. Then there’s her husband Mitch, who’s always ready and willing to help bring his wife’s latest idea to life. Their combined powers have turned their bungalow into the memorable sea of blue and green hues and DIY touches it is today.

Mel first moved into the three-bedroom house nine years ago after going through a divorce from her previous husband. Ready for a new beginning, she snagged this home in particular because it was located in her children’s school district, had enough bedrooms to comfortably accommodate them, and was essentially a blank canvas. “I knew it had so much potential!” she tells us. Said potential came courtesy of the home’s “builder-grade bland” touches like white walls, cream accents and enough beige to last Mel a lifetime. Simply put, it was in dire need of some personality.

Luckily, personality is something Mel has in spades, and when Mitch entered the picture he immediately began helping her inject it (as well as her mid-century aesthetic and colorful POV) into their space. She explains, “My husband is the one who painted (and repainted) every room, laid all of our flooring and tile, did all of the plumbing and electrical work, hung all of the wallpaper [and] even framed and dry walled what was previously an unfinished basement.” Mitch may have questioned some of her more outrageous ideas from time to time, but when someone has a vision, sometimes you just have to have a little faith. Scroll down to check out all the hard work this duo has put into their forever home. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Staley Ash

Image above: The poster in Mel and Mitch’s bedroom was drawn by Mitch for the “Thank You” notes the couple sent out after their wedding.

A Designer & a Do-er's Forever Home, Design*Sponge

Mel knew tiling a wall seemed out there, but after seeing the dramatic change it’s made to her and Mitch’s bedroom she’s glad she took the risk.

A Designer & a Do-er's Forever Home, Design*Sponge
Mel and Mitch are empty nesters, so trips like this one above are extra special.
A Designer & a Do-er's Forever Home, Design*Sponge

The kitchen also features many of Mel’s original ideas, including iridescent countertops. The blue cabinet doors – probably the most unique attribute in this particular space – may seem wild, but Mel says they’re “(Just) another one of my [bold] ideas that I somehow convinced my hubby was an absolute necessity!”

A Designer & a Do-er's Forever Home, Design*Sponge

The dining table can fit eight people. Its glass countertop, though, keeps it from overwhelming the quaint space and taking up too much visual real estate.

A Designer & a Do-er's Forever Home, Design*Sponge

The living room is a collection of nods to Mel and Mitch’s families. An “S” and “D” – the first letter in their respective last names – hang on the walls, a sawhorse lamp Mitch crafted stands in the corner and a sculpture by Mel’s mom’s favorite artist sits in the center of the space.

A Designer & a Do-er's Forever Home, Design*Sponge

In order to help the air conditioning grates (in the lower left of frame) blend into the living room’s look, Mel had Mitch construct custom covers for them using wood and decorative aluminum.

A Designer & a Do-er's Forever Home, Design*Sponge

The wooden chair peeking out from behind the wall was inherited from Mel’s mother. “It moved with us from home to home throughout my childhood,” Mel says.

A Designer & a Do-er's Forever Home, Design*Sponge

Since this powder room is mainly for guests, Mel and Mitch wanted it to be both memorable and surprising, hence the bold wallpaper.

A Designer & a Do-er's Forever Home, Design*Sponge

The countertop is actually a side table Mel and Mitch attached a sink to. Sketches that Mitch gave to Mel when they were dating dot the walls that surround it.

I think about home design all of the time, and I am always thinking of new ideas. It is truly my favorite pastime.

A Designer & a Do-er's Forever Home, Design*Sponge

Lucy’s bedroom was inspired by a special pink dress. Mel says, “When she was searching for her prom dress during her senior year, [Lucy] and I texted each other the same picture of this lovely dress from Needle & Thread at the same time!” The goal of the room was to find a balance between light/airy and moody/dramatic. To achieve the look, Mel paired elegant accessories with bold wallpaper.

A Designer & a Do-er's Forever Home, Design*Sponge

“Hanging a giant canvas print of ‘The Girl with the Pearl Earring’ by Vermeer in our shower earned me another ‘You must be kidding!’ conversation with my husband, but of course he figured out how to waterproof it with ‘Decorator’s Dead Flat Finish Varnish’ by Polyvine because she obviously belonged there!” Mel says.

A Designer & a Do-er's Forever Home, Design*Sponge

Mitch used a CB2 media console and Kohler sinks to create this double vanity for him and his wife. He also laid the herringbone subway tile himself.

A Designer & a Do-er's Forever Home, Design*Sponge

Finished in 2004, the basement’s look was inspired by this eclectic coffee table. Outfitted with a snack shelf and comfy sofa, it’s quickly become a go-to spot for movie screenings and entertaining.

A Designer & a Do-er's Forever Home, Design*Sponge

“The artwork in this photo was painted by my daughter Lucy and is an art progression of Mont Sainte-Victoire by Cezanne that she did in an art class she was taking at George Washington [University]. She gave these paintings to me last Christmas, and I absolutely cherish them,” Mel explains.

A Designer & a Do-er's Forever Home, Design*Sponge

“What I love most about our home is that we made it our happily ever after, together.” – Mel Shaver-Durham

A Designer & a Do-er's Forever Home, Design*Sponge

The home’s floor plan.

Paint – Behr “Belgian Sweet”
Cabinets – IKEA
Hardware – Gustav Rosen Design
Drawer pulls – CB2
Blue cabinet – Cronos Design
Dining table – Joybird
Pendant lights – Cedar & moss
Dining light fixture – West Elm

Coffee table – Lubna Chowdry
Sofa, media console – West Elm

Dining Room
Light fixture – West Elm
Eames-style chairs – Overstock
Grandfather clock – Horchow
Rattan chairs – Target

Living Room
Paint – Behr “Restless Sea”
Media console – Rosanna Ceravolo for West Elm
Artwork – Paul Klee
Eyeball mirror – Target
Large mirrors – Crate & Barrel

Lucy’s Room
Bed – CB2
Bedding, throw pillows – Target
Wallpaper – Etsy
Lighting – West Elm
End table – Amazon
Windsor chair – At Home

Mel & Mitch’s Bedroom
Paint – Behr “Evening Hush”
Quilt – Scott Case
Wall tile – ANT Tile
Side tables – Amazon
Lounge chairs – Roar + Rabbit
Floor lamp – Sonneman
Lighting – West Elm
Media console – CB2
Vases – Madame Stolz

Mel & Mitch’s Bathroom
Wallpaper – Ellie Cashman
Vanity – CB2
Sinks – Kohler
Tile – The Home Depot
Tub – Signature Hardware

Powder Room
Wallpaper – New Era Studios
Vanity – Hayneedle
Hardware – Kohler

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  • Oh wow! I gasped when I saw the kitchen. What a joy to cook in there. Everything…everything is stunning!

    • Thank you, I really love how it all turned out and I especially love our kitchen! Thankfully, Mitch does love to cook in there! :)

  • Just one question: where did this lovely couple attain the custom wedding poster with the vintage-style graphic, and how do I get my hands on one? Guess it would be better if I had a mate, but that can wait! ;)

  • Excited to see Mechanicsburg, PA on a home tour! I haven’t lived there in years, but it’s always cool to see great design out of large metro areas.

    • Thank you, Emily! It’s a great place to live…and thankfully Fed Ex will ship anything anywhere! :)

  • I cannot BELIEVE this is in Mechanicsburg! So encouraging to see people going bold, especially in an area of the US you don’t typically (or ever) associate with “design”. Thank you for sharing your home!

    • Thank you so much, I have loved creating our home with my husband! (even though he thinks I am crazy sometimes!) :)

    • Thank you so much, it has been a fun journey into boldness, and completely worth the “you must be kidding” looks from Mitch! :)

    • Thank you so much for the lovely compliment. It has turned in to our happy place for sure! :)

    • Hello there! I agree, it is my dream sofa too. It was from West Elm, but unfortunately they do not sell it anymore. :(

    • Thank you so much, Walt!! I look forward to the end of the work day when I can come back home!! :)

  • Beautiful home. I’m wondering where you got that beautiful bed frame in the master bedroom? Also, for the Talking Heads lyric over the bed, did you make that yourself? Thanks!

    • Hello there,
      Thank you so much!
      The silhouette bed frame is from CB2. Unfortunately, I don’t believe they sell it anymore. :(
      The type wall-table lamp is also from CB2, and it is still available! You can add any text to it that you would like. We now have this lamp hanging in our basement! :)

  • I really love your taste. The whole house is just perfect with all its bold colors. But I am in love with the main bedroom with those stunning pillowcases and the color block quilt. Where did you get the pillowcases?

    • Hi there, Lilia!
      Thank you so much, I really appreciate your words of sparkle for my decor! You are lovely.
      The pillows are actually from Target, and they are currently on sale! Woot! They are called the “Black Global Oversized Lumbar Throw pillow”-I just looked them up. I hope you can find them near you! :)

  • I really love your house, especially the master bedroom. Could you provide the source information for the pillow shams?

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