The design started with a hot pink velvet sofa and only got more fun from there.
Designer Michelle Gage’s client — a writer, wife, and mother of two — knew what she liked: saturated colors, art and brass. She incorporated many of those elements into her Chestnut Hill home (see: blue kitchen cabinets; patterned entryway tiles), then hired Gage in 2019 to furnish it. “In our first meeting, she said she wanted a hot pink velvet sofa,” says Gage. “My assistant and I looked at each other and said, ‘Yeah, we can do this!’”
One of the challenges of using so much color? The fact that the first floor is basically one big space. “Open concept is a blessing and a curse,” says Gage. “You want each room to stand alone, but you have to consider the entire flow.” Gage used vibrant hues that are harmonious but not matchy-matchy and linked the rooms together with art, rugs and brass details. And in self-contained areas — the entryway, the mudroom, the bathrooms — Gage amped up the whimsy by layering on her signature look: lots of patterns.
“We wanted to pulse color throughout the first floor, with stopping points in each room that would work together to balance out the entire space.” — Michelle Gage, designer
A brass credenza in the family room matches metal elements in the kitchen. Gage brought in apricot-hued island seating and added a patterned window treatment (done by Claudia Clobes Yudis at Urban Loft Design Studio) to give the eye a place to land. The expandable round dining table was built by Chad Barranco of Salvage Works in Downingtown. It’s set off by oxblood chairs.
Gage upholstered the sofa in a velvet durable enough to withstand kids and a dog. The gray vintage rug and drapery pick up the kitchen cabinet color. The throw pillow is from Anthropologie; the ceramic table was originally on the patio.
Gage matched a busy wallpaper to the existing tile to create a memorable first impression. The painting is one of 25 pieces Gage and the homeowner picked from the Little Gallery in Chestnut Hill.
The large space was warmed up with vibrant wallpaper. The rounded edges of the wooden side tables soften the purple bed. The pillows are from Anthropologie.
Published as “Color Me Happy” in the January/February 2021 issue of Philadelphia magazine.