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A good friend gave them a modern iteration of a traditional moose head, this same one by Vlaemsch. Michele was able to trade it back to the person who gave it to her for an antique Kilim rug she had been eyeing.
The chandelier was purchased on Craigslist for $90. "The chandelier is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. I like seeing it juxtaposed against the rest of the house, which is pretty rustic," Michele says.
So she could see all of her dishes and thrift acquisitions, Michele opted for exposed cabinetry. She and Ryan also added the beadboard backsplash, butcher-block counters, and farm sink a few months after moving into the house.
This wingback armchair was already sold to a woman at a Goodwill store in Bremerton — that is, until Ryan, seen here moments before he joins his bride, chased her to her car and begged her for it so he could give it to Michele. "She sold it to us for $50 and wished us a happy married life together," says Michele.
The couple did most of the renovations themselves. The wedding was the culminating event, but it couldn't have happened without the blood, sweat, and tears that they had put into the renovations.
For the wedding, the bride filled the house and garden area with potted plants to give the venue a lush feel. "I wanted the backyard garden to be green everywhere — probably one of the reasons why I love living in the Pacific Northwest." All the flowers for the wedding day, mostly perennials and orchids, were bought by the bridesmaid and the man of honor from the Farmer's Market a few days before and kept fresh in the basement.
Wedding guests sit in front of artwork acquired by Michele from secondhand stores and estate sales throughout the years. "The collage above the couch is my favorite thing in the house. I got each print for as little as a dollar in some places!" Michele's love of botanical prints, topiaries, old photographs, and portraits is apparent in her art collection.
The couple served all 100 guests with glassware and silverware from their own collection, which Michele purchased over the course of a few months leading up to the wedding day.
Then — an unexpected clean slate
In an unfortunate turn of events, Michele and Ryan's second floor succumbed to an electrical house fire in early 2012, taking with it most of their belongings. Now, "We're so happy to see documentation of our home as we remember it before the fire because it just documents all the hard work we put into the house," says Michele.
They are about to undergo a complete remodel of the second floor and are buoyed by the possibilities of the house's potential.
"The house was such hard work that it was hard to see it in ash. We are now focusing on taking great care of the fewer high-quality things that we're purchasing to replace what we had."
Seeing the house after the fire was and still is terrible for the couple, who liken the feeling to losing a loved one. "I think that if your house is that meaningful to you then you really know it's a home," says Michele. But they are looking at their misfortune as an opportunity to rebuild from a clean slate, and have since started focusing on the fact that they don't need that many products and items to be happy. The fire has helped re-inspired them and has taught them that stuff is just that — stuff.
"As a decorator, I was always putting money towards projects that made the house look better, but having a safe home should be the first priority," Michelle says. "Our first order of business is getting our century-old home up to code."
They are upgrading their heating system to heated floors, and are looking forward to having salvaged doors, and paneling the ceiling and walls to give the second floor an attic feel.
"I'm hoping to get a claw-foot tub up there. It's hard to say goodbye to the way it was, but it is going to be really beautiful when it's done!"
Did you have a memorable wedding at home? Share a photo of your home wedding design and style choices in the comments section below!
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