Hannah & Mike's Secondhand Success

House Tour

Name: Hannah, Mike , Baby J
Location: St. Louis, MO
Size: 1500 square feet
Years lived in: Four

Hannah and Mike are incontrovertible proof that a small budget doesn't preclude good design. For the past four years, they've slowly made improvements to their bungalow in St. Louis' South City, and amassed an amazing array of furniture, without spending big bucks. Hannah raises their son at home, works as a hairstylist, and maintains a blog called secondhandhannah. Her husband, Mike, co-owns and operates a series of local watering holes called the Tin Can Tavern.

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Like most estate sale and thrift junkies, Hannah regularly manages decorative flotsam and jetsam. On most days you'll find her refinishing chair legs, reupholstering an ottoman, or repairing whatever booty she found that week. When rooms get overcrowded, she jettisons a piece or two via craigslist, and moves on. (An expensive sectional met a similar fate when traded for a more family friendly leather sofa, found for $29.)

What could easily be chaos is unified by Hannah's eye for placement, and the lovely gray walls that carry throughout the house. Their home isn't overly precious, and provides just the casual and comfortable setting required for a toddler and two dogs. That's Andy, the pit bull, in many of the photos; she followed us everywhere around the house and had a knack for choosing soft spots within the camera's frame.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My/Our style: Vintage eclectic

Inspiration: Found objects, financial restrictions, design blogs, design books and magazines, friends and family

Favorite Element: I think the whole house works due to everything being second-hand, worn and loved.

Biggest Challenge: Finances

What Friends Say: "Do you really need another: lamp, chair or fill in the blank?"

Biggest Embarrassment: At this point, the bathroom. We would love to renovate our current one and add a second half bath. However, with only one current bath and no budget for a second we don't want to not have a usable bath while renovating.

Proudest DIY: We have so many, but at the moment, I've never been prouder of my husband and his skills while building our new chicken coop and for hanging a reclaimed door on a sliding track like a barn door. I also love how our new slat bench - made from old scaffolding and hairpin legs - turned out. It's very simple, yet has a lot of character.

Biggest Indulgence: Maybe our new cowhide rug. We bought it new after not being able to find a vintage one.

Best advice: Don't be afraid of something not being perfect. I don't think we have anything perfect in the house but we love it as if it were. Also, make sure you love your purchases for your home. If you bring something in that you settled on, it most likely won't stand the test of time.

Dream source: I dreamed not too long ago that I walked into a store that was closing and they had stacks of Eames shell chairs. The owner said I could have them all for $5 a piece. I don't want for more than I already have, but I would love to walk into an estate sale full of great pieces, all in my price range.

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Resources: Most of our stuff comes from thrift stores, estate sales, or alleys.

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(Thanks, Hannah & Mike!)

Images: Ann Manubay, Dabney Frake

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