Michelle, Rob & Kaia's True Antique

House Call

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Name: Michelle, Rob & Kaia
Location: New Milford, Connecticut

We (me, my husband Rob, and our 6-year-old daughter Kaia) are scroungers and DIYers. Our style is rustic, eclectic, and kind of modern, with a few traditional elements mixed in for contrast. When we started house-hunting back in 2002, we had a clear vision of what we wanted: a '50s or '60s ranch that we could gut easily to customize in our own style. Instead, we ended up with a true antique! 

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It just felt right as soon as we walked in. The house is an 1871 lower-class Victorian with both a front and back staircase. But it is by no means grand. Only the front room has fancy moldings—gotta impress the guests! But we love our 9-foot ceilings. The previous owners had messed with the house just enough that we don't feel guilty funkifying it. We pulled out all of their shag carpet, painted the dark-stained kitchen white, and also painted very inch of dark brown fake paneling before we moved in, just so we could stand it.

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The house is about 1900 square feet, with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a den, and an under-construction craft attic. My hubby does all the work himself. All of it! He's a dreamboat. 

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Our location is semi-urban—as urban as you can get in a small town. Across the street is a set of active freight-line train tracks and a gorgeous old brick warehouse, 5-stories tall, that's been converted to condos. We can walk to the coffee shop and movie theater, but also canoe the Housatonic River from our back yard. It's the best of both worlds! 

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The last 10 years have been spent slowing chipping away at the house projects to erase the '70s, all the while scouring thrift stores and flea markets for fun but subtle finds. Generally, the more we spend on something and the newer it is the less satisfied we turn out to be with it, so we wait for something right to come along naturally.

Thanks, Michelle, Rob & Kaia!

(Images: Michelle Gervais)

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