Pro Decorating Tips & Resources: Archival Décor’s Michelle Pattee

Pro Decorating Tips & Resources: Archival Décor’s Michelle Pattee

Theresa Gonzalez
Apr 25, 2013

I’ve admired Michelle Pattee’s style since I first visited her family’s farmhouse in Sebastopol, California four years ago. The all-white palette peppered with rustic wood and natural elements made the home, built in 1902, feel modern and cozy and refreshing in its minimalism. 

It’s not surprising that Country Living featured the home in its White Issue, and many local retailers, like Banana Republic and Pendleton, have shot there. Michelle, a professional photographer, also teamed up with interior designer Jill McCrae to screenprint her photographs onto pillows (which you can see in this post), and together they launched Archival Décor.

I’ve always wanted to emulate Michelle’s style in my home and wondered what local and online resources she used to decorate her space. When I finally asked her I thought I’d share the list with all of you (great for visitors to the Bay Area). She was kind enough to share her decorating tips, too. Enjoy the post and the photos from her Country Living shoot, as well as several shots she shared with us. Thanks Michelle!

Decorating Tips:

1. I often use white glass jar candles from the Dollar Store. You cannot beat the price and they burn (without smoking) for hours. I line them up in a long single row, placed tight together, for a dinner party. 

2. I like collections from nature. I found my bird nests mostly around my property. Several are made with horse hair, from my neighbor's ranch. My dad also gave me some, which he collected on his land in Gilroy.

3. I place my framed photographs on shelves my husband built. It saves my walls from nail holes and I can rearrange easily. When I'm stressed, or trying to make a decision about something, I rearrange stuff. It always helps.

4. I always scan the side of the road when driving. I'm known for spotting a treasure that was someone else's trash. I almost got in an accident pulling a U-turn to retrieve my now favorite fan — a beauty with netting and steel blades. 

5. I let my kids hang their art wherever they want. Today Eli decided to accessorize the Tolomeo floor lamp.

6. I can get obsessive about small details (especially when I don't have the cash to purchase a real game changer). This leads to hours spent hunting for an excellent shelf bracket or cabinet hardware with the perfect patina. 

7. I recommend, especially if you have kids, ordering a mega roll of white kraft paper and a dispenser from Amazon. I installed mine under my counter. I like how it makes my kitchen look like a deli. I use the paper constantly: to set a table, kid's art, wrapping everything, etc. 

Decorating Resources:

Antique Society, Sebastopol - This place holds a special spot in my heart. I've shopped here for years and would even make the pilgrimage when I lived in SF. They have the best local collection of dealers. As fate would have it, I now reside two miles from The Antique Society.

Coyuchi Outlet, Pt. Reyes Station - Coyuchi has incredible linens — form and function unite! Coyuchi shot their Look Book at my house last year — it was a mutual admiration love-fest. The company originally began in Pt. Reyes Station. They still have an outlet there, on the second floor of a beautiful vintage building. The prices are excellent, and it's another reason to visit one of the most beautiful areas of Northern California.

Water Street Antiques Warehouse, Sutter Creek - My close friends Dana and J Nichols turned me on to Water Street, a huge warehouse of European pine antiques. It's worth the drive. I purchased several pieces about ten years ago and still love them. 

Austin Trading Company, Petaluma - They have an eclectic range of random vintage at reasonable prices. - Not just an excellent fashion resource — I always find something to covet in their home decor selection. 

Grainger - If you are into industrial, this is your supply source. They have store locations as well as being online. Grainger helps me think outside of the box for design solutions. 

Estate sales - If you can get past the macabre aspect, an estate sale is where to find the best deals. While you're transporting your latest haul home, you can contemplate where all the stuff you just bought will end up after your demise. The estate sale rules: go early, go often, go on a Friday and pick smaller, out of the way sale locations. 

The Flying Moose Antique Mall, Wichita, Kansas - Whenever I visit my in-laws in Kansas, my amazing mother-in-law chauffeurs me to antique stores. The Flying Moose is my top pick. The only reason I keep my buying urges in check  is the fact I have to ship home most of what I purchase.

Bee Kind, Sebastopol - Beeswax candles are my indulgence. So is Strauss Greek Yogurt, which must be accompanied by honey from Bee Kind. 

The Barlow, Sebastopol - I'm jumping the gun a bit here, since The Barlow is not totally open yet. To say I'm excited about this well-designed place is an understatement. Located on the former Barlow Apple Cannery site, The Barlow is connecting our community with the best local food producers, wine makers and craftspeople. You will find me here often.

(Images: 1 - 3. Country Living, all others: Michelle Pattee)

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