Michele & Ryan Tansey’s Antiquarian Hideaway

published Oct 28, 2011
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Name: Ryan and Michele Tansey with Buster & Lizzie (golden retrievers) Princess & Mr. Paws (softest cats ever) and our human roommate Jon McJilton
Location: Central District/Madrona; Seattle, Washington
Size: Built in 1903: two stories with unfinished basement. Three bedrooms, two baths plus office. 1380 finished 700 unfinished
Years lived in: 1 year, 3 months; owned

I know I have a great house tour on my hands when I find myself smiling as I edit the photos. You may remember Michele and Ryan Tansey from an earlier post, Real Life, Well Designed: A Wedding at Home. After such a gorgeous post, I had the pleasure of exploring the rest of this couple’s home!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Being in Michele and Ryan’s home made me feel like a kid again; around every corner, there is an element of surprise and discovery to be had, plus lots and lots of animals to snuggle with! They let me have my run of the house, and I ended up with more photos than I knew what to do with. (Believe me, I had a very hard time editing them down).

As the owner of the online vintage furniture and clothing store, Reinspired Home, Michele has her pick of some of the most unique and beautiful vintage pieces and collectibles. Each item has a specific place, while still keeping a relaxed atmosphere intact. From pristine, leather wingback chairs to found photos and paintings, the home is a treasure trove of vintage finds. I so enjoyed being able to explore!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: This is the hardest question. I’d say our style is an eclectic mix of found items that we decided to give a new lease on life. I don’t know exactly what to call it but my style guru is Emily Henderson. Watching her show is like being inside my own head, my husband thinks it’s uncanny.

Inspiration: My inspirations, in no particular order: Anthropologie, Ralph Lauren, Pendleton, grandmas, cabins, the flea market in Paris, ALL flea markets, shabby cottages, primitive antiques, Mad Men, my pets, greenhouses, botanical prints, Hollywood regency and Seattle.

Favorite Element: Aside from how beautiful our home is, I’m really the most proud of how organized we are. As an avid thrifter and owner of an online vintage furniture and clothing store (Reinspired Home), I have a ton of stuff. Taking on the challenge of getting everything in its place was the craziest but most rewarding job of my life. I’d say that a huge part of decorating a space for most people should be de-cluttering. I mean real de-cluttering. Getting everything out of the space completely and putting back only what belongs and what you use, not the stuff you might use someday, and not the stuff you want to keep but it doesn’t have a home: this is survival of the fittest for your possessions. Display your best and favorite things and let the stuff you store, what you really need to be there, help dictate what kind of pieces you buy to accommodate. For example, I can’t live if my coffee table doesn’t have a big wide surface, a shelf and a drawer. I’m also known to have a linens problem, so I reinspired an antique grain bin that I got at Goodwill for 34.99 to be my linen closet. Who has a linen closet in a grain bin at the end of their bed? Who cares! Be creative with the things you love so they can also be useful to you. The biggest challenge is that now if I get a new set of linens, I have to get rid of something to make space for it. Set limits for yourself and stick to them.

Favorite Room: It’s gotta be the master bedroom, the dark purple paint makes the room feel fun, grown up and romantic. Plus, I love that I can be as girly as I want to be with vintage flowers and gold everywhere. Every time I walk into this room I feel proud.

Biggest Embarrassment: Windows, as over half of them don’t even open. As a first time home buyer, I thought, “so it needs new windows, big deal.” Big deal is right! I don’t want vinyl, and the wood mullioned windows that I want- let’s just say I’ll be saving for a while.

Proudest DIY: The whole house! No really, it is incredible. My husband thought I was nuts for wanting this house, I saw a blank canvas. A big, crazy, wood shingled blank canvas. You can see the before pictures on our Facebook page. I just wish there were more of the yard because the transformation out there is huge too. We’ve done most of the renovations ourselves or in tandem with small independent contractors. The end result is that this house is part of me. I feel like this house is something that I personally created with the blood, sweat and tears of myself, my husband and the people that love and support us. What a great way to feel about your home.

Biggest Indulgence: Going out and buying something new, I mean brand new, as the first owner ever of this ‘thing’ is a big indulgence for me. As far as decorating goes we only have a small handful of new things in our house. One is the burlap shower curtain in our downstairs bath. It was made by HilltopOriginals on Etsy. It really warmed up the way the navy paint felt in the bathroom. Second are the bamboo roman shades throughout the home. I ordered them on Overstock.com to custom fit our windows. They look plaid when they’re closed at night. What a find! Our final big indulgence is that incredible hounds-tooth English roll arm couch in our living room. It’s basically the couch I’ve been dreaming of my whole life and it was custom made by a friend of mine, the owner of Couch Seattle, as a wedding gift.

Best Advice: This is my advice for anyone thinking about buying a house that needs some love. We’re doing our renovations in two phases, on the cheap and on the not-so cheap. Phase one was to do as much work as we could ourselves while leaving the layout of the house the same and really try to work with what we’ve got. After a little over a year of work most of the house looks and feels great. We didn’t spend that much money and we will be happy while we save up for phase two renovations, the big stuff. Phase two will be things like new windows, getting a claw-foot tub in the upstairs bath, opening up the ceiling in our bedroom, opening up the wall between the kitchen and dining room, and renovating the basement. We’ve got lots of ideas, but we’re not in any rush because we have this beautiful home that we can enjoy right now. Not all renovations need to be huge to make a big impact, and the really big changes are better made once you’ve lived in the home for awhile and have a better sense of what your needs are for that particular space.

Dream Sources: An estate sale in an old cottage in France. I’m the only person who showed up so they are giving me everything for practically free. Including their freshly baked bread, cheese and wine. This would be incredible.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:


    • Front Door – Benjamin Moore: Rainforest Foliage
    • Living/Dining Room – Valspar: Sharkfin
    • Kitchen – Walls, Chalkboard paint, Cabinets, Tarragon: Valspar
    • Downstairs Bath – Benjamin Moore: Newburyport Blue
    • Stairway & Upstairs hall – Valspar: Iron Frost
    • Master Bedroom – Valspar: Tannin
    • Master Bath – Benjamin Moore: Chestertown Buff
    • Trim paint – Valspar: Lemon Edge


    • Vintage Green Piano: Craigslist
    • Flowers (throughout house): Erin Donne


    • Everything (except couch): Thrifted!


    • Round table: Craigslist.
    • Chandelier, $90: Craigslist


    • Kitchen island: Craigslist (an old craft table at a school or day care–there are names of different kids written all over it. The most noticeable one is on the top, someone carved “Rodney” so now that’s its name. Rodney, the Craigslist treasure)
    • Cabinet handles: Ebay
    • Chandelier: Ebay
    • Antique Kilim Rug: Craisglist
    • Pot racks, glass front cabinet, bulk storage containers: Ikea


    • Vntage red leather Chesterfield couch from England


    • Credenza: Craigslist
    • Sink, with hardware: The REstore
    • Mirror and Curtain: Thrift store finds


    • Shot backdrop for Ryan and Michele’s women’s Etsy shop, Tekoop

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Michele & Ryan!

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