May 2020 Issue
*This home tour was photographed before the NC Stay-At-Home Order was placed. I wish all of my readers safety and good health during the Covid-19 outbreak. I hope that this takes your mind off of some of the stress and sheds light and inspiration during this time, even for a few minutes.*
Meet the Home Owner:
Our May feature takes you inside the home of Martha Midgette, who is a master of sourcing thrifty treasures through local antique stores, Facebook Marketplace, and estate sales. Come inside and see how she's blended her traditional style with modern finishes.
What made you select this home or Raleigh?
My husband and I are both born and raised in the Triangle area! I’m from Raleigh and he’s from Cary, so we picked our home to be close to family and friends. I absolutely love living in Raleigh. It’s home - a place to explore, learn, and grow - and it’s constantly changing. Since I’ve lived here, Raleigh has transformed from a small-town vibe to a bustling city with some of the best restaurants, bars, and activities around. With always something new to do or try. But I appreciate that it can still feel small, there always seems to be three degrees of separation, which is what makes it feel like a community.
This home had everything we needed and wanted -- space to grow our family, a backyard for our pup, an open concept floor plan, great deck for hosting, and a garage that you can’t see from the street. I had a moment when we first saw this house, where I knew this was it. We actually ended up writing a letter to the homeowners when putting an offer on the house, thanking them for taking such great care of a place that could potentially hold so many of our memories in the future if we were lucky enough to call it our own. It worked! Also, shows how sentimental I am.
How has adjusting to this house and neighborhood been like?
Our neighborhood has been so welcoming. It is a very social, tight-knit neighborhood with monthly socials, holiday celebrations, and the casual get-togethers after work in the cul-de-sac as neighbors watch kids play basketball with a beer in hand. It’s very similar to the neighborhoods we both grew up in.
I’m a planner, so before we even moved in, I envisioned where our current items would live, what look we wanted to accomplish in each space, and how we would make this house feel like a home. The biggest adjustment has been making intentional decisions on the items that help to update the house – new chandeliers, paint colors, hardware, and carpets - but within reason. For example, the wallpaper in the downstairs powder room and master bathroom is awesome, but the finishes were dated. We painted the sink cabinets and mirror, replaced the hardware, and changed all of the silver to brass finishes. Even after six months since moving in, we still have two somewhat empty bedrooms and empty windows without curtains because I’m taking my time decorating. This house is bigger than our previous home, and I want to ensure it all comes together. It’s nice to have a blank slate to work with and I don’t have to rush into anything.
What do you love most about this home?
We love how open our home is literally and figuratively. We are always hosting and oftentimes our home is the epicenter for our friends and family to hang out at. Before we moved in, we did some minor renovations and part of that was taking down a wall between the kitchen and living room. It completely transformed the space! One of our favorite things is that you can be in the kitchen and still see the living room, sunroom, deck, or piano room from that space.
What was the biggest difference from your last home?
The biggest difference from our last house is we picked and purchased this home together (with my husband). This is also our forever home – so I’m very intentional with selections and purchases.
What is your design philosophy?
Know what you love and trust your eye - your gut will tell you! I’m a huge fan of cleanly styled; lover of blue and white; antique, yet traditional with pops of colors and art, just about everywhere!
Who or what is your biggest design inspiration?
I gravitate towards styles from designers and artists like Maura Enders, Bunny Williams, Mark Sikes, William McLure, Josh Young, Gwen from The Makerista, and Alisa Bovino. They all share a love for finding secondhand pieces and creating a timeless mix of modern and traditional. Can you imagine that dinner party? It would be such a fun yet intimidating group to host! I’d make everyone bring their own place setting, just to see the mix of styles that would all come together for what I bet would be the most stunning tablescape.
I have a lot of what's considered granny chic décor, Asian-influenced fabrics, prints, and wallpapers. I layer in accessories or knick-knacks that add just the right touch of dimension without being cluttered. It’s a delicate balance that I work towards finding within my own home and with clients – creating the perfect vignette.
Why is creating a beautiful home important to you?
I want our home to be a beautiful ever-changing space. It is important to me for it to feel comfortable, lived in, and cozy, but I also want to tell a story. We have a number of family or sentimental pieces that are so special and have a great story behind them. Of course, then there are the Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Flea Market, or Estate Sale finds that also have a story to tell of how, when, where, and why I purchased that piece. The experience itself creates memories, and I appreciate that about each find. In our sun hallway, we have a travel gallery wall that is a collection of canvases and artwork from anywhere we traveled. People always ask questions or have related stories when they recognize a place they’ve been or want to go. It’s where style becomes a conversation-starter.
I tell my husband all the time - there’s tons of space left...so there are many more travel adventures ahead of us!
What was your biggest challenge in this space?
The biggest challenge is always budgeting. I try to stick to a clear budget, so it’s important for me to purchase used or secondhand items. I enjoy the thrill of the hunt, negotiation for the best deal, and spending time to find something that’s perfect for a particular space.
Once I find something I love, I always try to remember that it doesn’t have to be styled that way forever. I am constantly mixing, matching, and moving items around. A running joke when my husband comes home from a work trip, he will always ask ‘what moved?’.
This helps me to not tire of a style or look, try something new, and always think about repurposing or rearranging what I already own to save money.
I fall in love with way too many things that I find! This is actually one of the reasons why I started Martha Midgette Style because I wanted to share these finds with others and help them update or create beautiful and stylish spaces that have unique stories to tell. Also, one room can only fit so many chairs, I want to share them with others!
What is the process when selecting your pieces?
A lot of times when you’re shopping secondhand, you have to act quickly either because it’s a one-of-a-kind piece, too good a deal that you can’t pass it up or see it one day, gone the next. Before moving or when redecorating, I create a vision board for our home or space, so I can have a better sense of what I want and know when to jump on something or pass for something better. It’s a balance and takes patience.
It’s also important to remind myself that nothing has to be forever. A couple of times, I didn’t measure and got home with the item and it didn't fit in the space I intended. That’s also a benefit of buying secondhand, I don’t feel guilty about the mistake and just resell it!
Since you source a lot of your finds from local shops, online, and estate sales, do you have any advice for those who want to start sustainably shopping?
Don’t be intimidated! You can thoroughly clean, repair, or refurbish anything you buy. Shopping locally through stores or artists continue to help our local economy, and I think we are seeing the importance of that impact now more than ever.
I still remember my first-ever estate sale and purchase in college. The vintage painting now hangs in our dining room, cracked gold frame, and all. It was a piece that reminded me of my great grandmother’s property that was always full of flowers we used to pick every time we visited. And that crack on the frame was the first time I successfully negotiated for a better price. To me that piece is gorgeous but it’s also a sense of pride – my version of a trophy or A+ report card!
Why is shopping secondhand important to you?
It’s so important – reduce, reuse, and recycle. I see it as our collective duty to eliminate waste and shop secondhand when we can! It’s also this sense of giving new purpose to items that have been overlooked or forgotten.
Not only are vintage and antique pieces sturdier, but they also have such a sense of character and charm. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve purchased new items in our home – mattress, living room couch and swivel chairs - but almost everything else is used pieces that were updated or needed no changes at all.
What are your favorite shops to source from?
That list is long – hope you’re ready for this!
In Raleigh, my go-to shops are Union Camp Collective, Shops at 1700, Hunt & Gather, Fab Foo, Steins, Finds, Rail & Stile, Antiques Emporium, Green Chair Sale and Cheshire Cat. In Charlotte, you can’t miss South End Exchange, Slate Interiors, Cotswold Market, or Sleepy Poet when you visit. In Greensboro, Replacements LTD. or the Red Collection.
For art, I use Instagram to source new or up-and-coming artists. I have a rule that if I find something I’m obsessed with and it’s under $150, I’ll usually commit. (Don’t tell my husband!) I try to support new artists and small businesses. It’s also been really cool to see many of them “make it big” and then I can say I have one of their original pieces.
For knick-knacks, I use Ebay, Etsy, Instagram, thrift stores, estate sales, and the flea market.
What is your favorite piece in your home?
That’s such a tough question! If I’m picking a piece of furniture, it would be the Baby Grand piano that has been in my family for over 100+ years. If I’m picking a piece of art, it would either be the Jennifer Flannigan piece my siblings commissioned as a wedding gift or the estate sale lady that hangs over our bar. If I was going to save something during a fire, it would be our wedding box with my wedding shoes, and notes that friends and family wrote to us - one to open each year on our anniversary for the next 50 years.
If your house was a drink, what would it be?
Oh, I love this question. I always have a signature cocktail when hosting.
Let me think… let’s go with an old fashion with a twist. It’s classic with a pop of color.
Describe your go-to Friday night in Raleigh?
Typically we spend our Friday night’s in because my husband travels a lot for work. A perfect night in would be a bottle of Bordeaux wine, Lily’s Pizza, and a slice of Hayes Barton cake.
If we were going out, I’d pick dinner sitting at the Death & Taxes bar with another couple.
Any advice for anyone wanting to create a home they love?
Trust your gut - whether that’s to purchase the piece you’ve been thinking about or hiring someone to help make your space a home and cohesive story. We spend so much time at home - and you want it to be a space you love, that brings comfort, joy, good vibes, and relaxation.
You want your space to be a reflection of who you are and the story you have to tell. And believe me, that doesn’t mean it should or will cost a fortune.
Thank you for coming along with us on our Curated Home Tour! We hope that you have enjoyed this read and are inspired. Like what you see? Follow us at @curatedhometour and keep up with Martha, her finds, and her home on Instagram at @marthamidgettestyle. If you would like to see other Curated Home Tour Features click here. Subscribe below to receive updates on the next issue, news about the shop, giveaways, and upcoming events. If you think that your home would make a great addition to our "Curated Home Tours" please contact us!
Thank you for your never-ending support!
Until the next home,