Delighting the Eye
Story by Chris Christen
Photos by Daniel Johnson
Decorating is all about the mix rather than the match for Michele Palagi. “When things aren't matchy-matchy, everything feels accessible and comfortable,” she says about her design approach.
Her townhome in northwest Omaha brims with personality. She loves juxtapositions, and she decorates with a syncopated rhythm that maximizes relationships in color, design and mood. “I believe that beautiful things go with beautiful things.”
Michele, who recently returned to the classroom to study interior design after her daughter left home for college in Chicago, loves creating visual “destinations” for the eye. Interesting wall and tabletop groupings lead you from the foyer to the living room and dining area. Along the way, Michele imparts stories with a good measure of surprise related to the history of a piece or the nature of an acquisition.
She has an affinity for gilded mirrors, French Baroque furniture, Venetian glass, white porcelain figurines and turn-of-the-century art that celebrates the female form.
Her vignettes are so carefully crafted, they seem to represent a lifetime of treasure-hunting. This is not necessarily so, Michele confides. After her divorce in 2009, auctions, estate sales and furniture trades with her sister who deals in antiques became a fun and economical way to furnish her new home.
The experience, she says, is proof that “You don't have to spend a fortune to make something exceptional.”
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Want to create your own eclectic decorative mix?
Michele Palagi offers a list of her favorite shops to get you started.
Omaha Auction Center, 7531 Dodge St.
You can find great bargains at Joella Cohen's estate liquidation sales every other Wednesday night. Drop by between noon and 4:30 p.m. on sale day to survey the merchandise, get your bid number and reserve a seat for the live auction at 5 p.m. Quarterly auctions feature unbelievable stuff – the best of the best brought in from around the country. Ask Joella to educate you on the inventory so you can appreciate the value.
Lewis Art Gallery, 8600 Cass St.
Shop owner Julie Wynn has an incredible eye for art, accent furniture and home accessories. The inventory is so extensive that it might seem overwhelming when you first walk through the door. Take your time and absorb the store in sections.
Once Upon a Time Estate Sales, 5635 Emile St.
Liz Ryan has fun sales and hidden treasures galore. A good place to discover furniture and vintage accessories.
Collector's Choice estate sales, 3504 Center St.
A great place for one-of-a-kind items; wonderful quality.
The Humble Home, 5022 Leavenworth St.
A store with great heart. Mid-century modern and vintage home furnishings and accessories.
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