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In Philadelphia, An Industrial Loft Full of Wallpaper & Whimsy

by Lauren Chorpening Day

An Industrial Loft in Philadelphia, PA Full of Wallpaper & Whimsy | Design*Kumbhalgarh

After 15 years of featuring incredible homes on Design*Kumbhalgarh, it can feel like every cool home we see has been featured here or elsewhere. But when this incredible Philadelphia, PA penthouse came across my desk, I gasped — it had all of the things I’m always scouting for: Color, pattern and a unique setting. The space designed by Michelle Gage Interiors goes against what I typically think of for an industrial loft and to me, that’s really wonderful. No matter how many homes I’ve seen, there’s always a new point-of-view I never would have thought of.

I’ve gotten to work with Michelle on Before & Afters of her own home and have appreciated her eye in seeing the potential for beauty in an empty space. That skill made her the perfect designer to work on this 2,000-square-foot loft. The exposed brick and concrete floors are cool, but they didn’t feel like the homeowner’s vintage style. Michelle and her team needed to create connection between the warehouse shell and the collected, luxe aesthetic the client was after. “The loft is amazing, but industrial. We didn’t really want to play that up, so instead we provided contrasting elements to create a cohesive vibe. The brick walls are balanced by amazing bird wallpaper. The concrete floors are met with soft, h rugs. The exposed ceilings dangle crystal chandeliers down,” Michelle shares.

Making the homeowner and her son feel at home in the space was a priority. They needed a haven to retreat to as well as a space where they could entertain. Knowing her client’s love for vintage and eclectic style, Michelle created a space full of seating, vibrant colors and stunning accents. “As designers, we’re always thankful when clients not only have great style, but are also trusting of our vision. Our designs pulled out elements from the homeowner’s inspiration images, but we put our own twist on things,” Michelle explains. “All in all, our client was pretty trusting to move forward with what we envisioned for her space which always makes for the best end result.”

Jewel tones, pastels and bold brights all combine together in a refreshing palette. Patterned wallpaper and soft upholstery add whimsy and refinement. A mix of vintage and modern furniture styles, large-scale artwork and thrifted accents create a style that can’t be easily replicated. While the owner of the loft knew that she didn’t want to lean into the warehouse vibe, she wasn’t sure how to create the design she was after. Enlisting the help of Michelle and her team allowed her to achieve her signature style without stressing on how to do it. It’s a lovely home that suits this mother and son perfectly. —Lauren

Photography by Rebecca McAlpin

Image above: The large, open space had great light and high ceilings to start with. Instead of covering up the brick and other industrial elements, Michelle chose to complement and contrast them with patterned wallpaper, vintage finds and modern pieces.

An Industrial Loft in Philadelphia, PA Full of Wallpaper & Whimsy | Design*Kumbhalgarh
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The low, h furniture made the space feel unfussy while keeping with the sophisticated, curated style the owner was after.
An Industrial Loft in Philadelphia, PA Full of Wallpaper & Whimsy | Design*Kumbhalgarh
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Michelle and her team turned one large space into two distinct settings for the living room and a casual dining area.
An Industrial Loft in Philadelphia, PA Full of Wallpaper & Whimsy | Design*Kumbhalgarh
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When the homeowner's son saw the finished home for the first time, he told his mom that it looked like a Barbie Dream House. Michelle and her client both got a laugh out of that.
An Industrial Loft in Philadelphia, PA Full of Wallpaper & Whimsy | Design*Kumbhalgarh
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When designing the entry, Michelle already had a piece of artwork that belonged to the homeowner to guide the palette. From there, she sourced a vintage rug and a bench from Anthropologie.
An Industrial Loft in Philadelphia, PA Full of Wallpaper & Whimsy | Design*Kumbhalgarh
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"I tell homeowners to start by identifying what they really love. We ask our clients to share inspiration images with us. They talk about colors, textures and prints that resonate with their personal style," Michelle explains. "From there, it's our job to bring that out into their home. Our goal is to always have the homes we design reflect the people who live inside them."
An Industrial Loft in Philadelphia, PA Full of Wallpaper & Whimsy | Design*Kumbhalgarh
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"In the dining room, we were tasked to work with the homeowner's heirloom furniture. To put a fresh twist on it, we added a geometric rug, the most perfect wallpaper that works so well with the chairs, and a set of sconces," Michelle shares. "All in all, this was the perfect blend of old and new. It's an updated vintage vibe."
An Industrial Loft in Philadelphia, PA Full of Wallpaper & Whimsy | Design*Kumbhalgarh
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Intentional details fill the home, making the space feel less like the top floor of a converted warehouse and more like a conventional house.
An Industrial Loft in Philadelphia, PA Full of Wallpaper & Whimsy | Design*Kumbhalgarh
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The bedroom was given a mix of hard and soft lines, deco styling and a pretty palette of green, pink, yellow and blue.
An Industrial Loft in Philadelphia, PA Full of Wallpaper & Whimsy | Design*Kumbhalgarh
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Michelle's talent for combining new and vintage styles is exactly why she was hired for this project. The space feels curated over time even though it was a blank space that transformed into a home with four months of design work.
An Industrial Loft in Philadelphia, PA Full of Wallpaper & Whimsy | Design*Kumbhalgarh
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"We start each project by collecting inspiration images from the homeowner. From there, we create concepts for each room and then move into floor planning and sourcing specific pieces for their place," Michelle explains. "We needed to design an oasis in the bedroom."

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