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House by Craigslist

With the right eye and a bit of patience, Eileen Merten Lorraine has turned cast-offs into chic decor

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Photo: Leila Navidi

House by Craigslist

Eileen Merten Lorraine is a Craigslist shopper who successfully fought off the urge to drive to Florida for a giant wall-mounted marlin that she saw advertised on the website. It would’ve been cheaper than shipping, she figured, before deciding against a road trip.

Lorraine admits to having a bit of an addiction, but says she’s able to maintain a balance between impulse and strategic shopping—affordable furniture over tiki bars and vintage bikes.

It’s worked out well. The 30-something executive assistant and single mother has used Craigslist to economically and stylishly furnish most of the two-story, three-bedroom suburban home she shares with her teenage daughter.

There were splurges, of course—the $250 she spent on the Dorothy Draper chest of drawers that sits under original George Hurrell photographs (bought for nearly a steal at a garage sale). But for the most part, the purchases fit into her budget, whether it was a $50 picnic table for her backyard or a $50 Kohler sink. Lorraine’s Craigslist purchases include door hardware, mid-century modern furniture, clever nightstands, West Elm products and a modern divan that greets visitors in her home’s entrance. She started her online decorating at the beginning of the year. Here are some of the highlights:

1. Artichoke lamp ($60) Purchased as a kit from a German artist living in Henderson. Lorraine doesn’t mind altering a purchase to suit her tastes. An ornate wall mirror was painted to create a velvety finish, and nightstands were painted pink for a softer look.

2. West Elm round dining table with wood trunk ($225) and chairs ($50 each) “You don’t have to pay full retail for style. There’s no need to go broke. You just have to be prepared,” Lorraine says. “You have to have a truck or a friend with a truck. Look often, and be prepared to act.”

3. Martha Stewart orange boxy sofa ($500) “Search words are important.” Lorraine says. “Type in brand, design or eras. I only look at items with images and that are for sale by owner.”

4. Arch floor lamp over couch ($80) She keeps it simple: “I don’t want to accumulate. I like breathing room. But I might trade out. Tastes change. Styles change. Every couple of years you should freshen up.”

5. Smoked glass square coffee table ($125) Acquired from Summerlin homeowners who were redecorating, the table is accented by accoutrements purchased at garage sales or antique stores. On her walls, you’ll find mostly local original artwork.

6. Modern swivel chairs ($175 for both) Reupholstered with textured brown fabric to suit her taste. Lorraine knows what she wants, but also gets ideas from blogs and Apartment Therapy’s website.

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